|McKinley, way up there|
On the bus, we see: many herds of caribou, including at least five bulls with huge, furry antlers, three grizzly bears, Dall Sheep grazing high on green slopes, two golden eagles, and one short-eared owl. We discuss our grizzly bear sightings. On one hand, it is nice to observe them and get a chance to watch their behavior safely from the bus. On the other hand, it's not as special or as memorable as meeting such an amazing creature on their own terms. On the bus ride back, we stop to pick up five wet backpackers. They sit in the back with us, with all their gear. Turns out they're the same group we saw while getting our backcountry permit, and they followed almost the same route as we did in units 8-10, except in reverse. They are fun, friendly, adventurous people from all over, who somehow got to know each other through various connections. We spend the ride back talking to them and moving all our gear when our bus breaks down. Later on, we join them for a fabulous pizza dinner at the Prospector. Thanks again to Brandon, Marco, Martin, Karen, and Chris for the wonderful stories, good times, and generosity.