"It's lonely being a cannibal. Tough making friends." - Col. Hart, Ravenous
There's a bear, I swear, over there. I swear, I swear, the bear is there. By there, I guess I mean six pixels by six pixels. You can click on it for larger picture goodness (as you can with any picture on the site), but, honestly that won't help.
The first thing I noticed about the roads into Denali was that they were really good roads, paved, even. We drove into the park and ended up at a bridge. A nice (very young, like 12) Park Rangerette stopped the car in front of us. They didn’t have a permit, but they were short, gray-haired drivers who I’m thinking were trying to sneak into the park. The Park Rangerette politely told them to turn around, or she would pull her Rangerette Taser and really give them something to remember the park by.
The Boy and I, having the proper papers, made it through Checkpoint Charlie with the polite admonition that we should drive slowly (less than 45MPH) and keep our lights out, or she would pull her Rangerette Taser and make me jump around like grease on a McDonald’s grill. I drove slowly out of sight, then put the pedal down and cruised on the good roads until I saw a cluster of vehicles all staring off to the north. Far, far in the distance, I saw a grizzly bear cavorting next to a stream. At least it looked like that from where I was sitting, 600,000 thousand yards away. For all I know it was a sweaty young Park Rangerette cavorting in a bear suit for the amusement of the tourists, sort of like the animatronics at Disney, you know, where Lincoln says, “Welcome to the Hall of Presidents . . .” even though you and I both know that Lincoln is living in a grass bungalow in Tahiti with Joe Montana.
Something pretty for tonight's post. Yawn.
The road was dotted on either side by signs indicating that moose were mating in the area. The signs further indicated that you shouldn’t leave the road in those areas. I’m thinking that maybe the bull moose are like really sloppy drunks, and would hit on you if you got out. Perhaps the moose were just a bit shy, and this was the equivalent of pulling the blinds by the side of the road so they might get in the mood, since moose would otherwise worry about pictures of them mating ending up on the Internet, kind of like fuzzy Paris Hilton videos, but with moose. Well, maybe exactly like Paris Hilton videos.
If Clint Eastwood were a mountain, he'd be this one. But I didn't see the slope vibrating like his temple does, so it's probably not him.
The Boy at this point became fixated with the idea of snow. He seemed to think that our Explorer would make it up the mountain to the point where we could cavort like Park Rangerettes in bear suits in frosty goodness. I gently told him, “No way we’re getting to play in the snow today.”
After a minor bout of faux crying, The Boy consoled me and we continued on. We were beginning to feel a bit hungry so we grabbed the bag of snacks out of the back seat and began to graze. The Boy pulled an Alaska Jack’s Alaskan Hunterstick, which is like a jerky-sausage thingy. Think Slim Jims with an Alaskan label.
The Boy: “What’s this?”
John Wilder: “Meat.”
The Boy, looking at the label, which has a gray-haired, bearded man wearing a flannel shirt: “Human?”
John Wilder: “No.”
(I swear this really happened.)
Next: Slow Rangerettes, Steep Roads, and Zen
Note: It may be a week or three before I can post again – another big expedition. I know that many of you might pine for me to return, but we’re not done with Denali yet. Does it make me a bad man to tease this way?