This day June and I took one of the buses from our lodge down the Denali Park Road to the Eielson Visitor Center. We had heard about a good hike in the hills above the visitor center and wanted to give it a try. It was foggy and rainy most of the way and the windows on the bus were caked with mud and water. Occasionally someone on the bus would yell out that they saw something and the bus driver will stop, windows are lowered and we see what we can see. On one of our stops we could see a Grizzly Bear on the ridge maybe 1/2 a mile away.
|Ridge Top Grizzly|
I hadn't brought my longest lens and made due with a 70-200mm with a 1.4 teleconverter, giving me an effective focal length of 280mm. At this point it was still raining and foggy so I wasn't sure what kind of photo I could make from that far under those conditions. These photos are cropped down to make the bear a reasonable size in the frame.
|A Bear Behind|
The visitor center was built from 2004 - 2008, replacing an older facility. A main goal of the project was to design a low-profile building that blends into the landscape. The steep slope enabled the designers to partially bury the building, which visually screens the structure from the Park Road. The roof is literally "green," as tundra mats salvaged from the construction of the site were relocated to planters dispersed on the roof terrace. These camouflage the roof deck, helping it blend into the landscape. The green roof also assists in storm water run-off reduction and thermal energy conservation.
The planning and construction of Eielson included strategies such as maximizing natural daylighting, selecting energy-efficient heating / venting systems, the use of renewable energies to power the building and thoughtful selection of recycled and locally produced.
The park implemented various renewable energy strategies at the site, including a hybrid generator system with photo-voltaic panels and a battery bank, installing a solar hot-water heating system for the restrooms, and constructing a small hydroelectric system in a nearby stream. The end result is a beautiful building that blends into the landscape and uses as much renewable resources as possible.
|Looking For Lunch|
|Which path do I take to lunch?|
|Can you help me? I can't seem to find lunch|
|View From The Top|
June had packed us lunch for the day and we sat down behind some rocks, ate and enjoyed the view.
A closer look reveals an abundance of plants covering the ground. Walking on this is like walking on a soft bed.
|Even the rocks were colorful|
|Where's The Mountain?|
|Beauty in Rain|
I'm heading to a photography workshop this weekend and will have to take a break from the daily bogging. I know, I just got home. I've only got 1,700 photos from Alaska left to go through so I better get out and take some more. I'll be back with a new blog on Monday.