Day 75 - Friday, June 14 - Milepost 6118 - Birdcount 267 - Denali National Park, AK

(BF's Journal). For a large national park, Denali’s offerings are quite limited because almost everything interesting is in the area restricted to hiking or the green school bus. So today is more from the same short menu: birding along the entrance road in the morning, hiking behind the hotel in early afternoon and driving the entrance road in late afternoon. For me the highlight is finding a Northern Hawk Owl hidden in a dense birch woods, trudging back to the car to get my tripod and camera gear, returning to find the sleeping owl still on the same tree branch and then photographing the patient bird from three sides. For not having seen a hawk owl before, I sure learned a lot from my first sighting. Just as we are about to embark on our afternoon hike, a Moose cow and her calf block the hiking trail. As I take photographs, a crowd gathers from passing motorists and buses since the trail is adjacent to the park road and train station and only a block from the hotel. All the attention doesn’t seem to disturb mother and child. The calf entertains us with clumsy movements promulgated by a small body attached to disproportionately long spindly legs, looking like Disney’s character Goofy walking on stilts. Friday being date night, we find a surprisingly good pizza restaurant with Alaskan beer by the pitcher, delicious pizza and a warm atmosphere of solid pine walls, antique photos of Denali and big picnic tables shared with other diners. Next to us on our table are two young coeds spending the summer working at Denali. One is from California, just north of Yosemite, where in fall she will start her second semester at Columbia, a small community college. She applied for the job in Alaska because she always wanted to visit the state and traveled here by plane to Anchorage and train to Denali. Shari and I muse about whether we would have considered the same summer job when we were freshmen and what our parents would have thought of the idea.

(SF's Journal). Bert went off this morning at 5:30 AM and let me sleep. I had a restful morning and he did too I suspect. After lunch we walked the Horseshoe Lake Trail and then took the car down the 23 mile drive to Savage River where we took pictures of ducks and a gull’s nest I almost stepped on. It was 6:30 PM when we got back so we immediately went to Lynx Creek Pizza for our dinner out. The pizza was good although expensive, $23.00 plus $3.50 for a salad and $13.50 for a pitcher of beer. Since leaving Anchorage most items have been expensive. I have seen milk at $2.85 per half gallon when we bought it at $3.13 a gallon in Anchorage and of course only $1.79 at home. Produce is very high also, tomatoes $2.99 per pound versus .79 at home. Lynx Creek also had cheap .79 bread for $2.00. Luckily we had shopped before we got here so the high prices did not affect us.

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