The group made reservations to go on the bus tomorrow, so that left Nancy free to go hiking with me. We started out to take the bus to the Visitor Center where the trail head began. The bus that picked us up and the campground was the camper bus, not the courtesy bus, but the driver said he would let us off at the Wilderness Access Center and the service road would intersect with the Healy Overlook trail. I think I mentioned in my last post, the buses were a little confusing.
The Healy Overlook trail is suppose to be a 4.5 mile out and back trail with an elevation gain of over 1700 feet. The trail is steep and very rocky. Our actual mileage was a little more than six miles. Three miles up and three miles down. Not much level hiking at all. The vistas were spectacular. On a clear day you are suppose to see Denali, but the day was cloudy. The good news was we didn't have any rain.
Healy Overlook trail.
In the evening we decided to attend the ranger talk on squirrels. Squirrels? Its seems the big five (caribou, moose, wolf, bear, and sheep) get all of the attention. My curiosity was peaked ..what could be so interesting about squirrels in the park. There is the flying squirrel which eats truffles and then scatters the spores through his scat. The truffles are good for the spruce forest because they are a type of fungus which helps the tree roots store water. Then there is the arctic ground squirrel which is "fast food" for the bears and wolves. The red squirrel eats the spruce cone seeds . The red squirrels drive Sadie crazy. They sit in the trees and taunt her to the point I have to put her in the motor home because she starts barking at them.
On our way to the ranger talk, we encountered a Moose cow and her calf. The path was separating the two so we had to wait until one of them crossed the path. You really don't want to get between the cow and her calf. So we waited until the two meandered on and then we continued on to the amphitheater to listen to the talk on squirrels. Then the cow and the calf wandered into the amphitheater area within 10-20 feet of us, which according to the ranger is way to close. So far at the beginning of every talk, they say stay 25 yards away from Moose and 300 yards away from bear. The ranger was getting a little worried, but finally the cow and her calf moved on.
Bill took these pictures. I had forgotten my camera. Thanks Bill for sharing.