Sunday, July 22, 2012

Denali National Park: Day 2

 Our first full day at the park, we hopped on our bikes and rode the bike path that connects the campground to the Visitor Center. We wanted to get some advice on the hiking trails nearby and receive the America the Beautiful Annual Pass which is free to active duty members and their families. (Although I had purchased our shuttle bus tour with entrance fee online previous to the pass announcement, the ranger informed us that we can get our entrance fees refunded.)

Although it parallels the Denali Park Road, it seemed like a world away within the tunnel of spruce trees.

 This little guy caught our attention at the Visitor Center area.  He was collecting these large mushrooms from the ground, some twice his size, and stockpiling it in one of the branches above.

Note the gigantic backpack Sophia is wearing.  There are Discovery Kit backpacks available to checkout during your stay that includes binoculars, insect containers with built-in magnifying glass, wildlife identification packets, children's books on Denali, and even a fossil plastering kit. The girls made good use of the little gadgets inside and the extra set of binoculars came in handy during the bus trip the next day.

 This puzzle identified the parts of the moose and their uses to the native Alaskans who hunt them for subsistence.  

And of course, since she had nobody else in the picture to give bunny ears to, she had to give them to herself. Such a goofball.

The rangers were very helpful in asking our questions about the trails we were looking to tackle during the stay. After a quick lunch at the Morino Grill across the patio, we headed out for our first Denali adventure....which of course is so epic it deserves its very own post.

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