Mt. McKinley (now Denali) National Park, Alaska
Saturday, June 30, 1973
We caught the 7 am shuttle bus into Mt. McKinley (now Denali) National Park on this day. The shuttles were old school busses with basically no shock absorbers, and the road at that time was completely unpaved past the gate. But we were so excited that being bounced off of the seats repeatedly was a minor inconvenience.
It amazes me how I didn’t even mention the animals we saw in my diary, when we saw so many. We saw multiple Dall sheep up on the mountainside above the road. We saw an arctic fox on the road. We saw blond Alaskan ‘brown’ bears grazing. And we saw caribou. They were all absolutely amazing, and I remember all of them like it was yesterday.
And then we stopped at Eielson visitor center and ate lunch, and after that caught another bus out to the end of the line at Wonder Lake, where we saw this:
It was incredibly beautiful and impressive, and we were unbelievably lucky. Most of the time Denali is shrouded in clouds, and the day we were there was only the third time that summer it was clear enough to see it. My father took lots of photos, according to my diary, and one of them is framed and hangs in my mother’s house. It looks about like the one above. Almost the same angle and everything.
Then, on the way back, the brakes went out on the bus, and that’s what most of my diary entry for that day was about. Apparently it was pretty scary.
Judging from photos I can find online, I can see why. But we did get back safely.
And that was our day to see Denali.