Mon, Aug 14 - Thu, Aug 17 (Fairbanks, Arctic Circle, Coldfoot, Dalton Hwy):
On Monday we left Anchorage for Fairbanks in the rain. We stopped at Denali NP but couldn't get in, so continued to a campground at Nenana. We met a couple there who were touring Alaska by BICYCLE!! They arrived in the rain to look for a campsite. We see lots of people here on bikes. On Tuesday we got to Fairbanks and shopped at Alaskaland. On Wednesday, we left in the van and went north up the Dalton Highway (the north slope oilfields haul road) to the Arctic Circle, and continued north to the town of Coldfoot, on the Yukon River, then 170 miles farther to the continental divide. We saw our first grizzly bear just north of Coldfoot and lots of beautiful and interesting scenery all the way to the continental divide (the watershed between the Pacific and Arctic Oceans). We returned to Marion Creek Campground, run by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and spent the night in the van. The sun set at 11PM but it never really got dark. We were back in Fairbanks with Neal and our trailer at 4:30 PM on Thursday, the 17th.
Fri, Aug 18 - Tue, Aug 22 (North Pole, Fairbanks, Ester, Denali NP):
Friday, we drove over to North Pole, AK to Santa Land, where we saw Santa's reindeer. On the way back we stopped at nursery with beautiful flowers. Saturday, at the Fairbanks Visitor Center, we saw a tour bus from Philadelphia, MS. Most of the passengers were from Jackson, MS. We had lunch at Soapy Smith's cafe and drove out to Ester to see the Photo Symphony on Denali NP and the Aurora (Northern Lights). It was a very impressive show. On Sunday, we returned to Denali NP and got in Riley Creek campground, outside the gates, to wait our turn to go into the park. We drove the 14 miles into the park which is open to private vehicles, and saw mountain sheep, caribou and a red fox. The next day we drove south 40 miles to get a view of Denali (THE MOUNTAIN) and did get a look at it through the clouds. On the way back we saw a mama moose and twin calves, right by the road. The temps are in the 50s by day and 30s at night. On Tuesday, our name came up to get into the camp- ground inside the park, so we drove the 28 miles to Teklinika campground with the trailer. We can't drive in the park (except to the campground and back out 3 days later). We can ride the bus anytime we like. We caught the bus at 12:30 and rode it to Eilison visitor centor and back. We saw a grizzly bear by the side of the road and it was still in that area on the way back. We also saw a wolf and a golden eagle. That night at the campfire circle, we had a grizzly come within 50' of our group but didn't have our cameras.
Joe & Nancy Sue, On the Road, Denali NP
1995 Alaska Trip - Page 4
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