After our five days at Teklanika Campground we left the backcountry and moved to Riley Creek Campground near the entrance to the park. This is a large campground with nearly 200 sites which can accommodate the largest of rigs. This is still the National Park so there are no hook-ups, but we do have a cell signal and with that phone service and internet.
Within walking distance along the various walkways within the campground is Riley Creek Merchantile. This small camp store has a limited supply of grocery items, a few souvenir items, camping supplies, and firewood. There is also a laundry and showers. They have a nice covered porch and there are electrical outlets to recharge electronic equipment and there is free WiFi. A dump station and fresh water is nearby.
There is an extensive network of shuttle buses running from the campground to the Denali Visitor Center, Bookstore, Snack Bar, Wilderness Access Center, Post Office, Railroad Depot, and various trailheads. So if you don’t have a car, you can still get around easily.
The campground has nightly Ranger Programs and there are Ranger led hikes from the Denali Visitor Center. There are also films shown at both the Wilderness Access Center and the Denali Visitor Center. There is plenty to do right here at the entrance to the park.
We moved in and got settled in our site late Sunday morning. While Gene was backing into our site, he noticed a familiar face walking along the road. He jumped out of the motor home and asked the lady if she was Cool Judy. Yes, indeed she was. We have never met, but he recognized her face from her photo on the Escapees forum. We made our introductions and later we joined her and her husband, Luke, along with Frank and Gloria, and Tom and Paula for a little socializing. It was fun to get to know these SKPs.
Sunday was more or less a day to get organized. I had loads and loads of laundry to do and we went out scouting for a market for a few grocery items. A word to the wise--buy everything you need before leaving Fairbanks or Anchorage and coming to Denali. There are a couple markets, but everything is incredibly expensive and there is very little selection.
Monday, our friends, Tony and Diana, whom we had last seen in Bushnell, Florida, pulled into Riley Creek Campground. We have been looking forward to meeting up with them in Alaska. As we were planning for this trip, we knew our paths would cross somewhere around Denali, Anchorage, or Homer. We’re glad it happened sooner rather than later. Now we will have more opportunities to bump into each other as we each do our own trip around the Kenai Peninsula.
Since their arrival on Monday, we have shared our meals together, attended Ranger Programs, perused the gift shops, and gone on hikes to Horseshoe Lake and Savage River. We’ve laughed, told tall tales, and eaten every chocolate chip cookie in both rigs. Diana and I do our little power walk together around the campground each morning. It’s been nice having good friends close to share this wonderful place.
Tomorrow, I’ll fill you in on those two hikes we’ve been on and then I think I’ll actually be caught up to real time on the blog. So much is happening so fast, I can’t keep up.
That’s all for today. Thanks for tagging along.