14 Aug 2006 Monday

We both slept well last night.  The sun came up around 4:30am, but wewere able to close our curtains and sleep in until about 7am.  We drovethru more beautiful scenery for much of the morning.  We went thru anotherborder crossing back into Alaska.  

We stopped at Tetlin National Wildlife Refugeand looked out over a beautiful wetland.  With the help of some binoculars,we saw trumpeter swan in the water.  We still haven’t seen any moose orbear.  For all the wildness we’ve heard about Alaska and the Great WhiteNorth, I guess we were expecting to see bear and moose in the middle of theroad.  The wildlife we’ve seen has mostly been birds.  We’ve seenravens, magpies, a few bald eagles and trumpeter swans.  We’ve also seen a rabbitand several prairie dogs (or some relative) on the side of the road, both deadand alive.  

We got into the town of Tok, AK and sot more info on the Wrangell-St.Elias National Park and Preserve.  This park boasts a land mass largerthan Switzerland with higher peaks.  It contains the largest number ofglaciers and the largest collection of the peaks over 16,000 feet.  Andonly has two dirt and gravel roads leading into it: the 42 mile Nabesna Road andthe 60 mile McCarthy Road.  We drove thru more road construction andfinally reached Nabesna Road in Wrangell-St. Elias Park.  We found aprimitive campsite for the night.  We’re still cautious about bears, so wecooked dinner at a rest stop along the road.

We encountered a little more wildlife at this campsite… the legendaryAlaskan Mosquito!  Some refer to the mosquito as the state bird (state birdis actually the Willow Ptarmigan).  Withplenty of snow melt and this has been the wettest summer in years here inAlaska, the mosquitoes have plenty of stuff to breed in.  We were sittingin the truck enjoying a beer with dozens of mosquitoes probing thru thescreens.  I think they only exist to remind Man that he is not on the top ofthe food chain.

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