100 Days of Denali: Day 78, 79, & 80

This was a special three days in Denali.  Josh’s parents, Patty and Steve were in town to see us.  I was excited that they wanted to be a part of the 100 Days of Denali Journey I was on.  We brought the RV again because we had not had significant snow and we’re able to get the RV out of the driveway.  That camping and bike trip really made me appreciate the RV and having a warm bed to sleep in.  I know Nali was a huge fan of the Gregory’s coming down to Denali with us.  She was pretty spoiled.

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When we got to the park we drove right on in!  We were excited to see SNOW!  I got out and took a few photos.  I accidentally threw a snow ball right at Josh too!  I was trying to do a quick video on my phone, aiming for my phone, and missed.

We traveled up the road and watched the sunset over the mountains.  The Gregory’s also got to see some moose!  At first we saw some moose up on a hillside.

We drove a little further and the moose came right to us.  As we watched the moon creep up over the mountain, a cow, calf, and bull moose all crossed the road in front of us.

Day 78 (15 of 19)-2

It was time for dinner and the Gregory’s had pre-made some chili.  We enjoyed some chili and chili dogs for dinner.  I was a little worried we were four adults and two dogs in a confined space eating an abundant amount of chili, but it all worked out!  We sat by the fire after dinner and laughed the night away.  The fire didn’t seem to rage for very long and it was getting cold.  We went into the RV and played team cribbage!  Josh was a little rusty but it was a lot of fun.  Cribbage is a game that both of our families have enjoyed for generations.  Whenever I play, I am reminded of all the fun memories at my Grandma’s house playing cribbage!

Right when we thought it was time to snuggle in our beds, Steve pointed out the Aurora!  We all hopped out of the warm RV and watched the northern lights.

We woke up the next morning and enjoyed some breakfast.  We also randomly decided to clip Nali’s toe nails!  She was pretty good.  Both dogs weirdly wanted to be in the bathroom of the RV that day.  The dogs came out when we promised them a walk.  They enjoyed strolling around the campground.  After their walk we got in the RV and drove to mile 30.

The first animal we saw was a Northern Hawk Owl.  I seem to be pretty lucky in having so many opportunities to view these incredible birds.  Denali was also out in all her glory.

As we pressed on down the dirt road, we stopped a few times to watch the sun rise and cast new shadows on the fresh coating of snow on the mountains.

Day 79 (6 of 17)-2

We got out at mile 30 and went on a long hike.  We hiked along the Teklanika River and viewed some of the largest bear prints I had ever seen in Denali.  It was another absolutely gorgeous day in Denali National Park.

We saw an opportunity to hike up a hill and ran right into some snow.  It was a gentle reminder on what was to come for us Alaskans.  It was deeper than I imagined.  Since it was relatively new snow, all the prints were fresh.  Patty pointed out some wolf tracks.  We hiked around for awhile before decided to head back to the river.  It was getting dark and we needed to get back to the RV.

On the way back I was excited to see one of Denali’s fish!  I videoed a little baby grayling! It was so little!!!

We didn’t see any large animals, but did get a little view of a red tree squirrel.  The dogs wanted one last view of the mountains before we headed back to our campsite.

Day 79 (8 of 17)-2

Denali was still out but the clouds were settling in.  Denali was camouflaged in the clouds.  Night came a few minutes earlier as we made our way to the campground.

Day 79 (16 of 17)-2

The Gregory’s prepared another fabulous meal for us!  We were eating better in the RV than Josh and I typically do at home!  Patty made us a stir fry vegetables, rice, and precut rotisserie chicken.  We opted to not have a fire that night.  Instead we stayed in the RV and played more cribbage.  Everyone was pretty tired and we then headed to bed!

We woke up to Day 80!  It was an exciting day!  We went to mile 15 for a hike.  I first was on a mission for pika.  I was hot on one pika’s tail when I looked up and noticed everyone was gone.  I went back to the RV and Josh and the dogs were making breakfast.  Josh was finishing up some eggs.  I went to go look for his parents.  I hiked up the path and found them climbing the rocky mountain.  I decided breakfast could wait a few more minutes and went on a little rock climbing adventure with him parents.  We peered out over the mountain on the road and valley below.

Josh gave up on us and we found him coming up the hill as we were climbing off the rocky mountain.  On our way down I got to see my pika!  I sat on a rock and watched him scramble on the rocks below me.  Josh’s family seemed to be better at finding the little mammals than I was.  They would say, “Oh, there it is!” I would look all over and seem to find the pika only as it was scurrying away.  After our pika viewing party we went back to the RV for breakfast.

Day 80 (6 of 13)-2

After breakfast we made our way out of the park.  We saw a spruce grouse and 6 moose on our way out.  The moose didn’t come to us like on day 78, but there were some nice sized bull moose.

As we passed by the entrance sign of Denali I realized how quickly the whole weekend had gone.  It felt like we had just gotten there.  Another 3 days in Denali were over and now only 20 days remain in my 100 Days of Denali Challenge!  I also was able to see another animal this trip, the arctic grayling!  With winter and darkness coming in fast, it will be an interesting final 20 days in the park!  Thank you Patty and Steve for coming to visit!  We had a blast and hope to see you again soon!

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