Friday, 4 September 2015
04.09.2015 - 04.09.2015
Up early again this morning and off to the Sourdough Music Hall. Hearty if rustic buffet with plenty of choices and even some fruit. After breakfast we gathered at the Main Lodge to board the bus for our eight hour Tundra Wilderness Tour. The weather has turned miserable and there is a cold drizzle with the promise of serious rain.
The bus is a converted school bus but has some neat features. There were some drop-down video screens connected to a serious camera operated by the driver/guide. the name of the game was to spot wildlife. A shout of STOP !! would stop the bus - where safe to do so. It was then a matter of determining what had been seen and where it was. Once the driver locked onto the subject we could all see it in detail on the screens.
We drove out on the mainly unsealed mountain road for about 52 miles in four hours with comfort stops every 90 minutes or so. With about two dozen buses on this narrow winding road the task of the driver was not insignificant. With something like 50 sets of eyes trying to spot wildlife I expected many calls to stop. Not so.
We spotter - a long way away - a Dall Sheep - totally white and almost impossible to distinguish from a patch of snow. Next someone spotted a wolf feeding off to the side, far enough to be difficult to photograph. We were informed that there are fewer than 50 wolves in this 6 million acre park. Seeing one of them is indeed a rare event. There were a number of bear sightings, most of them at a distance too far to be clearly photographed.
On our way back, after a brief comfort stop, someone spotter a bear coming down the hill-side. Our driver revved up the old bus and parked on the bridge over the river so that we could get an unobstructed view. The bear came down the hill entered the river and waded across less that 20 meters from where we were stopped. Definitely the shot of the day.
There were more sightings of moose and caribou but none of them could spark my enthusiasm after catching that shot of the bear. We were a bunch of weary travellers who disembarked at the Lodge. A wonderful day out and the weather stayed reasonable. The vivid tapestry of colours in the landscape was somewhat ignored and outdone by the more spectacular wildlife sightings.
The day is not over, tonight we dined in the Sourdough Music Hall. Long tables and 'family style' service. Servers were upbeat and very attentive, all one had to do was wave a napkin and shout a name. This jovial atmosphere prevailed when the servers became actors in a melodramatic telling of the story of the men who first climbed Mt Danali. Well done and interesting, one of the girls had a particularly great voice.
No WiFi in the room so will need to upload this from the Great Hall.
If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view photo for today by following this link to my main album.
Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony