Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Juneau Falls

Pretty purple Lupine in bloom.

A glimpse of a lake below.

An eagle's nest high above.

Marty and I set out on this hike with the misinformation that Juneau Falls was a 5.5 mile round trip hike. Turns out it's actually 4.5 miles one way but, it was an easy walk with little elevation gain and some nice views. Nothing spectacular but definitely enjoyable. Juneau Falls is on the 38 mile Resurrection Pass Trail which travels between Cooper Landing and Hope. Like many hikes here, it was hard to tell when we'd hit the destination. "Juneau Falls" was not the waterfall I was expecting and we actually kept going for a while to make sure. Saw a great bear paw print past the falls but forgot to take a picture. The dogs loved the trail and we felt awesome when we learned we'd actually done 9 miles instead of 5. I would have liked to have taken backpacking gear and done the whole thing but the Moose Pass Solstice Festival awaited and time is of the essence this summer.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy 4th!

Click on the map to plot our travels and see how much driving you do in AK to get anywhere fun. Don't forget to notice the picture of the entire state in the lower right and note how big the Peninsula is comparatively.

We're headed to Girdwood today for their annual North Forest Fair and hopefully to hike the Winner Creek trail. I read an article that mentions a hand cart which traverses a gorge. Have to do it! Also picking up the brother from the airport in Anchorage tonight (!!) so I think I'll try to hold out until we pick him up and are headed back South. That way we can add extra weight to the cart and really test it.
The big 4th of July celebration and Mount Marathon Race are in Seward the next day so we're prepared to camp out somewhere near Moose Pass and head out in the morning. If all goes well, we'll get The Harding Ice Field Trail and some Independence Day celebrating in before heading back home on Monday or Tuesday. Wonder if brother is going to like the idea of sleeping on the ground for his first 2 nights of vacation?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Skyline Trail

My friend, Jade, came to visit at the beginning of June. We did quite a few hikes together and Skyline was the biggest beast of them all. It's a bit confusing because the trail head signage as well as trail guides say it's a 1 mile hike. However, the trail continues up past that mile to then traverse the ridgeline of the Mystery Mountains and eventually meets up with the Fuller Lakes Trail. Apparently, the "top" of Skyline trail is a view point a mile up but if you keep going, you come to a meadow type area with amazing views, wildflowers, and a cache box with a journal that hikers sign in to and also leave goodies in. We went approximately two miles (Jade was wearing a pedometer) but never reached that alpine saddle. A fellow hiker had told us of the cache box on the way up and I had wanted to get to it, but in the end, not knowing about the view, I decided two miles of nearly straight up hiking was good enough. Now I feel like I might have to do this bitch again, so I can get to the real top and not feel cheated.
The trail is at mile 61 of the Sterling Highway. It begins at an elevation of 450 ft and has a gain of 1800 feet in 1 mile. It is strenuous and one section in particular of wide, steep, loose dirt takes lots of careful navigating. Sliding down that hill would probably mean a trip to the ER. In all, the trail is more effort than I usually like to expend but the views, even at the fake top, and the feeling of accomplishment are worth all the cursing and complaining it takes to get there.

Not even close to the top and we started at approximately the same elevation as the lake.

A sample of the terrain, we had just come over that lip of rock you can see. Jade actually bloodied a finger at one point.

View along the way.

Jade waiting patiently for me to drag my wheezing carcass up another few feet. The man behind helps illustrate the angle. And that was an easy part
Yay! We're doing it!

Another viewpoint.

Another example of the terrain.