7:08am I woke early, showered, dressed and grabbed my cameras and went outside.  As I headed to the dining area I saw a very large snow-capped peak in the distance.  I went inside and found someone to ask if that was Mount Denali or not.  It was and not a cloud in sight.  Rumor has it that only about 20% of people actually see the whole mountain.  Great start to the day. 7:30am Breakfast.  Baked French toast.  It came with strawberries, but Barbara jumped up and asked for mine w/o the strawberries.  They had maple syrup, but the syrup they made from fresh blueberries was delicious. North Face meals.  While the food was great they have this camp/touchy-feely attitude.  Everybody gets their very own clothespin.  One side has “North Face Lodge” burned into it and the other side has your name written in magic marker.  Each meal you have to find your clothespin to see where to sit.  They like to mix it up so that you are sitting with new people all the time.  This meal we are sharing with Howard and Milton. As we were finishing eating they did the touchy-feely kind of thing and made everyone stand up and briefly introduce themselves. They then talked about the options for the day, but being on a NatHab tour our day was already planned by Justin. 8:45am They ring a bell for meals or emergencies.  They rang it now but not for either of those.  They put out the makings for lunch and we each got a small cloth bag to put our lunch in. I was still putting together my camera equipment for the day, so Barbara, being the special, wonderful, nice girlfriend that she is offered to go and make lunch for the both of us. 9:30am We are on the bus just waiting for everyone to climb aboard and we will head out. 9:45am We are on our way to explore Denali National Park. 10:20am We stopped on the side of the road and are trekking across the tundra looking for a good place for nice pictures of Mount Denali, which is still visible.  The lake visible in the foreground is Wonder Lake. Mount Denali used to be called Mount McKinley.  In 2015 the name was officially changed (seems the locals always called it Denali).  Denali is the highest peak in North America at 20,310 feet. 11:00am Pictures of Labrador Tea (wildflowers, the common name of 3 different, closely related plants). Also Caribou Lichen. 11:45am Northern Harrier sighting. 11:50am Stopped for photos of river valley, fireweed and Mount Denali.  Justin warns us about Cow Parsnip.  Looks similar to Queen Anne’s Lace, but Cow Parsnip has hairs on the stem.  Touching the hairs and then exposure to sunlight can actually cause burns. 11:56am Monkshood wildflower.  It is extremely poisonous. 12:20pm We have stopped for lunch on the tundra.  We all grabbed our lunch bags and pulled up a piece of tundra and sat down to eat. 1:22pm We found a large Caribou resting in the shade near a small pond. 1:35pm We took a little walk to a little pond in an attempt to ID some ducks on the far side.  We think they are Greater Scaup. 1:50pm A female Gadwall duck with ducklings. 1:55pm Wonder Lake Ranger station, right next to the pond we walked near looking at ducks. 2:07pm People fishing in Wonder Lake. 2:25pm We are back at North Face Lodge. 3:30pm The group met up with Justin in the lodge lounge area and Justin gave a talk about photography and lightroom.  After the talk it was back to the room for a little bit of R&R. 6:00pm We are gathered at the outdoor sitting area by the lobby having hors d’oeuvres and drinks.  Just a comment… Mount Denali is still visible and looking majestic as ever. 6:35pm Barbara and I found our clothespins and we are seated with Chris and Charlene.  For dinner tonight: cold cucumber soup: not something we would ever order, vegetable skewer on quinoa: okay I guess, raspberry tart: very good. 8:30pm Dinner is over and we are trying to get a plan together to bike to Wonder Lake and then canoe on the lake to get some photos. 10:10pm Barbara and I rode bikes to Wonder Lake.  As we got there another couple got in a canoe and paddled out on the lake.  We decided not to go for a canoe ride but to use the canoe on the lake as a photo prop.  Very nice of the couple to get out there. Got some beautiful pictures.  The mountain is still very visible and very pretty. 10:20pm We are back at the Lodge.  Relaxing in the ‘Midnight Sun’.  Very strange to be up and about and still have plenty of light.  Quite a few people are up. 10:45pm Bed time for these old fogies.  Strange that it is still light out.  I feel like I should be mowing the lawn or getting up, NOT just going to bed. .
July 22, 2017: Day 4
“Leave only footprints, Take only memories’ (…and maybe some pictures)
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Alaska Vacation
July 19, 2017 to August 2, 2017 The Ultimate Alaska Wildlife Photo Safari Barbara & John on Natural Habitat Adventures
July 22, 2017 Day 4
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