By Sled and By Rail


I went back to the park the next day - a cloudy, misty morning - and I swear the foliage had turned noticeably more fall-like. This time of year in Denali can bring snow so it is definitely becoming fall.

One thing I kind of wish I would have budgeted for is a ride on the Alaska Railroad. The tracks I have seen in my travels go through some stunning scenery and I would have loved to see it. May be a reason to have to come back to Alaska :) During yesterday's park visit I saw the tracks cross a ravine and thought it would make a neat photo if the train was crossing so I checked the schedules and found an overlook. Unfortunately, the train was a little early so it was crossing the ravine just as I got to the overlook and I didn't have time to change my camera lens so I didn't get quite the photo I wanted but these were pretty cool, too.

Another fun thing to do in the park is to attend a sled dog demonstration. These Alaskan Huskies are bred, raised and trained by park rangers and are used for many chores within the park. They pull supplies, scientific equipment, and people into remote parts of the park during the winter. In the summer, they show park visitors how mushing works and let us meet and pet them.

Here is a video of the short demo - you can see (and hear) how excited the dogs are to get harnessed up and connected to the sled.

This was a worthwhile way to spend an hour and it was interesting and cool to learn that it is all run by our parks employees. Each dog can pull their weight (60-80 pounds) and works for the park for about 9 years. They are then retired and adopted by a family to live out the rest of their lives at leisure.

I think I might try and make another stop at the park a little later in the month to see the tundra in its fall colors. But for now it is on to Fairbanks.