Wildlife, Denali National Park and Preserve
Fondest memory: It was amazing watching these animals! We didn't get very close (these pics were taken with a 300mm lense). Moose can be dangerous animals and will charge you. I did not want to mess with those antlers! This is the time of year when the moose and caribou lose the velvet on their antlers and they become hardened. This is to prepare them for the battle over females. After the rut and mating with the females, the antlers fall off, only to begin growing again the next spring. These bulls were the first and only bulls I had seen all summer. I had seen many cows and calves. It seems the bulls are more out of view until the rut approaches. Consider yourself lucky if you see one!
Fondest memory: Photo: It was a rainy day at the end of August and we found two bull moose foraging in this spruce/taiga forest. They were strengthing up for the fast approaching rutting season when they would be competing for mates. These moose were not seen from the park road. We hiked in through exactly what you see; dense underbrush. There are very few trails in this park. It is encouraged that you find your own path! You could be the first person ever in any particular spot. I wasn't properly outfitted at the time. I was wearing a light rainjacket, jeans, and non-waterproof boots. What a mistake! As you can see, this brush was at least hip high. Pushing through this wet undergrowth left me soaked to the bone. I have since bought myself a complete gortex outfit - jacket, pants and boots. You want to do this as well for any trip to Alaska. You will be much more comfortable and willing to hike in the rain where you may get an opportunity like this to see some wildlife! Rainy days are often better for wildlife viewing as the animals tend to rest and seek shade on sunny days. It may not feel that warm to you, but these animals are used to cold temperatures and if they are very active on a warm sunny day, they can overheat. It rains here a lot in summer and gortex will definately make you a happy camper and hiker! :-)
Favorite thing: During hiking in the park, you will get to see lots of pristine naturally scenery such as the one shown on the photo.
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