Monday, November 17, 2008

Staying low

I stayed in the lowlands this weekend. I'll get into why on Thursday. I originally planned to hike Mystery Creek trail, a 4wd road open occasional that cuts across the foot of the Kenai mountains from the Sterling Highway to Chicaloon bay on the other side of Anchorage. I ended up going in the same direction starting at a large gravel pit just east of the trail head thinking I would wander towards the trail or bushwhack my way up into the the low wooded ridges leading into the Mystery hills. I ended up doing the later when I happened across a well used unmarked trail that led me to the edge of treeline before I finally turned about for daylight.

About a quarter mile from the highway I found these, very fresh (a few minutes to a few hours) very large griz tracks. I was less than excited about having this big fella wandering around.

Just past the pits I found this wide break that ran randomly out to the face of a cliff. It was easily wide enough for two or three vehicles to have passed through, but you can see even from this picture that it was littered with stumps, and has never been traversed without at least a good foot of snow to cover all the stumps. I'm not sure why this is here.

Standing below the base of the cliff is a veiw back out towards the break and the wide expanse of the Kenai flats.

A view just below treeline in a fire burn looking up towards the Mystery Hills

Looking through the trees of the low ridge towards Skilak Lake

My camera does a fine job washing out mountains immediately in front of it, let alone distant massifs. Strangely this is a great shot of Mt. Spur on the other side of Cook Inlet. Mt Spur, lies easterly of Mt Redoubt and Iliamna, and is volcanic like its sisters. It is visible from Kenai though I rarely see it this well.

With low light I wear orange shaded sunglasses. As a result, sunsets are often more intense in my view, you can see why.

Staying in the lowlands with their stunted coniferous forests and rolling ridges often reminded me of hiking in the high peaks of the Adirondacks, sans the views of the larger treeless summits above.

Low ridges

Jean Lake looking into the Kenai mountains

A different aspect of hideout hill, the highway and transmission lines are in the distance beyond.

Back at the car

1 comment:

Andrew J. Bernstein said...

Great photos... Alaska scenery is really pretty amazing.