5:00am I am up and dressed, Barbara claims to be awake but so far the only sign I have of that is the dirty looks she gives me when I comment on her not being vertical yet. 5:30am Breakfast.  Quick meal of scrambled eggs. 5:45am Bags are out ready to be put on the bus. 6:15am We are on the bus getting ready to head back to the park entrance. 7:35am Willow Ptarmigans on the road. 7:51am We are at Eielson Visitor Center on our way out of the park.  The actual Visitor Center was closed but the bathrooms were open. 8:00am Back on the bus and moving. 8:10am A large nursery Caribou herd not far from the road.  Many Caribou in many poses.  Nice for pictures. Informed that Denali Park was originally set aside to protect the Caribou herds.  Eventually it was discovered that the herds spent significant time outside the park so the boundaries were extended to include more of the Caribou migration routes. 8:25am Back on the move again. 8:36am Just passed Highway Pass (mile 58) and a sign says it is 3,980 feet. 8:50am Just crossed the Toklat River which is fed by at least 4 glaciers.  Very full of glacier flour/silt. 9:47am We just saw a Long-tailed Jaeger.  It is a pelagic bird that breeds in Denali Park area.  Not a bird I expected to see here. 9:55am A female Grizzly Bear with 2 cubs, very small born this spring. Note: I just learned something new about Grizzly/Brown Bears.  If you look them up on the internet they are the same animal.  They actually are the same the species.  In Alaska the people differentiate between the two.  A Grizzly Bear is a bear that does NOT have access to salmon.  Brown Bear, which tend to be larger, have access to salmon.  The lack of salmon as a staple food means that Grizzly Bears have a harder life.  They have to eat thousands of blueberries to fatten up for the winter where as Brown Bears just stand in the rivers and let the salmon come to them. 10:05am Back on the move. 10:15am We stopped at the Teklanika (or Take-a-leaka) Rest area. 10:35am Back on the road again. 10:45am We just crossed the Sanctuary River. 10:53am Male Northern Harrier (Marsh Hawk). 11:00am The bus is moving again. Almost out of the park a Cow and Calf Moose run across the road.  Poor Barbara doesn’t get to see it, and still has never seen a Moose in the wild. 11:20am We are at the Denali Park Depot Justin just handed out our train tickets and a pin that we have to wear to have access to the train cars that we will be seated in.  Noon We are all gathered and just waiting for the train.  We are supposed to take the train from Denali to Talkeetna, AK.  We are supposed to leave in about 10 minutes. 12:50pm We are all on the train in our seats and the train is underway. 1:00pm We are taking the train for its uniqueness.  There is supposed to be some great scenery as we head south.  The unique part is that some of the cars have a clear roof.  You can see the country as it passes by.  1:20pm We have just been seated in the dining section (we are seated in the upper deck of the car and the bathrooms and dining area are in the lower deck of the same car). 2:00pm Lunch is over and we are back in the upper deck of the rail car.  This car is designed for seeing the sights.  The car has what Alaska Railroad calls a ‘glass-dome ceiling’.  It also has an open area, a small open deck that is between the cars but open to the outside weather.  There is a roof overhead but the sides and back are all open. 3:30pm We have just passed into a different climate zone.  We just started to see ferns on the side of the tracks. We cross over the Hurricane Gulch Bridge.  A steel arch bridge, 918 feet long, 296 feet above the Hurricane Creek and built in 1921. 4:15pm The train has slowed way down as we enter Talkeetna. 4:23pm We are off the train and on the shuttle bus to take us to our hotel for the night. 4:35pm We are in our room at the Talkeetna Lodge in Talkeetna Alaska. 6:30pm We were late for dinner.  Somehow my watch dropped an hour so we were just starting to get ready when Justin called saying we were late.  Oops.  I need a new watch.  I really feel bad because everyone was waiting on us to show. We both had chicken Marsala.  The skin on mine was so tough I couldn’t cut it or chew it and I had to pull the meat off.  We had cheesecake for dessert. 8:07pm We got all our luggage back.  We have decided to wait until the next hotel to get some laundry done. We are sitting in the hotel lobby.  The fireplace is huge.  Made from river stones.  With a very interesting fire screen. Back to the room, start packing and finish in the morning.
July 24, 2017: Day 6
“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 24, 2017 Day 6
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