At 5:45 AM the yellow schoolbus labeled Kantishna Tours picked us up for the day tour into the park. In the early morning we rolled though wide open pleasant country which was mostly red-tinted tundra with sprinklings of taiga forest. On the horizon were low hills - some bare.
The bus traveled along a gravel road, which here crossed one of the broad, shallow rivers. The narrow road can be seen climbing the hill across the river.
One of the big surprises was the amount of color in the tundra landscape. I had always thought of tundra as dull and drab. But with the fall colors of the blueberry bushes, there were areas of brilliant color. In the bottom left of this picture is a willow bush - the Alaskan willow is a major food for moose, ptarmigan and other wildlife. I had long wondered what it looked like, having read so much about it. It has little apparent similarity with our willows.
Almost before daylight we came upon our first small herd of caribou grazing on the side of a wooded hill. There were about seven of them and they all looked sleek and well-fed. It's a good thing - winter is not far away at this latitude.
A short distance further along we found these two moose just off the road.