Thursday, May 21, 2009
Denali - Wolf & Denali Update
When I have been seeing wolves, they are often at a distance. When first observing the pictured wolf above, he was down in the river valley and appeared to be leisurely hunting.
Although the light was not that great, it was a stoic scene with the lone wolf on the snow and then crossing the river.
To our surprise he came out out of the valley and onto the road.
He looked right over at us and then went into some willow to hunt for hares. This wolf was then joined by another and we watched them hunt as a pair for hares. Awesome.
Most of the snow is now gone. There are still scattered patches throughout the park and on the mountains. It still gets down to freezing most nights. The amount of snow that has left the park is amazing. The visitor center is now open, our small ranger checkpoint cabin opened yesterday at milepost 15. The buses are running tourists all day now. One of my responsibilities is to provide a brief talk, on the buses, to the tourist when they stop at the checkpoint. The road to milepost 80 is cleared, they are letting it dry out some, so the buses are only going out to milepost 53 (Toklat) currently. I can no longer drive the road in the evenings to milepost 30 during my off time for photography. Unfortunately my photo trips will be limited to the front country now (milepost 15), except on my days off when I will be taking backpacking and photo trips to the back county. From our ranger checkpoint cabin I see Dall sheep and Harlequin ducks in the river below every day. Had two rams down low on the path behind the checkpoint cabin and a cow moose with two new born calves pass to the side yesterday. On a sad note, the snowshoe hare that was greeting me in the morning outside my cabin was taken by a lynx. His remains were scattered in the parking area. I also had a bull moose in velvet and a yearling blocking the entrance to the shower house last week.
Next post, grizzly in the road.