Sunrise at Wonder Lake & Roaming the Park Road

2 September 2015, Wednesday

We were back at our Wonder Lake vista point by 6:30am. Score! Another clear day and some early morning Alpenglow. The statistic is something like only a third of visitors actually see Denali – we are beating the odds. I wonder what our photo tour would have been like if Denali was covered up every day? Probably a lot like our tour of the Grand Tetons, where we couldn’t see the mountain because of wildfire smoke – you adapt and make the best of it.

We got back on the bus and set off on the Park Road. We stopped whenever Len saw a good vista, or something interesting. Don’t forget to click to see a larger photo.

The caribou and moose were actually in the same area. We don’t go to Denali to photograph wildlife. It is wonderful to see the animals, but they are generally far away and we aren’t carrying super long zoom lenses. We consider wildlife sightings a bonus, but the landscape is our prime attraction.

A stop at Reflection Pond brings … reflections.

A unique opportunity to compare the map of the mountain peaks with the real thing – at Eielson Visitor Center. And the perfect antler photo op. Note – clicking on the photo should bring up a larger version, if you are trying to read the names of the mountains on the map.

A hippity hoppity arctic ground squirrel

We left Eielson and drove back towards the lodge, stopping at a small pond to watch the ducks and loons. We also made a quick stop at Reflection Pond – we will spend more time here tomorrow.

We continued past the turnoff to our lodge, and drove to the end of the road in Kantishna. There isn’t much in Kantishna – a few historical sites, the Kantishna Air Office and Landing Strip, and the Kantishna Lodge (where we stayed in 2013).

Back to the lodge for an uneventful dinner. I have very few photos of the food … as I recall it was just “OK.” Not bad, but not as good as what we’d just experienced at The Alaska Homestead Lodge. I also didn’t want to disturb the zen-like aura of the communal experience within the North Face dining hall.

Click HERE to see tomorrow’s tour.

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