Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fairbanks to Denali National Park

Our original plan was to take in the University of Alaska – Fairbanks (UA/F) Large Animal Research Station for their first tour of the morning (10:00am) but unfortunately, they were not yet open and with the day ahead and rainy conditions, we took a pass on their tour.

Once we had picked up the RV and returned the rental car out at the airport, we headed south on the Parks Highway . . . destination Denali National Park (approximately 150 miles from Fairbanks). David did great driving “the beast”.

We stopped in Nenana, home of the Nenana Ice Classic, Alaska’s version of the lottery where the winner is the person (or people) who guess the exact time (or closest if there is no exact match) that the Nenana River ice will break in spring. This typically occurs between late April and early May. We bought four tickets, predicted our dates and times and then headed back to the RV to fix lunch. By this time the weather was a bit clearer, at least the rains had stopped.

We traveled the rest of the way on down to Denali arriving to the Teklanika Campground, inside the park, at around 5:30pm There are a number of campgrounds inside Denali National Park. Tek is the deepest inside the park approximately 30 miles from the park entrance. Once at the campground, your vehicle (RV, car, camper, etc) must remain parked until you are ready to leave. There is a minimum three night stay at a very reasonable $16/night. Visitors staying at the Tek campground have the option of purchasing the Tek Pass, an unlimited on/off shuttle service throughout the park to the west. The only drawback is that you cannot go east, towards the entrance or visitor’s center and return to Tek without purchasing a new shuttle pass.

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