After our trek to the Arctic, we headed south to visit Denali National Park. Home to the tallest mountain in North America coming in at a height of 20,310 feet above sea level. This is an absolutely beautiful park filled with mountains, rivers, and wildlife in abundance. Even on an overcast and rainy day, this is a stunning expanse of land. So wild and natural that it seems untouched by man. The only way to enter the park is either on a bus tour or on a hike. During our visit to the park, my parents and I took a six-hour bus tour through half of the park. We did not get to go all the way to Denali; however, we saw so much beauty and wildlife that it was totally fine. Among the various animals were elk, moose, and doll sheep. No bears were seen, unfortunately, but most bears can be spotted along most of the roadways all over Alaska and Canada.
You can Denali it all you want (see what I did there?) but this place is simply amazing, and a must-see stop on any Alaskan journey. After we left Denali National Park, we headed toward Wasilla, AK to meet up with some friends, but halfway there, my dad suddenly pulled into an overlook that was staring right at Denali. Unfortunately, the same cloud cover that we had during our visit to the park, was still covering the mountains. Geoffrey Chaucer was right when he said “patience is a virtue,” because if it wasn’t for my dad, and his ability to sit and wait for something to happen, we would have never seen even the smallest portion of Denali peaking through the clouds. It took about 5 hours to see just that small piece that we did. Even though we didn’t get to experience the full view of Denali, it gave us a reason to come back.
We took two days in Wasilla, AK to visit friends and recuperate from the long drive. Our friends gave us many more suggestions on where to go on our way south. A little fun activity: if you visit Wasilla, make sure you stop in at the Iditarod Sled Dog Headquarters so you can cuddle with some adorable puppies. You can even go on a sled ride for about ten dollars. I suggest going in the morning when they open for maximum puppy time because it does get crowded. If you love dogs as much as I do, then this is a must stop destination.