Wednesday, July 06, 2005

To Denali and back

Ruthie and I just returned from Denali National Park. She did a presentation with Jasper the rough legged hawk for the Denali Foundation's Intergenerational Elderhostel. Wow, what a mouth full, but what a neat program.

First, The Denali Foundation was founded in 1989 in order to develop and implement research, education and communication programs that benefit the Denali Park region, the state of Alaska, and our planet. They believe that wilderness provides an educational opportunity to teach and to share values common to all of us.

Forge the bond between the generations as you explore this subarctic wilderness with your grandchild. Discover the exciting intact ecosystem of Denali National Park while searching for caribou, moose, Dall sheep, grizzly bears and wolves. Phenomenal vistas, glacial rivers and spectacular wildflowers are part of your everyday life in Denali. Local naturalists, explorers and adventurers work together to make your Alaskan experience one that you will never forget. Children will take daily guided hikes with elevation gains of up to 1700 feet. All activities will focus on appreciation of wilderness, communication between the generations, teamwork and most importantly-fun! Note: This program is only for hostelers and their grandchildren ages 9-11.

OK, did you get that. Grandparents and their grandkids only, no mom or dad. What a neat idea. And we met quite a few grandparents and grandkids from all over the states. They were from Florida, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Arizona, NY and other states also.

First we had dinner with them. They were the most friendliest people, must of been 40 of them. We were flooded with questions about Anchorage, Alaska, Bird TLC, birds and you name it. Ruthie was holding back any discussion about rough legged hawks until her presentation. Granparents and grandkids both wanting to know more.

Then Ruthie did her presentation with Jasper. While she discussed anything and everything about rough legged hawks, I went around showing bird artifacts (wings, feathers and the such). Her presentation went on for about 45 minutes when it was interrupted by a moose outside of the learning center. An animal we Alaskan's see almost daily and take for granted sometimes. These people were glued to the windows watching the moose's every move.

Thanks to the staff of the Denali Foundation for putting us up at the researcher-in-residence cabin and for their friendly hospitality. Also, thanks to all of the grandparents and grandkids that made the trip worth while. Ruthie, myself and Jasper really enjoyed ourselves.

Some pictures from the trip are in the photo album.

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