I would appreciate help in making the best use of our time in Denali-Talkeetna. This is my second trip and the first trip for my husband. In 2005 I did a river boat cruise in Talkeetna, flew over the Great One (summit trlp) and spent one full day in Denali. We went at the end of August and went as well as to Eidelson. Although the trip was awesome and my 8 year old was spell bound, boarding the bus at 5 a.m was not fun as we only saw a squirrel. Saw one or two grizzlies on the distance. We were not spoiled with wildlife-only crows and ravens!! I know mother nature rules. Prior to Denali this year we will be doing a small ship cruise from Sitka to Juneau and we will do a day trip to Pack Creek for bear viewing. I know we will be at the height of the bug season and I am a bug magnet. I will wear DEET, the appropriate clothing and a headset. This time I want to keep expenses down ie. spend most of my time in Denali Park as opposed to other expensive activities and concentrate on wildlife and Mount McKinley. I am dreaming of taking photos at Reflection Lake. I do not want to get eaten alive by bugs and do not want to walk several miles from Wonder Lake to Reflection Pond if I take the Wonder Lake Shuttle if Mountain is out. If I sign up for the Kantishna Shuttle it leaves much later in the day (so technically I could miss out on a lot of wildlife that theoretically are more visible early in the day) . Also with the later departure to Kantishna, chances are increased that Denali will be in cloud cover as I understand the liklihood of it being visible are greater earlier on in the day. Plan on possibly 2 days at Wonder Lake-Kantishna and possibly a half day on our last day driving to Talkeetna. Although hiking with a park ranger is appealing I am afraid of the mosquitoes. If I spend the whole day in the Wonder Lake bus, my bites will be minimized (somewhat).
Here is the itinerary
Monday July 14-full day at Wonder Lake or Kantishna. Will take shuttle and not the tour. Undecided whether to take 5:15 a.m. shuttle to Wonder Lake or 8:30 a.m. shuttle to Kantishna.Overnight Denali Lakeside Inn.
Tuesday July 15-same query-Wonder Lake -at what time. Overnight Denali Lakeside Inn
Wednesday July 16-should we take the 3 day pass and plan on a half day to Tolkat or Eidelson. We will overnight in Talkeetna at the Talkeetna Chalet.
Thursday July 17-drive from Talkeetna to Anchorage stopping at Trappers Creek to get views of Mt. McKinley and perhaps Matsu and Palmer before heading to Anchorage airport. Will leave some flexibility in the unlikely event the weather is good and we are able to book a last minute flight seeing tour of McKinley at an affordable rate (don;t think this is going to happen!!)
Many many thanks to any who respond with suggestions!