Bicycle trip North-west USA, Canada and Alaska

Denali National Park


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From North Pole and Fairbanks we cycled in terrible and rainy weather to Denali National Park. The shuttle buses carried bicycles, so we didn't had to cycle the muddy dirt roads in the park. It turned out to be very convenient to take the bus. We could pay attention viewing the wildlife instead of watching the bumps in the road, and the bus drivers knew exactly where wildlife could be spotted. We saw grizzly, moose, caribou, fox and a lonesome wolf....

We stayed a couple of days at Wonderlake campground, from where we could occasionally get a glimpse of Mt. McKinley. Most of the days this mountain is hidden behind the clouds. It's the highest mountain on the North American continent (20,320 ft/ 6,665 m) and rises almost 6,000 meters above the valley floor, the highest elevation difference in the world! Besides spotting interesting wildlife we occasionally met other cycle tourists. This guy turned out to be Rob, the school teacher we'd met in the Yukon!

Nenana Denali National Park Wolf Moose, Denali National Park Rob Denali National Park Campground Wonderlake, Denali National Park

Mount McKinley (Denali) Denali National Park Denali National Park Caribou, Denali National Park Grizzly bear Rainbow, Denali National Park Lichens, Denali National Park

Denali National Park

Kenai Peninsula

When we left Denali National Park it kept on raining, so we'd decided to take a bus to Anchorage instead of cycling to Valdez via the Denali and Richardson highways. From Anchorage we headed south along Turnagain Arm to Portage. This highway was very narrow and busy, no shoulders, very dangerous! We stopped at the Portage Glacier visitor center, looking for a nice place to pitch our tents. We walked up a trail to the face of the Byron glacier. The last part was a VERY strenuous hike; we had to carry our bikes over the boulders. But it was worth the effort: we'd found an unofficial but great camping spot on top of one of the end moraine gravel bars of the Byron Glacier! 

Little creatures in the dark... 

In Seward we'd found a perfect camp spot behind the graveyard. Very quiet compared to the busy official campsite in town and free....We'd already camped out in the woods many times on that trip and nothing bad has happened before, so we were getting a bit lazy with hanging all the food in trees. But that night we woke up by some loud noise of something sniffing and strolling around our tents. What the */?@ was that noise?? An angry zombie because we disturbed the peace of the cemetery?? Realizing we were still in bear country, just imagine how bloody scared we were. It was definitely larger than a squirrel and smaller than a moose. Now the creature got very hungry but after a while we could hear it gnawing at a bark or something. Assuming it couldn't be a grizzly, I mustered up all my courage and got out of my tent. With my flashlight I inspected the bushes behind my tent. It was sitting high in a tree close to the tent. That little monster turned out to be....a porcupine! Harmless to cycle tourists and according to locals easy to catch and very tasty... 

Seward highway Byron Glacier Seward beach Glacier at Aialik Bay Humpback whale

Humpback whale Sea lions Porcupine Aerial image Aerial image

Kenai Peninsula

Whale Watching cruise

Date: Thu, 22 Aug 1996 19:23:53 -0800 
From: Minko & Ashley 
Subject: Re: Greetings from Seward 

We just returned from a wildlife cruise! It seemed to be a sunny day this morning, so we decided to book a boat tour to Kenai Fjords National Park. Not very cheap ($110....) but it was worth the money though. We saw spectacular coasts (like the Norwegian fjords) and the North Western tidewater glacier, forming little icebergs. Because of all the ice the boat couldn't get close to the face of the glacier. We also visited Chiswell Islands, famous for its wildlife. We saw whales, sea lions, puffins and lots of other seabirds. Very spectacular was a meeting with curious hump back whale, who was circling under and around our boat! I hope the pictures turn out OK....Around six we returned to Seward, just in time to send this E-mail from the local library.


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