Caribounty

I was fortunate to spend an evening and a morning in Denali Park this week with Polly. We didn’t have a permit, so were only allowed to drive into the parking area two or three miles short of Savage River (normally you can park at Savage River, but the lot is currently closed).
Being industrious and ready for exercise after a long drive, we hit the road afoot Tuesday evening. Our efforts were well rewarded when I spotted antlers swinging in the brush: caribou.
Next morning, I made the same walk alone (Polly prefers sleep over watching me take pictures). I was lucky enough to find and photograph the same caribou bull. I had the animal all to myself because everyone else was flying by in cars and tour buses, not stopping to look closely. No one ever knew we were there.

My photography assistant stands on the Denali Park road overlooking Savage River (she would rather be hiking).

Blueberries are almost ripe. Still a lot of green ones. I would give picking at least another week.

I spotted antlers swinging in the brush on Tuesday evening. Turned out to be a large caribou bull. We watched him for a while before heading back down the road.

That evening I encountered this little porcupette while taking a landscape shot along the Denali Park road.

The hills of Denali. I hated to leave that evening, but promised to return first thing next morning.

Next morning, I found a half-grown leveret (baby snowshoe hare) pausing among a bouquet of wildflowers in a parking pull-off along the Denali Park road. It seemed a good omen for the day.

Sure enough! Found the bull caribou that morning bedded along the Savage River. I watched him until he got up and, in a stroke of divine luck, started feeding in my direction.

“Can I help you?” Seriously, he was simply trying to eat. Did I have to bother him with pictures?

One more goofy look, and I left him to his breakfast.

Published by kenwildcountry

Writer, photographer, and editor specializing in Alaska's outdoors.

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