Clouds increased during the day as we rolled along the gravel road. Eight hours, on a gravel road, in a school bus wore us all out. If I had it to do again, I would take a shorter shuttle tour and spend the rest of the time hiking.
The fall colors are about over, snow is expected tonight and tomorrow. But, the the birch trees are brilliant yellow against the dark green spruce.
And the tundra is a carpet of orange, yellow and red. I loved the tundra.
Denali was shrouded in clouds all day so we didn't get another view of it. We did, however, see some wildlife. The caribou are migrating to the west for the winter and we saw a couple small groups, picking their way across the gravel glacier beds. They were too far away for a picture; binoculars were required to see them well. We also saw Dall sheep up on the steep sides of the mountains, they looked like little white bits of cotton on a field of brown. On the way out, we saw a grizzly bear in the distance. On the way back in, we saw another. The grizzly bear like the tundra, where the landscape is wide open and the berry bushes plentiful. They are busy filling their bellies and building their fat reserves before retreating into their dens for the winter.
The closest animal we saw (other than the Arctic ground squirrels that ran in front of the bus) was a moose that was making its way through the forest. Moose don't like the open tundra and prefer to be in the forest and shrubby areas where they can eat their fill of willow. I wasn't quick enough to get a picture though.
Today, we woke to rain. We put on our rain jackets and went for a long walk -- I was determined to get in my "hike" in Denali. This afternoon, we board the train again and head further north to Fairbanks.