The Denali Highway, day 12

 Is that a moose? No, just Keith fishing.

This is continued from our Alaska trip in August. With so much to see and do and the distance to cover, I fell behind on the blog and skipped day 9 – 13.

This morning for breakfast we were joined by a bald eagle having a breakfast of road kill. Our breakfast was much better in my opinion!

We left the campsite located in the Tangle Lakes Archaeological District (for more than 10,000 years hunter gatherers have dug roots, picked berries, fished and hunted primarily caribou in the area) about 9am heading further west along the Denali Highway.

It rained off and on most of the day but I still had a couple of chances to fish for Grayling.

Today was opening day of hunting season for moose and in some areas caribou so we have seen lots of hunters, campers and ATV’s. We didn’t’t see many driving. Most were in camps along the road.

Coming up a hill we spotted two eagles in a tree next to the road. One flew immediately but the other poised for photos.

We also stopped for construction (bridge repair) and saw the Landmark Gap, a cut in the mountains used by Caribou during migrations.

We crossed the MacClaren Summit (4,086 feet and the second highest pass in Alaska) with spectacular views of mountains dusted with new snow and stopped at the MacClaren River Lodge to upload images (first connectivity in 4 days) for this blog. There to greet us was a beautiful Border Collie that had come from the Border Collie Rescue in Seattle. Note: this led to us getting a dog from the Northern California Border Collie Rescue when we returned home.

The MacClaren Glacier from which flows the MacClaren River was very interesting. The river is running low (most are high) as it is glacier fed and it has been very cold (we were told normally it is the 70’s) this summer (It was 38 degrees when we woke up this morning.).

The lodge offers boat trips to see the glacier. The inn keeper spoke of typical 75 temps but this day it was more like 42. A few moose hunters commented the berry season had been poor leaving the birds hungry. All lamented one of the coldest and wettest summers on record.

We thought about buying a shower here but the women’s shower was full of long black hair (maybe the Border Collie) and we thought better.

Continuing west there were panoramic views of the Susitna River area. The road was lined on both sides and the hills by berry bushes (berries still green because of the cold) and looked perfect for bears.

Crew repairing bridges or roads stay here on a 1 week on, 1 week off schedule since it is too far home. Bad areas on the road or highway are marked with flags. Slow down! Especially on pavement where they often mark frost heaves.

The area is covered with lichen which is one reason the caribou migrate through here.

We climbed again and pitched camp near the road at an “informal camping site” (so called by the BLM) at N63.19986°, W147.63416°, at 2929 feet with current temperature 49° and settled in to watch the view from our picture window.

We could see glacial lakes, snow capped mountains. It rained on and off and the wind howled.

Debbie loving this trip.

Danger Will Robinson! Do not wear your moose costume!
This out-of-focus picture was taken from about 15 feet away.
The MacClaren Glacier.
Susitna River.
Repairing a bridge.
Wet . . .
and dry.
Caribou food.
The Alaskan Pipeline heading south towards Valdez.
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