My bosses wife owns a rental cabin in Girdwood, about two hours from here or a long half hour from Anchorage, nestled at the end of the the Turnagin Arm. Girdwood is home to Aleyeska, Alaska's premier ski resort. (for the record, Alaska's premier skiing and riding is not lift serviced) After several weeks without any time off, and a vacant weekend at the rental, my boss thought it was about time I take a day for myself. On Saturday afternoon after finishing cleaning the day's catch, I, along with one of the guides, Roger (not his real name) and his wife, Annete (ditto), the camp cook, headed off.
With plenty of snow on the upper slopes, I originally considered bringing my board and boots and getting some runs in. They would have been short however, and I already hiked Aleyeska a few weeks ago when I went to Girdwood to clean the the chalet. Instead I opted to hike Crow Pass.
The 14 trail connects two ends of the Chugach National forest, but I was content to crest the pass and take a look at Raven Glacier on the opposite side.
An early view back down the lower Crow Creek Valley
Columbines were still growing aplenty even in the trail's lower reaches.
A helicopter flew overhead on my way up, just remember that...
Below treeline variably sized patches of snow remained in areas deluged by avalanches this winter. Here a few plants emerge from the frozen ground like it's late April.
A view back down the pass as I began to hike out of the treeline
Higher up, the trail crossed large patches of snow in the gullies. There's only two ways these patterns get imprinted in them too!
Twin falls below the pass
Just below the pass is an A-frame forest service cabin. A massive snow field hat the top made me wish I'd brought a pair of skate skis. Here, the outhouse sits buried in 5 feet of snow. If La Nina keeps it up, there'll be a glacier here real soon!
Crystal Lake at the top of the pass, still partially under ice
From the top, I hiked a short ways down in to the Eagle River Valley
After dropping down a couple hundred feet I debated crossing the gully and having lunch next to the glacier or going up for a better view. Roaring water, audible even from my vantage encouraged me to try up.
I headed up the scree field to this medieval looking protrusion
Here's the same view of my route up to the cliff from the trail. Cameras just can't do these mountains justice. I even thought it'd be a quick 20 minutes, 45 minutes of steep scrambling later, I was happy to sit down and have a little lunch.
Remember that helicopter? He came back, this time I was looking down on them. That was something else, I could even see one of the occupants point at me. Weird
Full with some of my own smoked sockeye, bagels, and cream cheese, I moved back down the slope, taking my time on the loose rock. One slip could really change the course of an afternoon in these mountains.
On my way back the clouds lifted a bit.
Last week was our best ever for kings. We had two over 70lbs in the same day, along with three in the 60 lb range, and over a half dozen 40+. None of our clients got skunked all week. Unfortunately the red fishing slowed down big time. Daily runs calculated by the sonar readings down river never topped 15,000, and several were under 10,000. rumours abound that the river will be shut down, and already the salt has been closed. Hopefully, with the nets out of the water, we'll see a strong rebound.
The weather has been less than impressive with rain six of of seven days, most the time constantly, and a typical high of 58 or 59. Snow was reported in the Chugach outside Anchorage mid week.
Time is ticking up here, I need to spend less time fishing and blogging, mostly fishing though, and start trying to nail down a job for the fall.