Our driver stopped and pointed. All eyes turned in that direction and we soon spotted a Brown Bear (aka Grizzly) munching berries, moving down hill toward us. Camera shutters clicked continuously. With the bear just a few feet away, Stu’s telephoto lens was nearly useless. The bear remained totally unconcerned with our presence as he ambled across the road behind our National Park Service shuttle bus and headed into the brush. Wow!
A comfortable and scenic ride aboard the Alaska Railroad’s “Gold Star” service from Anchorage to Denali Station had brought us here the previous day. Our rustic and cozy cabin at Crow’s Nest was a friendly, welcoming accommodation.
Our 6:30 A.M. shuttle took us 66 miles into the six million-acre park. At Eielson Visitor Center, we ate our box lunches and enjoyed a closer, if partly obscured view of the 20,320 foot-tall Mountain. In addition to our close encounter with the Brown Bear, we observed a coyote trotting down the road, more Brown Bears walking across the tundra, a group of Dall Sheep on a nearby ridge, and a small herd of Caribou grazing near the roadside and more.