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The Land of the Midnight Sun 
Exploring The Alaskan Tundra
A


Join Me in Learning How Denali National Park
 is Shaped by the Midnight Sun


Introduction
  |  ExploreHands-On Fun

 

Hurry, our camper bus is going to pull out soon.  Grab your backpack and let's go.  

You are adventurous enough to hike with us as we 
explore the tundra of Denali, aren't you?  

Well then, let's go!!!

 

 

  
As our camper bus bumps along Denali National Park’s dirt road, 
our bus driver, Cindy, tells us 
about the amazing things we are seeing… 

 

Our Trip into Denali

As our camper bus bumps along Denali National Park’s dirt road, our bus driver, Cindy, tells us about the amazing things we are seeing… “yeah, it probably won’t get dark until about one in the morning tonight”… “Over there is the drunken forest where the permafrost melted beneath the trees making them lean over and then froze again”… “See how that valley is U-shaped? It’s been formed by a long-ago glacier”… “That hearty little bush is called a willow plant. You’ll learn 

to avoid their entangling branches. You’ll also wonder at their ability to survive Denali’s harsh climate”… “The dense fur on that grizzly bear over there will help it survive Alaska’s long cold winter”…. About three hours from Denali’s Front Visitor Center, we have bounced our way fifty-three miles into the park when we see the Toklat River. With your eyes you follow it’s braided path along the tundra to the glacier covered mountains, picking out the path that you will follow on your journey.
 

Cindy puts her camper bus into gear and pulls away. As she disappears over the ridge, she waves one last time and is gone. It’s then that you realize that it’s only you and the your friends out here on this vast tundra. 

 

Out Here on Our Own

Denali National Park is truly vast. It covers over 6,000,000 square miles (compare) and it seems that big to you now. Soon, there won’t be another person for miles. You realize that out here, there are no McDonalds where you can buy a Big Mac, no corner stores to buy a snickers bar, no sidewalks or trails to speed you on your way, not even a bridge to help you cross that river. Yet your sense of fear, surprise, wonder, and excitement builds inside of you as you get yourself ready to explore one of the wildest places left on earth. 

 

 

 


Yet your sense of fear, surprise, wonder, and excitement builds inside of you as you get yourself ready to explore one of the wildest places left on earth. 

 

 

  
As you do one last gear check, you also prepare yourself mentally to choose your own path, make your own discoveries, and to explore a land that few others have explored. 

 

 

Getting Ready to Go

As you do one last gear check, you also prepare yourself mentally to choose your own path, make your own discoveries, and to explore a land that few others have explored. You look forward to hiking late into the night and seeing the midnight sun, hiking over land that is permanently frozen (permafrost), wading across rushing rivers that pour out of melting glaciers, eating blueberries that you pick yourself, and watching animals, large and small, in their wild habitats. 

 


Let’s Go!!!

Part 1:

Have you ever wondered why it stays light late into the night during Alaska’s summers?

Part 2:

Is the ground really frozen solid just a few inches below the soil?

 

Part 3:

Why are there so many rivers in Denali National Park?

 

Part 4:

How do plants survive the cold weather of the tundra?

 

Part 5:

How do animals survive the cold weather of the tundra?

 

 

Try This (Hands-On Fun)

Our Culminating Activity

 

Introduction  |  ExploreHands-On Fun

 



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