So, I'm reserved round-trip on the Denali Star and four nights at the Denali Bluffs at the end of August, and the only thing left to do is lock my within-park transportation.
I understand that Wonder Lake would be a commitment to a full day on the shuttle without doing much more than eating a bagged lunch at Eilson, confirming whether or not the mountain is out while at Eilson, and getting a quick photo op at Reflection Pond before turning back. Although I've read for many years that it's a must-do, I've been reading conflicting opinions on whether or not "going the distance" is worth it. Some people are saying yes if the mountain is out, while others are saying time is better spent in the Eilson area even if the mountain is an all-clear to go, so now I'm not quite sure what to do. I assume I should get the 3 days for 2 option, but the question is, to Wonder or Eilson? I'm aware that I have to be very flexible due to the changeablity of the weather, and that even with three days there's a possibility of the mountain not being out at all during my stay.
Going solo, I obviously plan not to put myself in any danger so will only be venturing off the bus with plenty of other people around. I plan to do the Ranger-led Eilson Stroll one day, and possibly the Nature Walk from the main Visitor Center, but does anyone have advice for other must-dos which I can do safely? From what I've been reading, I should also do the Savage River Loop for good chances to see the Park's smaller wildlife (enough other people walking it withstanding).
Finally, I've read that the shuttles make bathroom stops every 15 minutes, but are there opportunities for refilling water bottles? Do I need to buy a hydration pack for this vacation, and if so, what capacity should I choose?
Thanks for any advice.