Today was overcast and rainy most of the day with the temperature getting to only about 62 degrees F.. The Denali mountain could not be seen due to cloud cover.
Denali Visitor Center–
The Visitor Center at Denali is fairly new and beautiful. Built in 2006 it has a number of interesting exhibits. There’s a very good film about the changing seasons in Denali. The film is only 17 minutes long but it is very well done. We attended a Ranger lecture on the wood frog and how it has adapted to life in Alaska. In the winter it actually freezes, it stops breathing and it’s heart stops beating. But that’s not the amazing part, the amazing thing is that in the early spring it’s heart restarts and it rejoins the land of the living!!! No ill effects from freezing.
Poked around the visitor center for quite awhile. They have a very good book store and the even have a restaurant they call a “Grill”. The visitor center provides shuttle buses to the sled dog mushing demonstrations throughout the day.
Sled dog mushing demonstration–
The park is patrolled using sled dogs in the winter and there is quite a large kennel of sled dogs. In the summer the dogs are used to show visitors sled dog mushing demonstrations. All the dogs look very healthy with beautiful coats. They are clearly well cared for by the staff. There was a Ranger lecture on the history and present day use of the dogs followed by a demonstration of “sled dog mushing”. The dogs seem so calm and a bit lazy until they get a hint that there is going to be some running and pulling. Then they start jumping, pulling on there chains and barking with anticipation. It was interesting to see the dogs respond to the chance to run and to follow the commands of the sled rider.