It's October and we don't have any snow on the ground to speak of. Can you believe it? Normally by this time we're covered by at least a thin blanket of snow. Yesterday we took advantage of yet another gorgeous Autumn day in Alaska and drove down to Denali Park. From Fairbanks, Denali is a short 115 mile drive down the Parks Highway.
With some good 'ol beach music streaming from the ipod we headed down the road. I doubt we passed more than a dozen cars; all the blue hairs have left for warmer climates. Just south of Healy we spotted a RV that somehow managed to end up on its roof. A rough landing no doubt. A recent two-foot plus snowfall prompted the closure of the Park Road beyond Milepost 15 (Savage River). But, there's wildlife galore to be seen in those 15 gorgeous miles. On this trip we didn't see any bears, but we did see several moose, including a large herd at approximately 12 mile.
The first moose we saw was a large healthy bull in his prime. He soon locked horns with a smaller bull nearby who was hoping to get to know one of the cows in the big boys harem. It didn't work. We didn't get to see it but heard them fighting and a few minutes later the smaller bull was heading in the opposite direction. For those who haven't seen or heard them fight, it's an unmistakable sound. When in full rut and fighting with gusto, the sound of two bulls locking antlers sounds like a lightening strike.
The photo below was captured a few minutes later when the dominate bull and his harem wandered out onto a dry river bed. Click the photo to see a larger version.
Although most Park activities ended near the middle of September, Denai Park is open all year. Cross country skiing, showshoeing, dog sledding and snowmachining are popular winter activities. For more information, contact the Winter Visitors Center @ 907-683-2294 (daily 9-4PM).