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Photos: Driving through Denali National Park

A ray of light breaking through the clouds along the Denali Park Road. September 14, 2012
Courtesy Joe Connolly
A brown bear walking along the Denali Park Road. September 14, 2012
Courtesy Joe Connolly
A brown bear along the Denali Park Road. September 14, 2012
Courtesy Joe Connolly
A blueberry-stained brown bear along the Denali Park Road. September 14, 2012
Courtesy Chris Beck
Mountains with fresh snow along the Denali Park Road. September 14, 2012
Courtesy Chris Beck
Dall Sheep along the Denali Park Road. September 14, 2012
Courtesy Joe Connolly
A bull moose along the Denali Park Road. September 15, 2012
Courtesy Chris Beck
Cars drive the Denali Park Road. September 14, 2012
Courtesy Joe Connolly
Photographers take a break from photographing Denali with their heavy, long lenses. September 14, 2012
Courtesy Joe Connolly
Photographers have fun with a park ranger in Denali National Park. September 14, 2012
Courtesy Josh Martinez
Photographer Carol Lahnum with almost $80,000 worth of loaned camera equipment. September 2012
Courtesy Brian Weeks
Juneau photographer Matt Brown takes a break from photographing along the Denali Park Road. September 14, 2012
Courtesy Joe Connolly
A brown bear along the Denali Park Road. September 14, 2012
Courtesy Joe Connolly
A brown bear and tourists along the Denali Park Road. September 14, 2012
Courtesy Chris Beck
A brown bear along the Denali Park Road. September 14, 2012
Courtesy Chris Beck
A brown bear along the Denali Park Road. September 14, 2012
Courtesy Joe Connolly
Denali makes a semi-clouded appearance along the Denali Park Road. September 14, 2012
Courtesy Chris Beck
A blueberry-stained brown bear along the Denali Park Road. September 14, 2012
Courtesy Brian Weeks
German Frank Stelges enjoying the grandeur of Denali National Park. September 15, 2012
Courtesy Chris Beck
Hikers enjoy a brisk fall day in Denali National Park. September 2012.
Courtesy Brian Weeks
Fall colors and new snow along the Denali Park Road. September 2012
Courtesy Brian Weeks
A brown bear along the Denali Park Road. September 14, 2012
Courtesy Brian Weeks
Mountains with fresh snow along the Denali Park Road. September 14, 2012
Courtesy Brian Weeks

DRIVERS, CRITTERS TURN OUT FOR DENALI ROAD LOTTERY

Buffeted by strong winds, hundreds of anxious Alaska drivers got a chance to stare down wolves, moose and even grizzly bears through the windows of their vehicles during the annual Denali National Park road lottery.

Thousands of Alaskans apply each year, but only 1,600 permits  -- 400 vehicles a day -- are awarded for the four-day weekend. Denali National Park spokeswoman Kris Fister said 350 permits were actually issued Friday, 361 Saturday, 343 Sunday and 312 Monday.

Until the lottery, the only access to the 89-mile road that stretches from park headquarters near to Wonder Lake near Kantishna, a former gold mining camp, is by park bus.

Occasionally, snow or other bad weather can prompt partial road closures during the September public opening. On Monday, for instance, the road opening was delayed until 10 a.m. to allow ice that had formed in high passes to melt.

Read more: Denali Park Road lottery lives up to hype