Saturday, July 20, 2019

Alaska Day 10 - Russian RIver Falls and Kenai River Float

It is sunny again. Our last two days have been sunny though today is a bit hazier than yesterday. This is our last full day in Alaska. Tomorrow we will drive back to Anchorage for an afternoon flight to Seattle where we will stay the night before returning home. Right now I am sitting in a sunny spot in the dining room of our guesthouse realizing that we still have a solid 5 hours of light left in this final day. Our last day has been a pretty sedate one though we still managed to do a few things and see more wildlife, at least by the numbers, than we may have any other day so far. At least it felt that way.

We planned to do a raft river float on the Kenai River during the afternoon which left us with the morning to fill. We had first thought we could hike to Crescent Lake from the other end but the notes in the guide suggested that the trail could be difficult and overgrown. Another option specifically said the trail would be overgrown if it hadn’t been maintained recently and given what we had already encountered an executive decision (Mom) was made to skip Crescent Lake trail. We settled on what promised to be a simple easy hike to the Russian Lakes Trail to a waterfalls on the Russian RIver on a trail that anyone can walk and should be in superb shape. It is a totally accessible trail which means a good surface, wide, gently graded, no overgrowing foliage to push back. It sounded perfect for a 4.8 or so mile morning hike that would leave us with plenty of time to have lunch and then find the river rafters.

We had a bit of a surprise at the entry fee into this National Forest managed area. The full fee just to park is $11.00. We have both Golden Eagle and Golden Access passes which cuts the price in half. We thought most National Forests were free. We found a parking spot in the small pretty full lot and hoisted our day packs at about 09:10 under hazy blue skies with a temperature of about 60F and steadily rising. We strolled easily through the forest. Surprisingly few wildflowers were blooming or even really visible along the trail. The forest was often dense except where we passed through a valley where a forest fire had cleared brush out 50 years ago. In that stretch it felt more open. I can’t tell you what trees we saw just that they were abundant. After the 2.4 miles of easy walking with a few little ups and downs that would total about 180 feet up and down (one way) we reached the waterfall overlooks (a trail heads off to the right for another 600 yards to a place sport fisherman can get into the river and try their hand at catching the hundreds, if not more, of salmon that are swimming up stream to breed).

The waterfalls are pretty enough. What helps make them special are the salmon that you can see trying to work their way up stream. Mom and Dad both saw a few jumping trying to get up the falls. In a pool just below the waterfalls countless salmon seemed to be laying at rest. They looked like reddish rocks laying there. Signs along the trail talk about bear activity and it is easy to imagine bears being plentiful here trying to catch salmon as they swim by. If you are fishing you definitely have to pay attention to your surroundings in case a bear decides that the fish you just caught is their fish and not your fish.

Photo  taken July 18 2019 at 10:14

I realize this is probably a gull which makes it nothing really special but it is still wildlife we saw. I wonder if it is waiting for a salmon , tired after some jumps up the lower part of this waterfall, to appear and become a tasty meal.

--July 18 2019 at 10:14. Cooper Landing, AK, United States

Photo  taken July 18 2019 at 10:20

They are hard to see. They look like grayish (maybe with a slight red tint) rocks. How they can move is a bit of a mystery. In this pool just below the waterfall are who knows how many salmon. They have already run a gauntlet of fishermen and fisher women on the Kenai River and Russian River. They have probably avoided the jaws of bears too. Somewhere up stream are the places most of them were surely born and they are returning there to spawn the next generation.

--July 18 2019 at 10:20. Cooper Landing, AK, United States

As we hiked back we saw even more people heading out than we had on the way in. Quite a few of them were wearing their fishing waders and other fishing apparel. That clothing must be heavy and rather warm to wear. I think it would be hard work to just carry the apparel in a backpack. We had a pleasant 2 and a quarter hours on this trail in the Kenai-Russian River Confluence (I believe it’s part of Chugach National Forest ).

The river float is run by Alaska Wildland Adventures which seems to do a lot more than just short river floats on the Kenai River. They bundled us up in heavy-duty rain pants and boots. If the weather is iffy, as it was our first full day in Moose Pass, you would certainly want to wear the rain gear. Today the temperature was probably edging towards 70F when we boarded our 12-passenger raft. Amanda, the guide, was the sole person with oars. She was using oars in a rowing fashion but she was facing forward. I think she was mostly using them to control our direction as the river was flowing pretty well. We had a 10 river mile float and 2 hours to do it.

Photo  taken July 18 2019 at 12:39

Mom and Dad in their rain boots (calf high) and rain bibs.

--July 18 2019 at 12:39. Cooper Landing, AK, United States

Photo  taken July 18 2019 at12:39:53

Dad and Ken in our rain gear provided by the rafting company. Given the weather this afternoon, sunny but hazy with an air temperature easily in the upper 60s (yes the river is quite a bit cooler as far as the air goes) I think we would have been fine not wearing this stuff. You would, of course, get very cold feet getting in and out of the raft but that would have been tolerable enough. Photo by Judy.

--July 18 2019 at 12:39. Cooper Landing, AK, United States

--July 18 2019 13at 39:53. Cooper Landing, AK, United States

It is definitely a scenic float if you are looking for wildlife to see. The river itself is not that special except for its gray-green tinged color caused by all the glacial silt suspended in the water. The Kenai River is glacially fed from the Snow Glacier. The section we floated has a few riffles and some rapids a raft like ours should avoid because they have rather large pointy rocks but I doubt the rapids are Class II and easily avoided entirely. If you want excitement this trip is not the one to take. We did find ourselves wishing for a bit more of an energetic trip. However, there were plenty of opportunities to spot salmon trying to get to the Russian River.

Even I managed to see a bald eagle briefly as we floated on by. The little girl sitting in front of us counted 16 sightings of bald eagles (I think most mature though we did see at least a couple juveniles). Gulls were present along with several merganser ducks. As we passed by dozens of fisherman we now and then saw a salmon jump too.

Photo  taken July 18 2019 at 14:06

Just one batch of people fishing the Kenai River. We saw quite a few as we floated towards Jim’s Landing.

--July 18 2019 at 14:06. Cooper Landing, AK, United States

Photo  taken July 18 2019 at 14:39

Look carefully and you will see a bald eagle in the upper center right of the picture. This is one of 16, mostly mature, bald eagles people saw either perhaps perched on branches or flying over the river. Photo by Judy.

--July 18 2019 at 14:39. Cooper Landing, AK, United States

A sedate trip where all we had to do was sit and look out. Probably worth doing to get another glimpse of Alaska but if we had been a bit more involved that would have been a good thing for all of us. After we shuttled back to our car we felt it was time for an ice cream. We had learned earlier that the convenience store in Cooper Landing had good ice cream. Dad had bought a scoop of Umpqua Strawberry: a rather big scoop for $3.75. Mom and I tried the mint chocolate chip and espresso madness. The strawberry was the best of the bunch but Umpqua, out of Oregon, makes some good ice cream.

With that our day pretty much come to an end. We have all packed up and are relaxing in various ways before going to bed. This trip has had its ups and downs and we have seen a fair bit of each. There is a staggering amount we did not see and if we were to do it again I think we would likely do things a bit differently. For example, there is probably something to be said for the various tours that are available if you are willing to pay the extra money. I don’t think we can say that this visit to Alaska has knocked our socks off or will live quite as well in memory as some trips have done. Above average but not stellar.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Alaska Day 9 - Crusing in Kenai Fjords National Park

<p>Blue skies. We woke up and found something missing: clouds. The sun shown down and just a few puffy clouds drifted along in the dusky blue sky. It is the first time we have seen the sun in the morning this trip. The forecast promised we would see the sun all day long. Today was our day to take a cruise through the fjords of Kenai Fjords National Park. We drove into Seward to get on the Glacier Express for a 7.5 hour cruise.</p>

<p><img style="width: 800px; height: auto" src="https://assets.libsyn.com/images/wanderingknight/July-17-2019-0748.jpeg" alt="Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 07:48 " />&

Blue skies. We woke up and found something missing: clouds. The sun shown down and just a few puffy clouds drifted along in the dusky blue sky. It is the first time we have seen the sun in the morning this trip. The forecast promised we would see the sun all day long. Today was our day to take a cruise through the fjords of Kenai Fjords National Park. We drove into Seward to get on the Glacier Express for a 7.5 hour cruise.

Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 07:48

This is a first for the trip, ho[pefully not a last, sunshine in the morning. Looking northerly towards some mountains just across the field from our guesthouse.

--July 17 2019 at 07:48. Moose Pass, AK, United States

Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 12:22

Unless you have a long zoom lens you aren’t going to get good images of the animals swimming in the sea or flying through the air. This is, I think, a sea otter I was lucky enough to catch. Nothing ever got that close to our boat. I’d not be surprised if this animal was well over 100 yards away.

--July 17 2019 at 12:22. , AK, United States

We were just 3 amongst 190 passengers served by a crew of, I think, 5 people including the captain (Nicole). There was also a park ranger, Maia, on board to provide educational information about the things we would see and the places we were visiting. We pulled away from the peer at 10:00 moving across glass-smooth waters of Resurrection Bay out towards the Gulf of Alaska and then beyond. I think it is best if I just show off the best photos I took at this point. They’ll convey much more of a sense of what we saw. At least they manage that feat for larger objects. Since I did not have a long zoom lens I couldn’t really take pictures of the puffins, cormorants, gulls, and other birds that flew on by now and then. Nor could I really capture the humpback seals, Steller Sea Lions, Humback whales, or sea otters that we sometimes saw as more than small dark or light objects in the camera view.

Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 12:51

If you were ever prone to think of glaciers as smooth look at the wrinkles in this ice here. I’ve no doubt the top of the glacier, if you could walk across it, is loaded with cracks, crevices, and bumps too.

--July 17 2019 at 12:51. , AK, United States

Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 12:52

Holgate Glacier is about 0.5 miles wide, 400 feet tall, and extends back 5 miles to the Harding Ice Field. We are about 0.25 miles away sitting in very calm water that is a gray-green tinged color from the glacial silt that the glacier deposits. Bits of ice from the glacier drift by as we float here.

--July 17 2019 at 12:52. , AK, United States

Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 13:01

I do not know what the name of these waterfalls is or if they are named at all. They’re plummeting several hundred feet down to the water and I suspect are even bigger than they appear given they’re not particularly close to us.

--July 17 2019 at 13:01. , AK, United States

Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 13:09

The star in this photo is the ice both in the Holgate Glacier and the growlers that are flooating towards our position (doubt any are big enough to be Bertie bits). It doesn’t show up as well in this image but sections of the glacier are deep blue. That happens when ice is compressed forcing air out and changing the shape of the crystals. The result is longer wavelengths of light are absorbed leaving the shorter (blue) wavelengths to bounce back to our eyes. Photo by Jonathan.

--July 17 2019 at 13:09. , AK, United States

The glaciers are, in many way, the stars of the tour. It is a pleasure to see the animals but it is hard to see them and sometimes you only get a glimpse of one if you are lucky. THe glaciers are impossible to miss. The only thing we could not really sense about them, and only because we were not close enough, was the no doubt cool air flowing off their faces. But you can’t miss seeing a wall of ice 400 feet tall and a half a mile wide when you look at the Holgate Glacier. The Aialik Glacier is about as tall and even wider at a good mile. Of course, you can’t tell from the boat’s-eye view that the Holgate flows back 5 miles and Aialik over 8 miles. You can see the wrinkles in the ice, grooves that must be deeper than you think given the size of the ice wall and the fact that we float about a quarter of a mile away. Ice caves can be seen and must be equally huge. Floating in front of the glacier are recently calved bits of ice from tiny chunks called growlers of less than 3 feet; Bergie bits that run from 3 to 16 feet; and then icebergs which are 16 feet and up in size. I’m not sure I saw any icebergs floating by but everything else was. Now and then a huge cracking sound would be heard. Once, and for some lucky to be looking in the right direction, a huge block fell into the water - certainly an iceberg. About one second later a truly staggering boom rolled over us and in time an almost as big echo bounced back from somewhere off fjords walls.

Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 13:56

The Aialik Glacier is a mile wide, over 300 feet tall (maybe 400), and extends back at least 8 miles to the Harding Ice Field.

--July 17 2019 at 13:56. , AK, United States

Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 14:17

We are leaving the Aialik Glacier behind. YOu can clearly see it, its face anyway, in full glory now.

--July 17 2019 at 14:17. , AK, United States

We should not forget what the glaciers have left behind and are leaving behind. The fjords cliff walls tower hundreds of feet into the air and plunge several hundred feet below the surface of the light gray-green waters. The glaciers have been carving out these U-shaped fjords for millennia. Today the silt laden water is placid as we float in the center of the fjord watching the glacier and hoping to spot an occasional animal like a harbor seal basking on an ice floe or a seabird wheeling through the air.

Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 15:25

The shore of one of the Chiswell Islands. They are lush and we saw quite a few birds of various species as we moved through the islands.

--July 17 2019 at 15:25. , AK, United States

Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 15:28

For all I can tell these birds could be nothing more than gulls in the water but I prefer to hope that they were Horned PUffins get ready to dive deep for fish.

--July 17 2019 at 15:28. , AK, United States

Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 15:34

The Chiswell Islands are in the Alaska Managements National wildlife REfuge. I’ve no idea how many islands exists but in the little area we ventured their were certainly quite a few some with just the tiniest gaps of water between them.

--July 17 2019 at 15:34. , AK, United States

There is more in the the area besides the national park. A vast wildlife refuge managed by the US Forest lies adjacent to the park. It is a vast area dotted with innumerable islands and islets. We had a chance to sail through the Chiswell Islands. We gathered from Nicole, the captain, that not all cruises get to do this. I am guessing when the weather is questionable they skip the islands. On these rocky sheer-sided islands you can see Sitka spruce and mountain hemlock (I think) but I am not at all sure any deciduous trees are growing. I imagine the underbrush is quite thick. Horned and Tuffted Puffins, Common Murres, gulls, and other birds are here. Some people saw more Steller Sea Lions. I bet sea otters were about too. These are islands that are thriving in this frequently harsh and rather wet environment.

Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 15:48

A Humpback Whale surfaces, spouts, spends a couple moments at the surface perhaps showing its back and maybe slapping the water with a tail fluke, all within a few seconds. I am pretty sure I never saw any of the whales but Mom and Dad did. Mom was fortunate enough to snap this picture of a Humpback Whale as we returned to Seward. Photo by Judy.

--July 17 2019 at 15:48. , AK, United States

After the cruise and an adequate dinner we zipped over to the Exit Glacier. While I would have liked to go all the way to the Glacier Overlook, adding about 1.2 miles to a mile long hike, we ended up not doing that. We were tired, the bugs were out, and Mom and Dad did not want to go the last bit on the totally accessible trail. Oh well. We did see the glacier at a distance but never quite got to the edge of the moraine which could have been interesting to see if it matched my admittedly vague memories from 17 years ago. We are all a bit sleepy now. Even though it was has a sedentary day it was still a long one.
Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 19:28

The REssurection River flows by as we look out towards the Exit Glacier. We are strolling along a totally accessible loop that is about 1 mile long. If you take the spur trail to the Glacier Overlook you’ll add 1.2 miles to your hike but it is all accessible trail. We were ready for the day to end and the bugs were annoying us so we did not go out to the overlook. I am a bit sad that we did not as it would have been interesting to see if I remembered it from 17 years ago.

--July 17 2019 at 19:28. Seward, AK, United States

lt;/p>

<blockquote>

<p>This is a first for the trip, ho[pefully not a last, sunshine in the morning. Looking northerly towards some mountains just across the field from our guesthouse. <br /><br />

--July 17 2019 at 07:48.  Moose Pass, AK, United States  </p>

</blockquote>

<p><img style="width: 800px; height: auto" src="https://assets.libsyn.com/images/wanderingknight/July-17-2019-1222.jpeg" alt="Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 12:22 " /></p>

<blockquote>

<p>Unless you have a long zoom lens you aren’t going to get good images of the animals swimming in the sea or flying through the air. This is, I think, a sea otter I was lucky enough to catch. Nothing ever got that close to our boat. I’d not be surprised if this animal was well over 100 yards away. <br /><br />

--July 17 2019 at 12:22.  , AK, United States  </p>

</blockquote>

<p>We were just 3 amongst 190 passengers served by a crew of, I think, 5 people  including the captain (Nicole). There was also a park ranger, Maia, on board to provide educational information about the things we would see and the places we were visiting. We pulled away from the peer at 10:00 moving across glass-smooth waters of   Resurrection Bay out towards the Gulf of Alaska and then beyond.  I think it is best if I just show off the best photos I took at this point. They’ll convey much more of a sense of what we saw. At least they manage that feat for larger objects. Since I did not have a long zoom lens I couldn’t really take pictures of the puffins, cormorants, gulls, and other birds that flew on by now and then. Nor could I really capture the humpback seals, Steller Sea Lions, Humback whales, or sea otters that we sometimes saw as more than small dark or light objects in the camera view.</p>

<p><img style="width: 800px; height: auto" src="https://assets.libsyn.com/images/wanderingknight/July-17-2019-1251.jpeg" alt="Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 12:51 " /></p>

<blockquote>

<p>If you were ever prone to think of glaciers as smooth look at the wrinkles in this ice here. I’ve no doubt the top of the glacier, if you could walk across it, is loaded with cracks, crevices, and bumps too. <br /><br />

--July 17 2019 at 12:51.  , AK, United States  </p>

</blockquote>

<p><img style="width: 800px; height: auto" src="https://assets.libsyn.com/images/wanderingknight/July-17-2019-1252.jpeg" alt="Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 12:52 " /></p>

<blockquote>

<p>Holgate Glacier is about 0.5 miles wide, 400 feet tall, and extends back 5 miles to the Harding Ice Field. We are about 0.25 miles away sitting in very calm water that is a gray-green tinged color from the glacial silt that the glacier deposits. Bits of ice from the glacier drift by as we float here. <br /><br />

--July 17 2019 at 12:52.  , AK, United States  </p>

</blockquote>

<p><img style="width: 800px; height: auto" src="https://assets.libsyn.com/images/wanderingknight/July-17-2019-1301.jpeg" alt="Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 13:01 " /></p>

<blockquote>

<p>I do not know what the name of these waterfalls is or if they are named at all. They’re plummeting several hundred feet down to the water and I suspect are even bigger than they appear given they’re not particularly close to us. <br /><br />

--July 17 2019 at 13:01.  , AK, United States  </p>

</blockquote>

<p><img style="width: 800px; height: auto" src="https://assets.libsyn.com/images/wanderingknight/July-17-2019-1309.jpeg" alt="Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 13:09 " /></p>

<blockquote>

<p>The star in this photo is the ice both in the Holgate Glacier and the growlers that are flooating towards our position (doubt any are big enough to be Bertie bits). It doesn’t show up as well in this image but sections of the glacier are deep blue. That happens when ice is compressed forcing air out and changing the shape of the crystals. The result is longer wavelengths of light are absorbed leaving the shorter (blue) wavelengths to bounce back to our eyes. Photo by Jonathan. <br /><br />

--July 17 2019 at 13:09.  , AK, United States  </p>

</blockquote>

<p>The glaciers are, in many way, the stars of the tour. It is a pleasure to see the animals but it is hard to see them and sometimes you only get a glimpse of one if you are lucky. THe glaciers are impossible to miss. The only thing we could not really sense about them, and only because we were not close enough, was the no doubt cool air flowing off their faces. But you can’t miss seeing a wall of ice 400 feet tall and a half a mile wide when you look at the Holgate Glacier. The Aialik Glacier is about as tall and even wider at a good mile. Of course, you can’t tell from the boat’s-eye view that the Holgate flows back 5 miles and Aialik over 8 miles. You can see the wrinkles in the ice, grooves that must be deeper than you think given the size of the ice wall and the fact that we float about a quarter of a mile away. Ice caves can be seen and must be equally huge. Floating in front of the glacier are recently calved bits of ice from tiny chunks called growlers of less than 3 feet; Bergie bits that run from 3 to 16 feet; and then icebergs which are 16 feet and up in size. I’m not sure I saw any icebergs floating by but everything else was. Now and then a huge cracking sound would be heard. Once, and for some lucky to be looking in the right direction, a huge block fell into the water - certainly an iceberg. About one second later a truly staggering boom rolled over us and in time an almost as big echo bounced back from somewhere off fjords walls. </p>

<p><img style="width: 800px; height: auto" src="https://assets.libsyn.com/images/wanderingknight/July-17-2019-1356.jpeg" alt="Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 13:56 " /></p>

<blockquote>

<p>The Aialik Glacier is a mile wide, over 300 feet tall (maybe 400), and extends back at least 8 miles to the Harding Ice Field. <br /><br />

--July 17 2019 at 13:56.  , AK, United States  </p>

</blockquote>

<p><img style="width: 800px; height: auto" src="https://assets.libsyn.com/images/wanderingknight/July-17-2019-1417.jpeg" alt="Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 14:17 " /></p>

<blockquote>

<p>We are leaving the Aialik Glacier behind. YOu can clearly see it, its face anyway, in full glory now. <br /><br />

--July 17 2019 at 14:17.  , AK, United States  </p>

</blockquote>

<p>We should not forget what the glaciers have left behind and are leaving behind.  The fjords cliff walls tower hundreds of feet into the air and plunge several hundred feet below the surface of the light gray-green waters. The glaciers have been carving out these U-shaped fjords for millennia.  Today the silt laden water is placid as we float in the center of the fjord watching the glacier and hoping to spot an occasional animal like a harbor seal basking on an ice floe or a seabird wheeling through the air. </p>

<p><img style="width: 800px; height: auto" src="https://assets.libsyn.com/images/wanderingknight/July-17-2019-1525.jpeg" alt="Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 15:25 " /></p>

<blockquote>

<p>The shore of one of the Chiswell Islands. They are lush and we saw quite a few birds of various species as we moved through the islands. <br /><br />

--July 17 2019 at 15:25.  , AK, United States  </p>

</blockquote>

<p><img style="width: 800px; height: auto" src="https://assets.libsyn.com/images/wanderingknight/July-17-2019-1528.jpeg" alt="Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 15:28 " /></p>

<blockquote>

<p>For all I can tell these birds could be nothing more than gulls in the water but I prefer to hope that they were Horned PUffins get ready to dive deep for fish. <br /><br />

--July 17 2019 at 15:28.  , AK, United States  </p>

</blockquote>

<p><img style="width: 800px; height: auto" src="https://assets.libsyn.com/images/wanderingknight/July-17-2019-1534.jpeg" alt="Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 15:34 " /></p>

<blockquote>

<p>The Chiswell Islands are in the Alaska Managements National wildlife REfuge. I’ve no idea how many islands exists but in the little area we ventured their were certainly quite a few some with just the tiniest gaps of water between them. <br /><br />

--July 17 2019 at 15:34.  , AK, United States  </p>

</blockquote>

<p>There is more in the the area besides the national park. A vast wildlife refuge managed by the US Forest  lies adjacent to the park. It is a vast area dotted with innumerable islands and islets. We had a chance to sail through the Chiswell Islands. We gathered from Nicole, the captain, that not all cruises get to do this. I am guessing when the weather is questionable they skip the islands. On these rocky sheer-sided islands you can see Sitka spruce and mountain hemlock (I think) but I am not at all sure any deciduous trees are growing. I imagine the underbrush is quite thick. Horned and Tuffted Puffins, Common Murres, gulls, and other birds are here. Some  people saw more Steller Sea Lions. I bet sea otters were about too. These are islands that are thriving in this frequently harsh and rather wet environment.</p>

<p><img style="width: 800px; height: auto" src="https://assets.libsyn.com/images/wanderingknight/July-17-2019-1548.jpeg" alt="Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 15:48 " /></p>

<blockquote>

<p>A Humpback Whale surfaces, spouts, spends a couple moments at the surface perhaps showing its back and maybe slapping the water with a tail fluke, all within a few seconds. I am pretty sure I never saw any of the whales but Mom and Dad did. Mom was fortunate enough to snap this picture of a Humpback Whale as we returned to Seward. Photo by Judy. <br /><br />

--July 17 2019 at 15:48.  , AK, United States  </p>

</blockquote>

<p>After the cruise and an adequate dinner we zipped over to the Exit Glacier. While I would have liked to go all the way to the Glacier Overlook, adding about 1.2 miles to a mile long hike, we ended up not doing that. We were tired, the bugs were out, and Mom and Dad did not want to go the last bit on the totally accessible trail. Oh well. We did see the glacier at a distance but never quite got to the edge of the moraine which could have been interesting to see if it matched my admittedly vague memories from 17 years ago. We are all a bit sleepy now. Even though it  was has a sedentary day it was still a long one. <br />

<img style="width: 800px; height: auto" src="https://assets.libsyn.com/images/wanderingknight/July-17-2019-1928.jpeg" alt="Photo  taken July 17 2019 at 19:28 " /></p>

<blockquote>

<p>The REssurection River flows by as we look out towards the Exit Glacier. We are strolling along a totally accessible loop that is about 1 mile long. If you take the spur trail to the Glacier Overlook you’ll add 1.2 miles to your hike but it is all accessible trail. We were ready for the day to end and the bugs were annoying us so we did not go out to the overlook. I am a bit sad that we did not as it would have been interesting to see if I remembered it from 17 years ago. <br /><br />

--July 17 2019 at 19:28.  Seward, AK, United States  </p>

</blockquote>


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Alaska Day 8 - Ptarmigan Creek Trail

It is overcast and drizzling as I type this this morning. But Dark Skies suggests that the drizzle will ebb and vanish by early afternoon so we are going to wait it out before doing a hike. Who knows, maybe the sun will make an appearance (doubt it).

Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin into the future....

We first drove into Seward to take another quick look around. It was raining a bit more heavily. It seems Seward, which is 36 miles south of where we are staying, has worse weather, at least lately, than we do. When we retraced our drive back to the Ptarmigan Lake Campground (though nowhere near the lake) the rain had ceased though it was just as cloudy. At 12:50 we hoisted our packs and set out under cloudy skies with an air temperature around 61F. Perhaps our best weather yet.The Ptarmigan Creek Trail runs along the creek of the same name towards Ptarmigan Lake about 3.5 distant. It looked nice a nice easy trek through a forest with a creek to keep us company.

In short order the creek, which we had heard first, came into view. Flowing quickly the creek waters area light gray perhaps with a tinge of very pale blue thrown in. I don’t know what causes the color but I suspect glacial sediments, glacial flour, could well play a role. It is striking in its way. As we walked along the creek along the excellently made trail we enjoyed the forest and host of plants that filled our views. Little did we know that impression would soon change.

Photo  taken July 16 2019 at 12:58

Ptarmigan Creek is a fast flowing stream. I am not sure what gives the water this light grayish with hints of blue color but suspect the stream may be glacially fed so glacial flour, sediments from the glacier, plays a role.

--July 16 2019 at 12:58. Seward, AK, United States

Photo  taken July 16 2019 at 13:25

This is perhaps the best view of the valley that Ptarmigan Creek is flowing through. At least it is pretty much the best we get.

--July 16 2019 at 13:25. Seward, AK, United States

After about 1.25 miles the trail ascends away from the creek. Up to this point plants had encroached on the trail now and then. That quickly changed as we moved away from the creek. Fire weed, cow parsnip, devils club (maybe), ferns, and all sorts of other plants were over growing the trail. Frequently you could not see the trail through the plants you were pushing away from yourself as you bashed your way down the trail. Of course being wet - it had rained earlier and sprinkled still now and then - the plants transferred copious water from their leaves to us. It isn’t exactly hard but it is frustrating and tiresome walking.

Somewhere along the way we were supposed to get a good view of the valley. We saw something that could have been the valley, but there was only a hint of it because numerous trees (I suspect many western red cedars) were a bit lower than they should otherwise have been. The mountains on the far side were plainly visible. At about the 2.5 mile mark, annoyance levels with the heavy chest-high plant growth along the trail (more for Mom and Dad than I) reached the point where it was decided enough was enough. We were probably less than a mile from Ptarmigan Lake but the excessive overgrowth showed no signs of letting up. We decided to turn around and forgo seeing the lake.

Photo  taken July 16 2019 at 14:45

The trail is in that mass of greenery somewhere. For the past 1.25 miles or so the amount of foliage we have had to push through has been increasing. Along with that increase has come an increase in frustration. At about 2.4 miles, a bit beyond where a good vista should be but a bit less than a mile from Ptarmigan Lake, we decided enough was enough. We would turn back at this point.

--July 16 2019 at 14:45. Seward, AK, United States

Photo  taken July 16 2019 at 14:47

Heading back. We never saw much of the valley below but as you can see the mountains are visible today even with the whisks of clouds hanging on their flanks.

--July 16 2019 at 14:47. Seward, AK, United States

Photo  taken July 16 2019 at 15:10

Now and then the trail would open up and be free of invading plants. It is a lovely trail when it opens up like this.

--July 16 2019 at 15:10. Seward, AK, United States

The journey back seemed a bit less annoying and I thought I was getting less wet. The latter might have actually been true. I think we took about as long to return as we did to venture out.

At A Glance

  • Total Distance: About 4.8 miles on an out-and-back trail
  • total Ascent and Descent: About 400 feet up and down. Most of the ascent is on the way out and down over about 1.25 miles.
  • Time Taken: We were out for 3.5 hours and took just over a half hour in breaks.
  • Weather: Overcast with some sprinkles. When we started it was about 61F and rose to 64 by the time we finished.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Alaska Day 7 - Carter and Crescent Lakes

Wouldn’t you know it we woke up to find it was overcast and cool. We had breakfast and I think we really wanted to get out on a trail earlier than we did but it was just after 09:00 when we pulled into the trailhead parking lot a few miles distant from our guesthouse. Today we would see what Carter and Crescent Lake had to offer us. Jeff, the owner of the Inn we are staying at (it,s his daughter who hosted the Air B&B and she set us up in this guesthouse) told us yesterday that although it is a climb to the lakes they are in god’s country and therefore lovely. We decided to give it a go - being less than 5 miles away is a big plus.

The trail starts out wide, feels like an old road, but soon narrows down to typical trail dimension. More than narrow enough for the plants on either side to encroach on to the trail. All sorts of plants from cow parsnip (what I mistakenly called cow parsley in previous posts), ferns, and all manner of other plants are growing here. It gets quite thick. I hope whoever, if anyone, maintains the trail is able to come through with a team of people with loppers to trim things back. As promised we climbed up into the mountains. It is a steady climb but the footing is good and the scenery make up for the effort, marred slightly at the start of the hike by the fact that the one lane hightway to Seward seems to be full of traffic making plenty of noise.

Not long after we began our ascent it began to rain, light rain at first but over time it did intensify. But I know I got more wet, my feet to be sure, from the plants I was always brushing by and through. The rain is a bit disheartening but we were comfortable enough in the 56F weather. Up we went. After about two-thirds of a mile of steady climbing the traffic noise faded to nothing. We continued on. As expected the climbing eased off about 1 mile in. We had done pretty much all the ascending we would do, about 1,000 feet, and whatever was left would be just little dips here and there. The rain eased off somewhat too. We actually had dry spells and, for a few minutes, a patch of blue sky drifted overhead. We had entered the meadows that surround Carter Lake and are surrounded by mountains that rise far higher, mountains that had some snow on their slopes and clouds clinging to them as well. It is a wonderful place to walk through even though you cannot avoid getting wet from water transfer from the foliage that has encroached on the trail (do you sense a theme?). It is a wide area full of wildflowers though the ones we noticed were fire weed.

In time Carter Lake came into view. It was lightly raining again so we were not going to just stand there and gaze out on the lake. However, I am confident (confirmed later) that people do spend plenty of time there. Instead we pushed on to go the extra mile through the meadows and stands of trees to Crescent Lake a mile away. We did eventually see Crescent Lake just after passing through a small sheltering stand of trees. As the lake came into view the wind picked up and the rain got a bit stronger too. We were not going to hang out or go on. Instead it was time for lunch and that sheltered spot was the place to have our meal: a standing-up meal to be quickly eaten before moving on.

Photo  taken July 15 2019 at 10:29

The rain has been steadily falling for the past hour or so. We climbed about 1,000 feet over the first mile and are probably another half mile or so further along the trail at this point.

--July 15 2019 at 10:29. Moose Pass, AK, United States

Photo  taken July 15 2019 at 10:49

We are working our way through an alpine meadow. This field of fire weeds is just one thing that has caught our attention as we move along the narrow, often foliage choked, trail towards Carter Lake..

--July 15 2019 at 10:49. Moose Pass, AK, United States

Photo  taken July 15 2019 at 10:59

The wind was strong enough the cause these wavelets to march steadily across Carter Lake. It might have actually been a dry spell when I took this picture but those were few and far between.

--July 15 2019 at 10:59. Moose Pass, AK, United States

On the way back the enjoyment increased as we were treated to the distinctive calls of Common Loons that must have been hanging out on Carter Lake. The Common Loon is one of those iconic birds, especially with their calls, that evoke thoughts of the north, mountains, and especially lakes. Being able to hear them as we moved through these lakes and alpine meadows was a treat. Too bad we never could see them.

As we began our descent we came upon two young woman carrying big baskets. They were up here to gather fire weed they would use to make, we think, a jelly (looks like you can also make pickles). They clearly had been up here before and knew the area. Nice to see people coming out even when it is not ideal. We continued on our separate ways. The descent was actually quite a bit easier than I expected it to be, not as such but not as bad as it might have been. The work involved in doing this hike and the wet feet I acquired because I was wearing non-waterproof shoes and no gaiters (that would have helped keep water transfer at bay) was well worth it for the scenery we got to see when in the alpine meadows.

Photo  taken July 15 2019 at 11:28

We just passed through a stand of evergreens that proved a great sheltering spot from the wind. As soon as we got in view of Crescent Lake the wind picked up along with the rain. We had intended to go farther but decided that this view was good enough and that it was time for lunch. The little stand of trees we had just passed through was the best spot we were likely to find for a quick standing lunch that afforded protection from the elements.

--July 15 2019 at 11:28. Moose Pass, AK, United States

Photo  taken July 15 2019 at 11:43

Heading back from our little sheltered spot where we had lunch. It is raining again as we head back. While the weather wasn’t ideal it also helped provide interesting views of mountains and clouds like this one.

--July 15 2019 at 11:43. Moose Pass, AK, United States

At A glance

  • Total Distance: This is an out-and-back trail covering about 6.6 miles to that first vie of Crescent Lake.
  • total Ascent and Descent: About 1,000 feet ascent and descent. The vast majority of the climbing is done from the trailhead to the meadow over the first mile.
  • total Time: We were out for about 4 hours 40 minutes and took 40 minutes in breaks.
  • Weather: Overcast. It was sprinkling or a light rain for the bulk of the time we were out hiking.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Alaska Day 6 - Winner Creek Trail

You will not be surprised, dear reader, to learn that when we woke up this morning it was overcast. However, it seemed to us that the air must be clearer than previous days as we could see mountains from Anchorage a bit more distinctly. Today we would depart Anchorage and make our way to the area of Seward, Alaska. In fact, we are abou a half-hour drive north of Seward.Our original plan had us staying at an Air B&B in Seward but due to the heatwave (which was even worse in the Kenai Peninsula than Anchorage) causing massive amounts of snowmelt which in turn caused septic fields to become unusable we had to make other arrangements. Our Air B&B host felt really bad about having to cancel the original booking but lined up another place for us that she has access too, her father’s inn and a full-size house on the property.

The downside: it is about a half-hour north of Seward.

We were in no hurry to get to the new place so needed a hike to fill some time. We settled on the Winner Creek Trail. There are many trails that lead away from the Alyeska Resort. This is one of them. We decided to hike out to Winner Creek and the human-powered tram that you can use to cross the roaring creek. On the far side are additional trail that lead to places including Crow Mine. The trail is 2.5 miles long (one way) and you probably gain and loose about 250 feet over that distance. It is, according to the information we had, a very much improved trail. Gravel tread ways, long boardwalks, and well graded hard pack. A few roots intrude here and there but even I can get by without trekking poles. It is an easy walk. But just because it is easy does not mean it is not worthwhile. We strolled through forest that must see plenty of rain. All sorts of plants were growing along the trail. Surprisingly few wildflowers but many plants. Evergreens of unknown types and deciduous trees now and then. It felt much more forest-like than anything we had seen to date.

It was a pretty quiet trail. A bird sang now and then but the sound we heard most, eventually, was the rushing water of Winner Creek. Even voices of the many people we would pass did not really intrude to much (the music one person had playing as they went by did). The most jarring sound, and it seemed to get more frequent as the day progressed, was the noise of helicopters flying by. I suspect they are running tours to the nearby glaciers. From what a woman told us it really is a great tour.

Photo  taken July 14 2019 at 10:24

The Winner Creek Trail is a very much improved trail. Gravel, boardwalks, and hardpacked dirt make up the trail. A large portion of the trail can be biked. It is an easy walk and well worth it.

--July 14 2019 at 10:24. Anchorage, AK, United States

Photo  taken July 14 2019 at 10:51

Our first crossing of Winner Creek. Torrents of water are flowing under this stout wooden bridge. Photo by Judy

--July 14 2019 at 10:51. Anchorage, AK, United States

Photo  taken July 14 2019 at 10:52

Photo by Judy of Ken working to capture the surging Winner Creek below.

--July 14 2019 at 10:52. Anchorage, AK, United States

Photo  taken July 14 2019 at 10:53

Winner Creek roars down this cataract and under the bridge I am standing on.

--July 14 2019 at 10:53. Anchorage, AK, United States

The bulk of the descent (and later on the return ascent) is done as you walk along a gorge that I suppose Winner Creek created. If this is a creek it must be a big one. Water cascades in torrents. Frothing cataracts tumble down rocks. It is a wonderful creek. At the 2.5 mile mark you reach the human-powered tram. It was built over a 3 year period from 2002 to 2005. I am going to say the hand tram spans easily 120 feet over Winner Creek tumbling well over 100 feet below. I joined a lady who was extending her completed business trip for a couple days and we squeezed into the green metal cage to make the crossing. With a person pulling on the rope at a tram station passengers in the car really are superfluous as you can’t pull the rope yourself effectively as it zips through the cage. If you had to do the work by yourself you certain could but it will be tiring and take longer. While moving I found the ride pretty stable. Granted we were trying to stay still and not rock the cage. BUt the worst bit of the ride was getting in and getting out when the cage did rock a bit.

Photo  taken July 14 2019 at 11:19

Dad is working hard to pull the hand tram across the gorge Winner Creek has carved out down below. We think the tram spans easily 120 feet and is certainly far more than 100 feet above the raging water flowing below.

--July 14 2019 at 11:19. Anchorage, AK, United States

Photo  taken July 14 2019 at 11:20

I am returning from the far side of Winner Creek. I don’t honk we had gone all that far when I snapped this photo.

--July 14 2019 at 11:20. Anchorage, AK, United States

We did not go beyond the creek crossing to hike the last mile to Crow Creek Mine. After I returned across the creek (Mom and Dad did not ride the hand tram) we returned to the trailhead at Alyeska Resort. By this time it was early afternoon and the overcast was clearly not going to lift. I saw a shadow appear for perhaps 15 seconds one time. Now and then a sprinkling of rain would make its way through the tree to dampen our skin. The dampest thing we encountered was the bench we sat on for lunch and that was not all that moist. This was a thoroughly enjoyable 5 mile hike.

Now we are in our guesthouse next to an inn in Moose Pass. It is a house with charm though we are discovering some quirks. We will get by. Since we don’t expect to find a restaurant in Moose Pass we will make a trip to Seward and the Safeway to stock up on all the food we will need for the next several day. We already know there are several hikes that are pretty near here that we can do. That is good as we don’t really want to drive to Seward more than we have to.

Photo  taken July 14 2019 at 19:45

The view looking south from our guesthouse here in Moose Pass, Alaska. As I took this picture directly over my head a sliver of blue sky appeared. It was a small sliver and it either moved to a different spot or has vanished already. However, the air is clear even though it is overcast and south of here rather closer to Seward it was raining.

--July 14 2019 at 19:45. Moose Pass, AK, United States

Photo  taken July 14 2019 at 19:57

The sun is brightening a spot in the western sky. It never quite burst through; perhaps it is better say say the clouds never cleared enough.

--July 14 2019 at 19:57. Moose Pass, AK, United States

Photo  taken July 14 2019 at 19:58

Looking to the east from our guesthouse. This view is certainly better than the ones out of my or my parent’s bedrooms. We really are in a nice little area.

--July 14 2019 at 19:58. Moose Pass, AK, United States

At A Glance

  • Total Length: 5 miles (out and back trail)
  • Total Ascent and Descent: about 250 feet ascent and descent one way. Gentle up and then a bit steeper descent as you follow the gorge. Superb footing.
  • Total Time: About3 hours 20 minutes with 40 minutes in breaks. I’m guessing a lot of that was at the hand tram.
  • Weather: Overcast but clear air with occasional sprinkles and a temperature that hovered at 60F.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Alaska Day 5 - Byron Glacier and the Blue Ice Trail

The day dawned overcast. But it seemed to be a bit clearer of an overcast than yesterday. We wanted to do a couple hikes that would not go doggedly up one side of a mountain and down the other. A hike with undulations would have been fine. What we found would turn out to be, as the guides and maps suggested, virtually flat. We were fine with that. The weather at the Portage Lake Begich Boggs Visitor Center (named for two congressmen who died in a plane crash en route from Anchorage to Juneau) was somewhat less than ideal. A bit windy, temperature in the mid-upper 50s, and spritzing. Perhaps the weather would keep people away from what is reportedly a busy trail leading to the Byron Glacier.

In reality the weather turned out not to be nearly as bad as it first seemed.Yes, we put on our rain gear and some of us were particularly bundled up, but it wasn’t really precipitating and once out of the wind was not bad while you kept moving along the gravel trail. Over the next 0.9 miles we wound our way towards the face of many snowfields that pour off the mountains feeding no doubt frigid water into Byron Creek. It is a stroll suitable for anyone. We would pass a few people, some with dogs (dogs seem popular here), as we headed towards Byron Glacier. If you took your gaze off the soaring mountains you would quickly spot stands of fire weed and , I think, cow parsley along with some little tiny white flowers now and then. It is a pretty walk.

Photo  taken July 13 2019 at 10:20

Fire weed seems to be common up here. We saw many plots growing along the Byron Glacier Trail. You can see one of the several snowfields pouring down off the mountain releasing its meltwater into Byron creek.

--July 13 2019 at 10:20. Anchorage, AK, United States

At the snowfields the temperature dropped as chilly air blew off the snow. It is an area of stark beauty. It could be a place worth spending time and soaking in the splendor but for that chill wind and moisture in the air. It wasn’t a spot we felt like lingering at. On the way back we did not have any reason to really stop so made the return trip back in about 25 minutes. It was a lovely 1.8-mile round trip with practically no elevation change.

Photo  taken July 13 2019 at 10:28

The only spots of color beyond white, black and gray you are likely to find at the end of the Byron Glacier Trail are going to be found in the clothing of people and fur coats coats of the dogs that are with their people. It is a pretty area nonetheless though the chilly breeze does help ensure you likely will not linger.

--July 13 2019 at 10:28. Anchorage, AK, United States

Photo  taken July 13 2019 at 10:34

Behind Ken the snowfields and glacier extend. I suppose if you had the right gear and were part of an experienced team you could risk traveling across the snow and ice but I wouldn’t risk it. Photo by Judy

--July 13 2019 at 10:34. Anchorage, AK, United States

After a visit to a nearby cafe for a hot drink (so so coffee) we found our way to the Blue Ice Trail. Signs in the area are not the best and the directions we got from the visitor center left us a bit confused so it took us a bit longer than it should have to find the trailhead even though it is just before the entrance to the parking lot. The Blue Ice Trail is a bike trail and paved and graded accordingly. The trail, one way, is almost 6 miles long. We decided we would go just as far as we felt like and turn around. On this trail you find yourself walking through some woods. As with the Byron Glacier Trail, the forest seems to have quite a preponderance of evergreen with a smattering of deciduous trees thrown in for good measure. Along the sides of the trail now and then a small meadow pops up full of fire weed and no doubt other plants. A pond appears now and then.

Being a bike trail we did get passed by a family of four cyclists. I would not be surprised if the family were camping in the campground that is about a half mile off the trail. One cyclist had a dog running along with her. But it really was not a busy trail. I think I could feel comfortable biking the trail and it is clearly the best way to go if you want to cover the whole trail. But we enjoyed our stroll well enough.

Photo  taken July 13 2019 at 12:49

The Blue Ice Trail is a bicycle path. It travels through forests with many evergreens and somewhat fewer and shorter deciduous trees. Now and then a field full of flowers like this one crammed full with fire weed makes a wonderful bit of eye candy.

--July 13 2019 at 12:49. Anchorage, AK, United States

Postscript: We stopped at the Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center. It is an interesting place but a bit sad. I am not sure it was worth the $14 per senior ($16 adult) we paid. Yes, we were able to see some animals exceptionally close. Close enough so that could reach through the fence and easily touch them (not something I would suggest doing). But the facilities struck as sad looking. I have a hard time imagining the animals from the porcupine to the 4 wolves, moose and elk to name some are really having a good time even though I expect they are well cared for. Finally, we made a quick visit to what must be the largest REI I have ever seen.

Photo  taken July 13 2019 at 14:03

This moose is about as close as you probably think he is. Laying down, chewing his cud, just beyond a fence of widely spaced heavy wire that rises 8-10 feet from the ground. This moose is part of the collection of animals at the Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center. I am sure the people there do well by the animals present but it still feels a bit sad and also, given the admission fee, a bit mercenary.

--July 13 2019 at 14:03. Anchorage, AK, United States

At A Glance - Byron Galcier Trail

  • Total Length: Just under 2 miles round trip.
  • Total Ascent and Descent: 144 feet up going to the snowfields; 144 feet descending on the way back.
  • Total Time: we probably spent just a bit over an hour out. Call it 80 minutes.
  • Weather: Overcast and a bit breezy with some moisture in the air and a temperature of perhaps 58F cooling at the snowfields.

At A Glance - Blue Ice Trail

  • Total Length: We hiked just under 1.8 miles out on the trail; so about 3.4 total since we took a shortcut at the end on the way back.
  • Total Ascent and Descent: 40 feet up and down.
  • Weather: Pretty much did not change from the Byron Glacier Trail though it might have been a degree or 2 warmer.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Alaska Day 4 - Twin Peaks Trail at Lake Eklutna

Overcast again. However, as we drove towards Lake Eklutna we saw no signs of the shrouding mist that we had so much of yesterday. I was imagining a trail that would wind up into the mountains with frequent views of a lake below and forests mixed with glades full of wildflowers. If only that had been what we got it would have been special: we got something rather less. It looks like a lot goes on around Lake Eklutna. You can rent bicycles and kayaks. It is probably a nice lake to kayak though it lacks a grand glacier to absorb your attention. We found our way to the Twin Peaks trail and began our hike. Up. Up. Around a bend. Up. The old dirt road we were following kept climbing through a forest of birch trees. You could not see much of anything. No wildflowers blooming along the roadside. Just steep hillside on either side of the road and no views. Up. Up. Up.

Photo  taken July 12 2019 at 12:57

After climbing steadily for 1.5 miles gaining 1050 feet along an old dirt road built by the military for who knows why (it dead ends about 1 mile further) we found this lookout spot. It was a good place to stop and have lunch. You can see Lake Eklutna down below.

--July 12 2019 at 12:57. Anchorage, AK, United States

Photo  taken July 12 2019 at 13:32

Someone had a bad day. You can just see the car, a station wagon we think, peaking through the foliage down the slope from the road.

--July 12 2019 at 13:32. Anchorage, AK, United States

We enjoy hiking. We are far less happy when the hiking is a relentless up (or down) with little variation. Yesterday was similar but at least it felt more interesting even though we had no views because of the mist. Today was a slog. We were looking for a bench that we could sit on and enjoy a view. It was supposedly 1.5 miles up the trail. Perhaps we stopped just a bit too soon but we had found a place we could step off the trail to a good view and have lunch. We stopped. After lunch we decided to forgo finding the bench (the trail probably had another mile to go) and just began going: down, down, down, around bends, and down.
This may be a lovely hike but it is hard to imagine it being so. I think if we return to the area we would explore the lakeshore trail and perhaps paddle on Lake Eklutna but I doubt I would choose Twin Peak Trail again. Perhaps the “high point” of the day was our stop at Rochelle’s Ice Cream store which is just a few minutes drive from Lake Eklutna. The sundaes are a bit pricy but a tasty cookies and cream hot fudge sundae with nuts and a dollop of whipped cream eases a lot of things.

Photo  taken July 12 2019 at 14:32

--July 12 2019 at 14:32. Anchorage, AK, United States

At A Glance

  • Total Distance: About 3.2 miles out and back from the trailhead. Parking is a bit more than 0.1 miles away.
  • Total ascent and descent: about 1,050 feet up and 1,050 feet down. It is a pretty constant climb on a dirt road.
  • Weather: overcast with a high around 60F.
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes with 33 minutes in breaks.