Day 2 in Denali began early with a bus trip into the park. We rode 3 hours in, about 56 miles, on a school bus. Along the way, we spotted some of the animals in our last "picture post". We were surprisingly close to dall sheep, tons of caribou, and a few grizzlies. We saw a mama bear with a very tiny cub, right on the road in front of us. We scared them into the woods when our bus roared around a bend - and there they were. The driver slammed on the brakes and we watched them scurry off into the trees. We also saw a moose from a distance, but weren't able to get any decent pictures of it through the brush. We're still hoping to see one...just not while we're hiking. Sherri and I did hop off the bus for a long hike. We saw some excellent vistas of mountains and tundra, but no wildlife. That evening, after dinner, we drove our car back into the park - cars are permitted the first 15 miles into the park, and we had heard that the best wildlife viewing is in the evening when the animals are stirring. We were rewarded with the treat of seeing two grizzlies heading back to their den for the night. They walked so near our car, that we got to see some fun moments. Along the way, they had to pass by a rest area where there were some benches, and the smaller bear - a three year old cub - was having a grand ole time "wrestling" with the bench. That is, until he realized that mama had moved on, and then he ran to catch up.
We left Denali on Saturday morning, heading south towards Girdwood. Girdwood is a small town just past Anchorage, about a 6 hour drive. Along the way, we stopped off at Eklutna Lake, this amazingly blue-green lake surrounded by white topped mountains. It took our breath away. We grabbed our blanket (the one we had to buy at the beginning of the trip to protect us from the nasty bed at our first hostel), some fruit, our peanut butter and bread and had ourselves a pleasant little picnic at the side of this fabulous lake. What a relaxing afternoon and an unexpected gift!
Our "home" in Girdwood is a nice little hostel with a view of Turnagain Arm, a cove surrounded by...you guessed it, more snow-capped mountains. This morning, we hopped on some ATV's for a fun, wet, dirty ride through Chugach National Park, which borders Girdwood. It was such a blast...we kicked up dust, plowed through huge mud puddles, slid around on ice, bounced over rocks, and did 360's in a stream!! We are now sitting at a laundromat, so that we have clothes to wear tomorrow, because we were covered in mud!!! Just how we like it!!! :)
Tomorrow we hit the road again, heading on down to Seward, where we hope to see some eagles, whales and glaciers in the bay. And, hopefully, find a computer so that we can check in again! Until then!