Tek River

Once the park closes for the season and until the snow covers the road you are allowed to drive your vehicle an extra fifteen miles out the park road to the Teklanika River. Leslie and I drove out there one afternoon while the guys did some four-wheeler maintenance. We first saw this bear on the other side of the Tek River from us. Just minutes before it was on our side of the river. A guy from CA walked down to the river and was surprised to find a bear just feet away. They both took off in different directions, both a little startled.

We also had a really neat moose sighting. Saw a bull and cow moose having it out. The cow kept following the bull around and he made a couple of attempts to let her know he did not want her around, but yet he kept doing his normal male rutting things like thrashing antlers in the brush and sounding his call. We couldn't really figure it out.

Once, he actually charged her.

Lottery Winnings

Every year when the summer season ends and bus tours stop the park service allows a certain number of people to drive their personal vehicles into the park. This is called the road lottery and we were some of the lucky winners! This raven was showing off for us a few miles into the park.

We saw several groups of sheep throughout the day.

The first bear of the day. A solitary bear doing what bears do...eating and digging.

The first group of bears we saw. It seemed to be a mother and two 2-year old cubs. Mom was teaching them how to dig out ground squirrels. As you can tell the cubs weren't really interested until all her hard work paid off.

She dug a HUGE hole to get to that ground squirrel. In the picture above you can barely see her in the hole.

Got it! And she didn't share a bite!

Check out that smile on her face!

After that they sauntered away doing their own things.

The Mountain view from Stoney Hill.

Not much better from the Eielson Visitor Center.

The only caribou we saw all day.

It pretty well showed itself late in the day when we made it out to Wonder Lake (90 miles out the park road).

Someone was trying to be funny by turning the "bear warning" sign into a "beaver warning" sign at the lake.

A few miles past Wonder Lake is an old gold mining district called Kantishna. I was very excited to see it because we had never been past Wonder Lake. A legendary prospector and extremely hard core woman, Fannie Quigley, lived in Kantishna from 1910 until she died in 1944. This is the house she died in, but not where she lived during most of her time there. Her story is well worth reading...http://alaskamininghalloffame.org/inductees/quigley.php

Just past Fannie's house and the air strip is the end of the road.

On our way out of the park we had a nice bull moose sighting.

Ending the day was one incredible sunset. It sure was a fantastic day in the park on our own schedule. We didn't get out of the park until 10:30 or 11 that night.

Healy Hike

One thing we had planned all summer was to hike Mt. Healy again. We haven't hiked it since we worked here in 2007. We had planned to go all the way to the summit but some brutal winds changed our minds. It was a beautiful day but I had a hard time keeping my feet on the ground sometimes.

Once on the ridge it was a battle with the winds. Andrew enjoyed it a little more than I did. Having to fetch my sunglasses after they were blown off my face was about enough.

The trail stays on the ridge most of the time, so we found a great rock to take shelter behind, ate some lunch, took some pictures from a nearby high spot, and called it a day.

Andrew is up there somewhere (in the photo above).

We'll be back!