The Northern Lights Dance above Teklanika Campground, Denali NP, Alaska
Good News! I was selected for a Professional Photographer's Road Permit in Denali NP so this summer I'll be spending a week at my second most favorite Denali campground-- Teklanika. 29 miles along the Park Road, Teklanika is the last campground you can drive to. But in most cases you will need a Tek Pass or a Camper bus ticket to go further into the park on one of the park buses. There's a bus stop just outside the campground and while conveniently located it was a bit busy each morning as many Tek campers were looking for the few available seats on the first buses each morning. I rode the bus from Tek to Igloo mountain and to Wonderlake. It was convenient and easy, and I felt much more a part of the Denali landscape than when I camped at Riley Creek.
The hillsides behind Teklanika River light up with the morning light.
The Teklanika river is right behind the Teklanika campground. The braided river bed is a great place to explore and look for wildlife and photo ops.
Sunset and the Braids of the Tekalanika River, Denali NP, Alaska
River Bar, Teklanika River, Denali NP, Alaska
The River bar is a great place to walk and explore. I saw a Caribou on the other side of the bank and a few other footprints of various other critters.
First Time for Everything, Teklanika River, Denali NP, Alaska
On my last night in the park I got lucky and saw the Northern Lights. I planned to wake up at 12:30 am but was too cold to fall asleep so I got out of the tent around 10pm and that's when the light show started. It was incredible! Absolutely one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I hurriedly grabbed my gear and gloves and headed to the river bed, hoping to photograph the lights and their reflections in the Tekalanika River. After about 30 minutes of photographing in the river bed-- all alone-- I became fearful that a bear might come up and eat me. So I packed up my things and returned to the campground where I set up with a few other photographers and photographed the dance from the comfort of numbers.
A Look Into the Heavens, Teklanika Campground, Denali NP, Alaska
Lastly, the Teklanika Campground has the normal campground amenities-- toilets, water spigot (froze each night and morning of my stay), concrete food pantry and gas/cooking pantry, picnic tables at each site and if I remember correctly, all of the sites were flat, gravelly and there were a good number of trees around, too. All in all a good place to camp if you have a car and want to be further inside the park than Riley or Savage. I can't wait to go back this year. 49/50 forever! (49-- Alaska/50-- Hawaii)