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Byers Lake to Denali National Park and Preserve
on the Parks Highway, Alaska

3 September 2010 - Friday

There were overcast skies this a.m.  Not raining, but certainly not as bright and clear as yesterday!  This morning's dog walk was one of the trails around the lake. 

Crossing suspension bridge at Byers Lake, Denali, Alaska
Suspension bridge crossing Byers Creek - N62 44.912 W150 05.441

Tazz didn't need too much of an excuse to enjoy the creek.  She loved water!

Byers Lake, Denali, Alaska
Tazz playing in the creek while Steve watches the fish

Then we hit the road towards Denali National Park.  Tonight we had a reservation in the Savage River campground at Mile 13 on the park road.

The weather was variable today.  Some blue patches, some rain, and lots of wind.

Parks Highway, Denali, Alaska
Hurricane Gulch Creek on the Parks Highway - N63 00 50.9 W149 35 26.9

Through this area, the topography is flat even though the elevation is about 1,800 feet.  The East Fork Chulitna River runs through this part of the valley. 

Parks Highway, Denali, Alaska
Northbound on the Parks Highway near the Middle Fork Chulitna River - N63 15 04.9 W149 15 15.6

I happily clicked away with my little point & shoot camera -- sticking my hands out the window despite the chill in the air.  Many of the shots turn out quite nice even though the truck is moving at highway speed and bouncing over bumps. 

Parks Highway, Denali, Alaska
Just south of Summit Lake - N63 16 51.7 W149 12 58.9

Blue skies here and rain over there. 

Parks Highway, Denali, Alaska
Mirror Lake - N63 20 12.3 W149 06 24.1

I wondered if we were destined to have rain in the park! 

Parks Highway, Denali, Alaska
Northbound on the Parks Highway

Filled up with fuel at Cantwell.  Expensive!  Our Canadian credit & debit card did not work here.  Good thing we had some cash with us! 

Parks Highway, Denali, Alaska
Crossing the boundary into Denali National Park near McKinley Village

At last, sunshine!  Bright sky made for better pictures out the truck window! 

Parks Highway, Denali, Alaska
Mt Fellows viewed from the Parks Highway - N63 39 59.6 W148 50 01.7

At Denali National Park, the signs directed campers to check in at Riley Creek Mercantile to register.  While I went into the store, Steve dumped the tanks and topped up with fresh water at the designated area by the Mercantile.  We didn't need to buy firewood but if you need firewood for your camping it must be purchased at Riley Creek Mercantile.  Firewood cannot be purchased at the campgrounds. 

In the store, the line of people was l-o-n-g.   I asked the store clerk if that was the same line for people with reservations -- good thing I did!  I was told that folks who have reserved and PAID for their site can register at the info center further up the road. 

There was no line at the info center.  I picked up the paperwork for our Savage River site AND our three nights at Teklanika site, plus our TEK bus passes. After signing to verify that I understood and agreed to the rules of camping in the park, we continued westward into the park and towards Savage River campground.

Parks Highway, Denali, Alaska
Overcast skies greet us at Denali National Park - N63 42 39.2 W149 11 10.9

The skies were variable.  The road in good shape.  The fall colours brilliant. 

Parks Highway, Denali, Alaska
The fall colours brightened the day significantly! - N63 42 44.6 W149 13 30.5

At Mile 12.8 the entrance to Savage River campground greeted us.

Denali National Park, Alaska
Sign marking the entrance to Savage River Campground and view westward - N63 43 03.8 W149 15 24.2

There was also a sign reminding people who wanted to camp here that they needed to register at the park entrance.

Denali National Park, Alaska
Folks wanting to camp at Savage River need to check in at the Riley Creek Mercantile

After getting ourselves settled and having some nutrition, it was time for a dog walk.  Dogs are permitted ONLY on roads in the park.  Not on trails.  So we headed out to the road to take a stroll.

Denali National Park, Alaska
View eastward from near the entrance to the Savage River campground on the park road

The clouds came and went, as did the sun.  Shadows here and there, making picture taking a challenge.

Denali National Park, Alaska
Looking back towards the east at the entrance to Savage River Campground

As we walked around the campground, we met numerous people.  Some were sitting on top of the campers hoping to catch a view of THE mountain.  But it was covered with cloud.

Others were simply enjoying their fires on a crisp evening. Yet others wanted to pet our dog because they left their dogs at home and missed the four-legged companionship.  Tazz enjoyed the attention.  She also keenly watched the squirrels, who were everywhere!

As darkness settled into the area, we returned to the fifth wheel.  Both of us were looking forward to the drive tomorrow to Teklanika. 

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