Smythe Family On The Road travel blog

Catching the bus one last time this morning.

Deb and Jonathan at the Teklanika rest stop.

The clouds were hanging over the mountains differently today so I took...

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A good view of how the road sits on the mountainside.

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It was a very windy day today. We had to hang on...

A momma bear and her cub are up on the hill. She...

She sat up when the bus stopped and looked at us.

Mamma bear and cub.

She's sitting up now.

Standing up.

We drove past the hill because she had gone over it and...

The baby bear didn't seem to know what to think of us.

He came out from under her and started moving around.

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Denali.

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Jonathan and Deb with Denali in the background.

I just love the way the park road looks in these shots....

Smiley Boy!

We've arrived at Eielson Visitor Center and are taking a few pictures...

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This is just a fun place to play.

Getting ready to head down the trail.

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Wildflowers along the path.

The view is changing a little bit as we walk down the...

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We look back up at the Visitor Center and it looks kind...

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Further down the path we go.

We are headed off toward the river now just exploring more. We...

Jonathan turns around to check on me and make sure I'm still...

He's loving this adventure stuff! Wonder where he got that?

This is where we decided it was time to turn around. Jonathan...

And he made it! He said it was a lot easier so...

We had one more small hill to climb then we hit this...

This shot will always bring back good memories.

Jonathan is eating his PBJ with Denali in the background. It was...

Looking across the Teklanika River. The teenagers were walking the riverbed below...

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An arctic ground squirrel meets us on the way back up. We...

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Thumbs up! We're having a great day.

Mom just has to get one more shot because she knows this...

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Mamma and her cub. I'm pretty sure it's the same one we...

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Back out at the main Visitor Center we get off the bus...

Being sworn in as a Jr. Ranger.

The Ranger commented on how the hat even fit Jonathan. He announced...

A picture of Jonathan with the Denali Ranger.

Visiting the grizzly down in the Visitor Center.

They had a stuffed moose down in the lower level. We saw...

There are a lot of Dall Sheep in the park but they...

Playing on the bench while he waits for mom.

Here she comes. Tom suggested having lunch down here at the cafe...

We've had lunch and are ready to hit the road so I...

This bridge is over a gulch so we stopped to take a...

In this shot you can see the water below.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009.

Denali South View Rest Stop/Camp Area, Parks Highway, Alaska

Getting Sworn in as a Jr. Ranger

Jonathan and I caught the bus one last time this morning and rode it into the Eielson Visitor Center. We had to ask someone who worked within the park a question in order to finish up our Jr. Ranger books so Jonathan asked the bus driver if he liked his job. The response he got was “What do YOU think? I've worked here for eighteen years. Do YOU think I like my job?” The first thing that popped into my head was that maybe he liked Denali and maybe he liked driving buses but he obviously didn't like people! He described himself during his narration as one of the meanest bus drivers but said he just cared about the animals. I think he did and just didn't like the fact that people were coming to see them. Anyway, it was nice to arrive at Eielson and get off is bus knowing we wouldn't be getting back on it.

We had packed PBJ sandwiches for our backpacks today so we wouldn't have to worry about keeping anything cool. We were going to take a hike. We came with the intentions of doing a Ranger led hike but it wasn't going to start until 1:00 so we opted do go it alone. We headed down the paths out in front of the Visitor Center and just worked out way slowly toward the valley. We probably hiked about a mile down then the brush got thick enough that I was concerned about being able to find out way back safely and our time line so I decided to turn around and head back. We had some climbing to do anyway. We had come down some pretty good hills but we were being “adventurous”. We headed back up and after making it up the big hill decided to picnic out on that point. The view was beautiful.

We headed back to the Visitor Center and spent some time walking around looking at the displays. When we were finished we checked in with the bus coordinator to see when the next bus would be going back to the main Visitor Center. The next bus was coming in ten minutes so we headed up to where the buses were and got on.

Tom was going to finish up with work today then drive the RV into the Visitor Center and meet us there so we wouldn't have to worry about rushing back in time for checking out of the campground. When we got off the bus I called him and he was there waiting for us. He had the Yukon all hooked up to the RV and parked out in the Visitor Center parking lot. He asked if we wanted to go to the Visitor Center first then have dinner at the Denali cafe which sounded great to us because we were hungry!

We walked up to turn our Jr. Ranger materials in. The Ranger we worked with was great. He had Jonathan put the Jr. Ranger hat on then swore us in as park rangers. He announced it to the whole Visitors Center so everyone clapped. It was really cool.

We turned our Discovery Pack in. If you ever go to Denali or any National Park that has Discovery Packs, get one! It had all kinds of neat tools and fun things to do in it. Binoculars, Ph strips to test water alkalinity, bird, plant and animal guides, books, and a thermometer to check the temperature of various things. We walked around the Visitor Center and looked at the displays then walked over and had a nice dinner at the outdoor cafe. The weather was gorgeous. It was the perfect ending to our time in Denali.

We drove down the road to the Denali Park View South and will spend the night here.



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