Saturday, June 25, 2022 was an all-day adventure for us on the Denali Wilderness Tundra Bus Tour. When we started planning this trip to Alaska a year ago, two of the things we knew we wanted to do was to stay in or near the Denali National Park and to take the Denali Wilderness Tundra Bus Tour.
The tour started at 9am, leaving from the Visitor Center and driving 42 miles into the park, the farthest anyone not on foot can go due to a landslide that caused the road to collapse. Here’s a link that explains the collapse, its cause and possible repairs in the next 2 years.
We almost immediately saw a bull moose in the road ahead of the bus, but it ran into the brush so quickly that none of the 48 people on board had a chance to get a photo of it. But Cindy was happy that she had finally seen a “Daddy Moose” in the flesh.
The round trip tour lasted about 5 hours and disappointingly we saw very little wildlife, other than the bull moose, closer than a half-mile to the bus. We did see a caribou relaxing on an ice patch near the road and Cindy saw an Alaskan Ground Squirrel on the side of the road right beneath her window. The remainder of the animals we saw, a grizzly, two other caribou and “maybe” some Dall Sheep, were all so far away they were not much more than specks. Cindy was happy to enjoy all the scenery and I liked it too, but I was more disappointed that we didn’t see more wildlife close-up. And yes, I know very well that the critters cannot be forced to put on a show and that you’re taking your chances on these things of actually seeing the wildlife (we’ll have the same uncertainty when we take the whale-watching cruise in a couple of weeks) that live there, but that didn’t ease my unhappiness at what felt like a wasted 5 hours.
It also didn’t help that there were a couple of loudmouth brothers, grown men, who couldn’t keep their mouths shut unless the the bus driver/tour guide was speaking over the bus sound system. I don’t understand people who have no consideration for others.
Speaking of our bus driver/tour guide; Scott was the best! Informative, educational and humorous, his tour info about the park, its history, its wildlife and plant life was the highlight of an otherwise disappointing excursion. He was a man who spoke intelligently and I was ecstatic that he used words like “torpor” and “fledgling”, especially as I watched the two loudmouth brothers scrunch their faces up and mouth, “Wha’d he say?”
After the tour ended we visited the Park Center Store and, of course, bought some things and got our National Park Passport Book stamped. We then split a quick lunch at the nearby Morino Grill and headed back to our campsite for some well-deserved rest.
Thanks for following the Wandering Wetheringtons.