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North to Alaska - Artistic Shots - Day 28 (June 13)

Sunday - After wiring up the rear levelers on The Jellybean, which were damaged while exiting the ferry so that they had come loose and occasionally dragged on the road, we shoved off (G hadn't even felt like using his $2 shower token and was lying down in the van while S drove). Later, however, G announced that he was feeling better and was going to drive so Sherrila could rest.

We came to a viewpoint giving us a beautiful look at THE MOUNTAIN (hereafter referred to as "Denali"). Though usually covered by clouds, that day it was in plain view. Since we had reservations for a campsite 30 miles inside the park, on the Teklanika River, we only had to check in at the visitors' center at Denali National Park and then drive in. Those without reservations had to leave their vehicles at the center and ride a bus into the park. Our campsite had a nearby water faucet and a flushing chemical toilet, but no showers. We thought that if we got desperate we could return to the visitors' center for a shower and to buy supplies.

We were in the wilderness with wild animal signs everywhere (a large pile of moose scat included, right in our campsite) and the famous Alaskan mosquitoes. Though the bug spray kept them from biting, they hovered in a swirling cloud waiting for us to exit The Bean. Since Sherrila didn't feel well (She apparently contracted Garrett's illness.) she rested while G, B and M walked back along the road to a pretty little lake we had noticed on the way in, for pictures. After this we followed some trails and a stream to the river near the camp. The breeze along the shallow braids of water kept most of the mosquitoes away and we spent a pleasant few hours collecting rocks, taking pictures and just "hanging out," enjoying the beautiful scenery. (Later a ranger told us about an encounter just down the river from camp, where a pack of wolves had cornered a Dall ram and killed it, only to lose the spoils to a brown bear.)

After supper (chili, salad and canned peaches) Margaret washed the dishes outside on the picnic table, moving quickly and being careful not to inhale any mosquitoes. At 7:30 pm (still very light) we went out to a small amphitheater to hear a ranger talk on local flora and fauna. "Ranger Pat" was very enthusiastic and informative, having worked at the park for some years. As he got going with his presentation it suddenly started pouring rain.

Everyone rushed to the pavilion near the campground entrance or back to their RVs. B helped Ranger Pat carry his props while M ran to The Bean to close the windows. Luckily, very little water got in though everything outside was drenched. The ranger's presentation continued under the cover and was very worthwhile. We went to bed after letting the gas burners on our stove burn briefly to warm things up in The Bean. Though not a good practice, it worked, and we slept well.