I saw Jesse coming out of the bush when we were cycling on the Elliot Highway. He waved and I noticed his dog jumping in the back of his car.
An hour later we stopped for lunch and he passed and stopped to chat. Jesse had been picking blueberries and offered us many handfuls of the delicious fruit. He had been scouting for a place to spend the winter. He will pass the dark days in a shelter or tent, together with his dogteam, of which Minto is one of his best buddies.
Jesse did not have much, but shared his berries and also his place in Fairbanks with the other biketravellers.
August 2: Resting, Denali info & Huskies
We woke up late, still exhausted from the previous 2 days. It was nice to relax again, while catching up on some work, emails and laundry. In the afternoon we checked out the visitor centres at the beginning of the only road into the park. The Denali park road (not to be confused with the Denali Highway, which we will cycle the next week), is a dead-end road that goes on for about 90 miles. It is forbidden for regular vehicles (cars, RV’s) after mile 15, but cyclists are allowed, as long as they pay the park fees. There are special camper buses that can take two bicycles as well as a lot of backpackers and it is actually cheaper to take that bus to the end of the road than a regular tourbus.
We decided that we would catch the Camper Bus into the park and then cycle back down the road. There are two options to camp along the road: you can reserve a paid spot on one of the 3 or 4 official campsites or you can go ‘backcountry camping’: The wilderness areas next to the road is divided into different sections and you can get a free permit to hike and camp in one of the sections, as long as there are still spaces, as they limit the impact on nature.
This is a great way to see the park, you can meet bears and caribou on every corner. The sections where there are known families of wildlife, like bears with cubs or a fox-den, are closed off for camping and hiking. We reserved the bus out and two sectors for backcountry camping, so we could stay in the park for 3 days.