I arrived at the park after a six hour drive from Anchorage on a van, and was dropped off at the Wilderness Access Center and Backcountry Information Center, where I got campground a reservation for the night at the Sanctuary River campground and my backpacking permits for the rest of the stay. If I tried to start backpacking today, I wouldn't get started till nearly 6pm, so I took the small and primitive Sanctuary River campground for the first night.
Today's date of September 4 was at the peak of fall colors for the red dwarf birch. The newspaper in Anchorage had said it would rain today, but the rain stopped half way there, near Talkeetna. These initial photos are all of those colors on the bus ride to the campground.
The campground was right next to the river of the same name. The weather had cleared and it was sunny.
This bird had a very strange call but kind of looked like an owl. I guess not all owls hoot.
Continue to second day bus ride