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On May 20th, the first shuttle buses to the Toklat River in Denali National Park began this season. I happened to have the day off, so I got to go on one. I chose a late morning bus (11 am) because I wanted to check out the visitor's center and bookstore before I went. The buses earlier in the day were full. Mine, well there were 8 passengers.

Do you know that only 30% of the people that visit Denali National Park ever see Mount McKinley? Much of the time clouds obscure the view. The visitors I traveled with are now part of the other 30 percent. But we only saw it once...and from a little more than 70 miles away.

We saw many caribou and snowshoe rabbits. We saw a golden eagle and arctic ground squirrels standing upright along the edge of the road. We saw Dall Sheep grazing on the mountains and resting in the sunlight.

Then came Polychrome Pass. It must of have been interesting building this narrow road here. It has excellent views of the upper East Fork River and the tundra valley far below. Polychrome means many colors and here the volcanic rocks are bands of yellow and orange and lavender, and yes, black and white too. Most of the plant life at this date is still brown and gray, but I can't wait to see it in more green. Here, I shot this quick video with my camera. I was trying to get more of a depth than with just the snapshot. But this is one of those places where the camera just cannot compare to the real thing.

We then went up to the ranger station located at the the Toklat River. The 53-mile point into the park. Some later date I shall return to this area and explore a bit more. But this time I just boarded for the trip back. We were We were almost back to the Savage River when we spotted a grizzly bear in the distance. We stopped and watched then just about a mile later saw two more. Most likely a two-year-old and it's mother.

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Comment by Kathi on May 26, 2010 at 7:26pm
I was one of the unfortunate 70%. Just gives me a good reason to go back! Great pics and vid. Thanks Keith!
Comment by LARRY D on May 24, 2010 at 3:32pm
Lucky You as many times as I have visited Alaska I have never got to visit this beautiful place.
maybe next season
Comment by aggie71 on May 24, 2010 at 2:34pm
Thanks Keith .... I enjoyed both the pictures, video, and commentary. Hope to be up there myself next summer.
Comment by jon youngblood on May 23, 2010 at 2:08pm
i don't say this often, but i am i little jealous
Comment by Maureen Ross on May 22, 2010 at 5:31pm
Wow, thank you for this and your other blog accounts, it's these recaps that hooked my interest a few years ago. I look forward to my first experience. For now I'll enjoy your's and other active bloggers. Thanx Keith..
Comment by janice ball on May 21, 2010 at 6:53pm
Looks and sounds like your having a great time there... Denali is on my bucket list.. hope you have a great summer

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