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Alaska National Parks


Denali National Park

7/30/1993 ... to Denali by 6. Breakfast at the park hotel, then boarded basically a school bus for a 6 hour tour in and out of the park. Not the best of days, both McKinley and most of the animals were hiding. Did see more great scenery, Golden Eagle, Dall Sheep, Ground Squirrels and, best, a Grizzly Bear mother and two spring cubs. Got a very nice box lunch and hot drinks in souvenir cups. Back to the park hotel for the last (and biggest) shopping.

Denali in the distance
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A nice view
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Grizzly family from afar
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8/09/2007 Up to Denali NP and stopped at the visitor center. Checked out the nice exhibits then did some more hiking. Took a bike path to the railroad and hit the Horseshoe Lake trail down (!) to the lake – very pretty but not much there. Back up and returned via the Taiga trail. Checked out the Grill, and luckily they were still open, so enjoyed a relaxing burger meal out on a deck looking at the mountains.

Denali from the road nearing the park
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The park sign
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Horseshoe Lake ...
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... and a look back from the trail
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Strange wildlife here in Denali
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Gates of the Arctic National Park

Not visited.


Glacier Bay National Park

8/26/2004 Spent the morning ... looking at the glaciers in Glacier Bay NP. Stopped right in front of the Marjorie Glacier which even calved off a few big ones. Even though the inlet is quite small, the ship was pirouetted around in place. Weather overcast and cold (in the 40’s). Went to see the NP setup in the lounge ... .

Me at the rail of the ship
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A nice panoramic
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Waiting for calving ...
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Caught one!
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Katmai National Park

8/08/2007 Headed SSW near Kodiak and into Katmai NP. Circled around low near the shore looking at bears then dropped right in on the sandy shore – very cool! Out on the beach and into the meadow in front of a magnificent line of mountains Walked around a bit, saw where bears had been hanging out and checked out a burnt-out shipwreck, and just enjoyed the experience. Also saw bear tracks on the beach.

One of the many bears around
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Our ride to Katmai and Lake Clark
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Wow, what a view!
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Me against a beautiful backdrop
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Kenai Fjords National Park

7/26/1993 ... then over to docks to board Kenai Fjord Boat Tours. Out into Resurrection Bay, seeing Sea Otters, Bald Eagles, Puffins, many different birds. Out of bay hit swells 6-8 feet, but it wasn't bad. Weather also cleared up a lot. Big destination was Holgate Glacier - absolutely magnificent. Huge wall of blue ice, boat circling in ice field. At the glacier, the "clinking" of icebergs made us feel like a cocktail! Saw new icebergs "calving" off glacier. On way back, meandered through Chiswell Islands, seeing Sea Lions, many other birds. During trip had nice box lunch, other snacks. Quite cold at times - had on winter jacket over sweater and shirt. Also saw porpoises playing in the wake. Finally back to dock after 8 hours.

One arm of the Holgate Glacier ...
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... and another
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The ice around the tour boat
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A panoramic view as we leave
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8/07/2007 Checked out the Kenai Fjords Visitor Center ... . Back up the road a bit and into the KF part at Exit Glacier. Lots of folks here. First hiked the pretty easy trail out to the Exit Glacier. Pretty cool views here, getting quite close to the glacier and nice views of the mountains all around. Completed a loop back, then took a far less-traveled trail up the mountain. This was very Catskills-like, climbing rather steeply. Couldn’t see much most of the time – did cross a stream on a little bridge. We were getting widely-differing stories from folks coming down on how far to a meadow with a view of the glacier. After almost giving up, we popped out with a spectacular 360° view area of the mountains all around and a great shot of the glacier. We saw the little specs of hikers who went all the way to the glacier (onto it) and who could do the full 6-8 hour hike to the ice field but not for us. After soaking in the beauty, headed back down, to the car at 4:15.

The park sign
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Ken and me by the glacier
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The people look small
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A tiring hike, but can't beat the view!
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Kobuk Valley National Park

Not visited.


Lake Clark National Park

8/08/2007 Dropped down into Lake Clark NP on the beach, again with spectacular views all around – mountains on one side, water with mountains in the distance on the other. Chatted with a range who came by in an ATV about this huge park, the 3rd least visited.

Pilot Zach, a Park Ranger, and me
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Great panorama along the river
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Ken watching out for bears ...
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... since we spotted lots of tracks
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Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

8/11/2007 Went a short ways to the Wrangell-St. Elias NP&P visitor center to check out the exhibits and take the 0.5 mile nature trail including fine views of Mount Drum and Wrangell Mountain, as well as a stretch on the Valdez Trail. Continued down to Chitina and into the park along the McCarthy Road. At mile 17 along the dusty gravel road drove over a trestle bridge over a deep river gorge. Ken spotted a maintenance catwalk underneath, so he boosted me up and I walked out over the river (a little vertigo from looking down through the grate to the river. Since we couldn’t make the 60 miles to McCarthy, turned around here. Stopped at a great view along the river, and at the river bed where we saw river-powered fish wheels that automatically scooped salmon (who can’t see in the cloudy water) out of the river and into holding tanks, then headed home.

The park sign
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A view into the park from the Visitors Center
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The bridge over the Chitina ...
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... and the view from the bridge
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A panoramic of the Chitina
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A last look heading away from the park
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