In the morning at the arctic circle, the view from the van is just unreal: a sky without a cloud, a small fog on the plains and a fresh wind. It is just amazing.
We drive back to Fairbanks for a good shower and some laundry (that might easily take half a day).
In the evening, we are invited to Michelle and Mark’s home. They are a couple of travelers met on facebook and they invited us for a beer.
We have a great time. They invited some friends and we spend the evening talking about overlanding, taking all the good advices they could give to us.
Finally, we accept the invitation to spend our first night in a real bed since we got Tikal back!
The night is already perfect. But as several good surprises may come together, guess who comes to illuminate the night?
It is after a good night, and after having thanked our great hosts, we stop at the Creamer’s Field in Fairbanks, where thousands of birds take a break during their migration travel.
Then we leave Fairbanks direction the south.
The south of Alaska.
Not really the sand yet but a visit of the Denali park.
We will enjoy the park for 3 days. (but you can spend easily spend a week there).
After an illuminated night (yes again…), we go to the visitor center and break our pig-bank buying the pass for the national parks and a bus tour in the Denali park for the next day.
The entry of the park for private vehicles is limited to the first 50 km and the rest shall be visited by bus (or by feet but it takes more time).
We spend the afternoon discovering the landscapes by our own.
We wake up at 5h50 (it hurts) as the bus leaves at 7h15 from the visitor center. The night has been cold and we are told that the temperature fell to -7°celsius this night… We get into the bus for a 12 hours drive in the park. And actually it worses it. But what might be even nicer is to spend a few days in the park, camping and sleeping outside (we can drop off the bus for a walk at any time). But regarding the recent temperature, it seems that we are not prepared enough for such adventure…
The wildlife is much diversified and after the squirrels, the caribous, the sheeps, the mooses, we meet our first grizzly, a few meters from the bus. Then a second and another one a bit further…
Mt Denali appears (it recovered his original name and is not called Mt McKinley anymore). More than 6.000 m high… The view is great.
In the evening we decide to take a break after such physical activity (12h seated in a bus) and go for a beer in a bar next to the park with a well-known bus in the courtyard : the Magic Bus. Yes, you know it:
This is a copy of the original bus that hosted Christopher McCandless (Alexander Supertramp) in his adventure in Alaska. The real one is situated into the wild, and the trek leading to it is kind of “complicated”… Anyway we both agree that the copy will be enough!
we lose ourselves in trek trails. We become stuck between rivers that we cannot cross. We enjoy so large landscapes (without any unwanted grizzly encounter).
Then back, on the road.
Next step: Anchorage.