Up and off by 7:30. After refilling water and dumping tanks (Sourdough Fuel, Airport Way, FREE) we started south on the Parks Highway for Denali, only 147 miles today! I was looking forward to a short driving day.
The area just south of Fairbanks is unimpressive. Low, rolling with distant mountains. A few hardscrabble houses, cottages and cabins. Some with their junk all on display. (Does every Alaskan own several junk pickup trucks, cars and heavy equipment?)
Finally, nearer the Park, we see snow covered peaks.
Thanks to the “Senior Access Pass” I purchased last year while paddling the Buffalo River in Arkansas we enter the park free and our campsite is half price, $11.00 PER NIGHT.
One glitch is even though I had reserved 2 nights at Savage River Camp 12 miles up the road into the park the recent snow storm has covered all the sites and we have been relocated to Reily Creek Camp, which is at the entrance. Not quite the “wilderness experience” I was looking forward to.
After paying our campsite and shuttle fees we picked out a site in Reily. Even here, the snow covers almost everything and one loop out of three is still closed while the middle loop is open, but barely passable.
Snow covered second loop of campsites.
After hanging our reserved sign I decide to take a drive up to Savage River to see what’s up. This early in the season that is as far as they will allow private vehicles to go.
We climb the first hill and find snow everywhere.
Back at Savage Rive we can see why they were unprepared for campers. Probably will be 2 more weeks before it’s open.
We decide to spend the rest of the day seeing the Visitors Center and maybe driving into the town, a tourist trap.