Sunday, August 30, 2009

Looks like Christmas

It looks like Christmas in the high mountain valleys these days. No, the white stuff hasn't started coming down, but the decorations are up. Fall red and glowing summer green are colliding along the slopes of the Kenai's, shouldn't be long before they get a touch of white.
I got a call last week from Chris, a fellow rider, New Englander and a Middlebury alum.
I rode with Chris a day or two before I hit the road for Ak on what was deemed the, Dante's Going to Alaska ride, with some of my riding buds from Midd.
Chris was working at Breadloaf Construction at the time, now he's a student again in Oregon. He's been spending his summer working an internship in Anchorage, working for the state.
Anyhow, Chris had been hoping to ride on the peninsula before he heads south.
You can't spend the summer here and say you did any mountainbiking without having laid tracks on the peninsula, and this time of year, Resurrection Pass is probably the best of all the options.
Originally we had planned to arrange the ride so we could go end to end, Cooper Landing to Hope, but that changed.
We decided to instead do a ride I've done and loved this year, Devil's Creek to Cooper Landing.
Since we had two cars, and the rain was falling pretty steadily when we met, we cut out the road ride.
Here's a few selected photos, merry x-mas.

Chris was wearing a Middlebury jersey and I had one of my Skidmore jerseys on. It was sort of like a remote Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (LINK) event. Ya not so much. It was nice however, to ride and spend time with someone who not only shares a lot of common interests, but has also had many similar experiences by default of having spent a lot of time in the same places, chiefly, Vermont and the northeast.

Devil's Pass

Hope Overlook.Skipping the road ride meant we had more juice in our legs and could afford the eight mile round trip out and back through Res pass north from the junction with Devil's to the overlook.

Resurrection Pass

Looking south headed to Cooper, Juneau Lake in the distance.

Swan Lake.

Juneau Lake.

Tight Lines

Cute, Cuddly and Dead
Life can be a real mean bitch in these parts, and sometimes no one is crueler than nature but man himself. Below are some pictures of three motherless brownies that wandered into our yard last week. A few hours after they passed through they were killed by Fish and Game. Read more about the abbreviated life history of these three bears when Monday's edition of the Clarion is posted online, usually between 10-10:30 a.m. AKST. They were reportedly roaming the neighborhood through the week, though we didn't see them in camp until shortly before they were shot.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rachel's visit

As I alluded to in my last post, my good friend and former roomate Rachel came to visit me here this month. This is a gigantic post, I don't appologize, its pretty much straight photos, both mine and some of Rach's, of raw Alaska.
Here's the rundown so it all makes sense. Rach landed on the 11th, and after diner in Los Anchorage we watched the sun set on Turnagain Arm as we drove to Girdwood where we spent the night. The next day we did a hike up to Crow Pass. Then it was on to camp in Sterling that afternoon.
In the morning we met up with Mike from the paper and drove to the Summit Creek Trailhead. Three days later we emerged from the wilderness and headed back to camp.
We took the next two days to catch some silvers and rest.
I had to take Rach to see Lost Lake, since that's a place that played an integeral role in capturing me and ultimatley luring me back. We went in from the "backside" on the Primrose trail which starts at the south end of Kenai Lake. Ate some of the best wild blueberries I've ever had along the way.
Upon request, the next day we went and looked for birds. Rach wanted to see hunting. What she got was me flushing one bird which I chased hoplessly into some thick under brush, plus a descent hike up the Skyline Trail.
On the last full day we went to Seward and hiked up the Harding Icefield Trail in the Kenai Fiords National Park. I visited the toe of the glacier with my mom last summer, but I wanted to get up high and see the whole thing. It couldn't have been better, winter clear skies and a casual start meant we had spectacular views with almost no crowds.

See if you can tell if Rach enjoyed her trip, it's hard to tell...

On the Harding Icefield Trail

Turnagain Arm offered a warm welcome. Photo courtesy of R.S.

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Photo courtesy of R.S.

I'm glad someone finally took this picture. I love living in a place where having a sunroof is important for taking in the scenery. Photo courtesy of R.S.

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Crow Pass
Photo courtesy of R.S.
Photo courtesy of R.S.

The token standing on snow in the middle of summer in Alaska shot.

Raven Glacier

Fishcamp, aka "Manland"- Rach
Photo courtesy of R.S.
Photo courtesy of R.S.
Photo courtesy of R.S.
The token bald eagle shot. Photo courtesy of R.S.
Summit Creek 3 Day

Mike and his two pups Natty and Chloe joined us for a three day in Summit Creek. We hiked in the first day to the tarn bowl Mike and I hiked to earlier this year, set up camp and did some exploring. After a blustery night we day hiked, following the Summit Creek Trail to Resurection Pass, went south, then east through Devil's Pass, before bushwhacking several miles up a valley and over a high steep pass back to the Summit Creek Trail. The next day we headed back out.
Photo courtesy of R.S.

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Summit Lake. Photo courtesy of R.S.


Camp Tarn


Bowl Tarn

Camp Tarn from Upper Tarn

Upper Tarn

Day 2
Looking over the first and smallest pass of the day

Ressurection Pass seen from the unamed pass Summit Creek Trail goes over to reach the Res Trail.

Tarns near the top of Devil's Pass

No trail, no bridge

To do list for another adventure list

Not so lucky Marmot

Looking back down into the valley before crossing back into Summit Creek trail

Getting homely, but look at the drop off.

Ya pretty steep. A caribou hunter camping on the tarn below got the thrill of his day watching us scramble down.

Getting more homely

A welcome sight, the tents were still standing
Day 3: out
Photo courtesy of R.S.
Photo courtesy of R.S.

Silver Fishing on the Kenai

Heavy rains and a blow-out of the Skilak Glacial Dam sent river levels way up. Photo courtesy of R.S.

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Rachel's first fish, ever, a Kenai Silver. She also hooked into a king, though it popped off (they're out of season) and brought a beautiful 4-5lbs Dolly Varden to the boat, but we kicked it back as quick as we could for it's sake.

Ryan backtrolling a rarely accesible channel. Photo courtesy of R.S.

Primrose Trail to Lost Lake

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Chasing Bird on Skyline

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Photo courtesy of R.S.

A helicopter swooped overhead to get a closer look at a black bear grazing on berries below us. We couldn't see the bear. Photo courtesy of R.S.

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Harding Icefieled Trail

Photo courtesy of R.S.

Head of Resurection Bay

Rach drove home so I had a rare opportunity to take some road photos