Smythe Family On The Road travel blog

The Teklanika River as we cross over the bridge on the bus.

The park road has all kinds of beautiful scenery along the way.


Our first glimpse of Denali.

Jonathan is bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning.

We stop at an overlook so I get Jonathan's picture with the...

Jonathan looks down into the valley. The Teklanika river is a glacier...

Flowers along the way today.

Jonathan stands on the rock at the pull out but our rest...

Another glimpse of Denali as it peeks out again.

The Toklan River rest stop has a book store, rest rooms and...

We reach the first REAL photo stop for Denali. There are a...

Denali means "High One" and is the highest mountain in the Northwest...

Jonathan uses the binoculars that came in the Discovery backpack to check...

Our boy. Wonder if he'll ever be a mountain climber?

Deb and Jonathan with Denali in the background.


Mamma and baby bear are resting out on the grass.

We reach Eielson Visitor Center and the mountain is beginning to cloud...

Yep, that's right Jonathan. Keep Exploring!

This is what the road looks like from out the bus window.

We reach Wonder Lake and the mosquitos are out so Jonathan opted...

The bugs are better out here where there's a breeze. Jonathan gives...

Back in camo again! Skipping rocks is fun though.

Bugs don't bother this guy!

More scenery on the drive back to the campground.

Moose antlers at Toklat River rest stop.

Deb chose to be a caribou.

This is the part of the roaad that really makes you glad...

These corners are interesting too. I found myself wondering how the drivers...

Never mind. I don't think I want to know.

A caribou stands on teh hill facing the bird up above. I'll...

Scenery shots. There were lots and lots of those.


When we got back to camp we took a walk down by...

Boy did he have a blast! If you ever go to Denali,...

Wildflowers along the river bank.

Tom and Jonathan walking along this ribbon of the river.

Jonathan is having a blast. Cheese!

Tom and I decide we're going to try to make it out...

Testing the wider flows now. None of the ones we explored were...

Hiking up the river exploring new territory.

Just having fun.

Playing in the water.


Getting in deeper.

Building a dam between the two ribbons of the river.

Aw come on, come give me a hug! You know you love...

Friday, July 17, 2009.

Teklanika Campground, Denali National Park, Alaska

Deb and Jonathan Go to Wonder Lake

We got up early this morning so we could catch the 8:00 bus. We had reserved seats but when the first bus came along and had WONDER LAKE on the front of it, I decided to go for it. It seemed like it was going to be such a beautiful day I figured if there was room on this bus, why not go all the way. Nancy, the bus driver, made sure all the people who had reservations for Wonder Lake were on first and when there was room left, she let us on next. We were able to get seats about half way back on the driver's side. Someone had told us to do that on the way into the park and to get seats on the passenger side of the bus on the way out because you would get the best views that way. They were right and I'm so glad I listened to them.

Our first stop was just a mile down the road at the Teklinika Rest Stop. Everyone else had been on the bus for an hour already when they picked us up so it was their first washroom break. We jumped off the bus to take pictures at the river overlook but got back on ready to ride into the park.

We rode the bus watching the scenery and for animals along the way. There were beautiful overlooks. When we reached the point where you could first see the mountain it was breathtaking. This big white mountain behind all the lower black looking mountains was such a contrast. Really beautiful. We stopped and took pictures a little further down the road.

The next stop was Eielson Visitor Center. We spent about 30 minutes here looking around the center itself before going on to Wonder Lake. The view of the mountain was great. I'm glad we didn't get here any later in the day though because it was beginning to cloud over a bit. Just in time. We drove on to Wonder Lake. I was expecting to see the mountain behind the lake but learned later that you have to be at the other end of it to get that shot so I was a little disappointed about that. Nance let us all out at the top of the hill and suggested we walk down to the lake. Jonathan and I took our mosquito nets and he ended up pulling his out. They were a little pesky. We walked down to the lake and looked around. Jonathan skipped rocks on the lake and looked around a bit with another boy that had been riding on the bus with us.

We hopped back on the bus and headed back to Eielson for a short rest stop and to pick up a few more passengers then drove on back toward the campground with one other stop at the Toklat River stop before we got to the Teklanika campground. I was so glad we camped in the park instead of outside it at that point. The rest of the bus had another hour of driving before they would get home.

Jonathan told Tom all about our day when we got back to the rig. The plan for tomorrow is for all three of us to spend the day in the park together.

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