Wednesday, July 06, 2005

OK, So Who Took Mt. McKinley?

We are leaving Denali National Park today and still need to fit a few things in. First we went back on to the highway to have a good look at the Nenana River. We were hoping to see some people rafting but I think we were either too early (9:00am) or trips were postponed due to the weather (yes it started to rain again). We went over to the visitors center where we watched a short film on Denali National Park and then we toured the exhibits. The visitor center is brand new just openned this summer. They’ve done a great job with the center and exhibits. The last item on the to do at Denali list was the Sled Dog Demonstration and luckily it stopped raining and started clearing up. First we took a 10 minute bus ride over to the kennels. We had about 20 minutes to walk around the kennels and meet the dogs. The ones that were available for petting were very friendly and couldn’t get enough attention — seemed a lot like Zaphy. We talked to the Manager of Kennels and she told us that the dogs live to about 14 years of age, work to about 9 years of age, can travel 30 miles a day when the trail is good and much more. The park ranger giving the demo told us the history of the kennels and then hitched up 5 dogs to a sled and drove it around a track. After the demonstration we drove head south towards Anchorage and stopped at all of the pull offs where the Milepost book indicated there was a view of Mt. McKinley. No sign of the mountain anywhere! After driving about 50 miles we stopped at a Wayside campground for the night. A Wayside campground is an extended rest area with a dozen or so campsites. Some sites will accommodate larger units like ours and some are for smaller units. Each site has a picnic table and a fire pit — not bad for free

Frances and the ranger in charge of the dog kennel discuss how best to pet a dog.

Another ranger attempts to "mush" the dogs

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