7/7 - 7/12 Rainbow Village RV Park, Denali Alaska

Arrived at Rainbow Village RV Park, right outside Denali National Park, on Thursday 7/7. It was a short trip from Fairbanks, but Jim and Anita had a couple of issues with their RV (all is good) so got a late start but had plenty of time. The RV park is not great but it's right "behind" the town so you can walk to everything (except where we had drinks).

After we got settled and cleaned up, we went up to the Grand Denali Lodge (Mike and I stayed there when we were he in 2015) for drinks before dinner. It has a great view of the park and surrounding area. When we were here in 2015 and saw this view, I was in awe. But this year since we have seen so many unbelievable sights in the US and Canadian Rockies I was not as awed. Don't get me wrong, they are fantastic it's just a matter of perspective.

The signs on the drive up the hill to the lodge are very funny. We told Anita to get her camera ready without telling her why. I was on the right side of the car so took her camera and got the pictures. Hope you enjoy them.

After drinks we went to the Canyon Steakhouse for dinner. A couple of lemon drop martinis at the lodge and dinner had me feeling good. 😁

On Friday 7/8, Mike and I took about a 3 mile hike on one of the trails in Denali National Park. We had done the same one 7 years ago but it was rainy but Friday was beautiful.

After that we went to a food truck for lunch. In the "grocery" store Mike found Rolling Rock in bottles which he hasn't been able to fine in about 9 months. I told him the beer was a year old but as long as it wasn't opened he should be fine. 🤣

In the late afternoon Friday, 4:00-10:00pm, we took a bus ride into Denali National Park. The park only allows cars to about the 15-mile marker, then it's by special permit if you are staying at the campground or for buses.

Though it was a bit long, it was really nice. We got to see the big mountain, Denali (formerly known as Mt. McKinley) off in the distance about 70 miles away from where we were. We saw multiple Caribou, Big Horn Sheep, Dall Sheep, lots of ground squirrels and at the end a grizzly bear off in the distance.

We were very lucky the weather was so nice and could see the mountain. They say only about 30% of visitors to the park get to see big mountain because of the clouds. Mike and I have been lucky enough to see it both times we have been here, does that put us in the 60% or because we were there twice it's only 15%. Any one into statistics can give me your thoughts.

On Saturday 7/9 we went for an ATV ride north of Denali National Park (ATVs are not allowed in the National Park). We rented side by side ATVs cause the last time we did this I had a lot of issues with the throttle because my hands are so small. It was great riding through river beds, mostly dry, and seeing the mountains of the park and around.

After the ATVs we went to 49th Street Brewing Company for dinner. Two things I want to point out. For those that know me, I don't drink beer (wine and Lemon Drop Martinis) but we've been to several breweries and Ale house I figured I should get a beer. I got a wine then tasted Mike's and Jim's and decided on Jim's (don't ask me what it was). And I finished it!!!!

Also, most of the places we go for dinner has a lot of seafood, which I am also not a fan of/ But I do like Alaskan King Crab Legs but the prices were crazy. It makes no sense since they come from Alaska ..... but it does. All the Crab Legs get shipped to the lower 48 and then shipped back to Alaska .... how absurd is that!!!!!😒

So I've been asking about the price at several restaurants and it was like $120 for a pound. This restaurant had a pound and a half for $125 .... what a deal. I finally broke down and got them. They were good but not worth the price, I'll keep asking the price for poop and giggles but not getting it again.

Sunday 7/10 was a rainy day. While it put a damper on another hike in the park, that is fine due to all the fires. I hope the rain helped some. We have not smelled the smoke as much as in Fairbanks, but they are not that far away.

Mike took Abby for a walk on a bike/walking trail that allowed dogs. She couldn't go off leash, but it was good for her nonetheless. They had to turn around when there was a moose up ahead, Mike didn't want to chance Abby going crazy. While they were out, I painted. He did take pictures of some trees that were obviously scraped by some animal, don't know if it was from a bear, moose, or caribou.

Later we walked to Prospector's Pizza which was actually really good.

On Monday 7/11, we went and did ZipLines. We had a 15 minute ride in a van, then a 15 minute ATV ride to get to the course (the guides drove, it was very interesting), 6 suspension bridges to walk on to get to the platforms and 7 Zip lines. It was great fun. The guides were fantastic and the 5 other folks with us were so much fun.

The suspension bridges were way scarier than the Zip Lines. Anita is terribly afraid of heights but said since she was hooked up, she'd be ok. She was ok"ish" but said a lot of words not allowed on this blog. I have to say that I wasn't thrilled with them especially the last two. I was just as scared but quite about it. My face said it all. While walking on the last one, which was long and steep, it started raining rather hard which made it even more scary. Stepping off the first Zip Line is the hardest but easier as you go along. 

My husband and friends had a great time making fun of me for the kids helmet and gloves and how I had to stand on the highest step to get hooked in and out. Good thing my height, or lack thereof, doesn't bother me.

Mike and I did not take any pictures but thanks to Jim we have a few.

A little Alaska t-shirt humor.

Interesting Facts about Denali

Denali National Park and Preserve, formerly known as Mount McKinley National Park, is a national park located in Interior Alaska, centered on Denali, the highest mountain in North America. The park and contiguous preserve encompass 6,045,153 acres (9,446 sq mi) which is larger than the state of New Hampshire. On December 2, 1980, 2,146,580-acre (3,354 sq mi) Denali Wilderness was established within the park. Denali's landscape is a mix of forest at the lowest elevations, with tundra at middle elevations, and glaciers, snow, and bare rock at the highest elevations.

The park is serviced by the 91-mile long Denali Park Road. Only a small fraction of the road is paved because permafrost and the freeze-thaw cycle would create a high cost for maintaining a paved road. The first 15 miles of the road are available to private vehicles, allowing easy access to the Riley Creek and Savage River campgrounds. Private vehicle access is prohibited beyond the Savage River Bridge.

Glaciers cover about 16% of the 6 million acres of Denali National Park. Measurements indicate that glaciers in the park are losing about 6.6 ft of vertical water equivalency each year. There are more extensive glaciers on the southeastern side of the range because more snow is dropped on this side from the moisture-bearing winds from the Gulf of Alaska.

Denali is home to a variety of North American mammals, including an estimated 300-350 grizzly bears on the north side of the Alaska Range (70 bears per 1,000 square miles) and an estimated 2,700 black bears (334 per 1,000 square miles). As of 2014, park biologists were monitoring about 51 wolves in 13 packs (7.4 wolves per 1,000 square miles), while surveys estimated 2,230 caribou in 2013, and 1,477 moose in 2011. Dall and Big Horn sheep are often seen on mountainsides.

Denali mountain is the highest mountain peak in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,310 feet above sea level.  Denali is the third most prominent and third most isolated peak on Earth, after Mount Everest and Aconcagua.

Interesting Facts about Caribou and Reindeer

The Caribou is a wild species of deer often called reindeer when domesticated. They belong to a large group of hoofed ungulate mammals called artiodactyls which also includes camels and giraffes. They are found in the arctic tundra regions of North America, Asia, Northern Europe, Alaska and Greenland.

Caribous are large even toed mammals that measure 4 – 7.25 feet in length and stand 4 – 5 foot at shoulder height. They can weigh between 130 – 700 pounds. Their coats are short, thick and colored brown in summer turning grey in the winter. Their rumps and chests are white and they have blunt, hair-covered muzzles and short tails.

Caribous are the only deer species where both male and female have antlers but some females have no antlers. Males have larger and more branched out antlers than females which can extend in size to over 3.25 feet. Their antlers grow directly from their skulls and are covered with a thin skin called a ‘velvet’. During the ‘rutting’ season, the velvet on the males antlers disappear.

Males use their antlers to fight each other for access to females. Male antlers fall off after the mating season has finished and females lose their antlers during the birthing season.

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