Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Life update

A dearth of posts over the past few weeks can only mean one thing. It's officially summer.
The fish are in the river and for the last month I've either been up to my elbows in slime or up to my eyeballs having fun.
The preceding post, a work in progress at the moment, is from Narva's week+ trip up here at the beginning of the June. I promise to add captions and some more photos when time allows.

For now, the gist of the season is: Yes, I'm back working at fish camp, I no longer work at the newspaper. I hope to return in late August.
The king fishing season on the Kenai started off slow, but kicked into high gear last week. It's back to normal now, we're really working for them for sure, but business is better than usual for this time of year so that's nice.
While I'm lucky if I can squeeze off more than one ride a week, two weekends ago I did the Tsalteshi Duathalon, a 5k run and a 10k bike, taking third. One could imagine the run left me trailing, but I swept up 5 positions on the bike leg. My colleagues from the paper wrote a nice story.

I've also made a few visits to Los Anchorage over the past few weeks to visit Rach, who is living there and working in the Mat-Su valley on a farm for the duration of the summer.

I will try to do my once a week post, but like last summer, they are not guaranteed and could occur pretty much anytime between Sunday night to Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Narva's visit

The irrefutably good looking Jeff Narva made his debut trip to the Last Frontier in early June equipped with skis, a bike and climbing gear: Chaos ensued.

We started the trip in the urban warmth of Los Anchorage and the surrounding Mat-Su Valley to the north. After reassembling Narva's bike at Tony's shop, we tore up the Mooseberry Mesa singletrack while donating a quart of blood each to the Palmer area mosquitoes.
Shredding.


A view toward the socked in Chugach.
Photo: JN. After stretching the legs and the tires, we loaded back up and headed south to the peninsula under sunny skies.
Photo: JN. A stop in Girdwood was necessary to re vitalize under the snow slopes of Alyeska.
As a small debt owed to helping Narv pack up his life last year, I enlisted his help at camp to clean things up and get ready for the fishing season.
With a day of work done and chores out of the way, we loaded the suby with boards, bikes and camping gear, and headed back into the hear of the Kenai Mountains.

Photo: JN. On Tele-Pete's advice, we decided to pursue a triathlon, and ride our bike, packing skis and boots on our packs, up the mining roads to Manitoba Mountain in Summit Pass for some June corn skiing.Photo: JN Have you seen any snow?

Spirit Walker mountain, you are a beautiful beast!

A winter wonderland in June.


Manitoba has some gnarly north facing couloirs, but what a trek in for a single planker. We skied off the 3,800' summit of the mellow main face.


From two wheels to two feet to two planks. What a way to travel.


Looking up Juneau Creek Valley behind Manitoba.

Photo: JN

Spirit Walker.


Upper and Lower Summit Lakes in a green Summit pass some 2.600' feet below.

The descent was awesome from up high, but as we got closer the the snowline the snow became too wet and the planks slowed to a crawl on the low angle. After a short hike back to the bikes, we picked up speed again and descended down to a raging Canyon Creek before climbing back to the cars on the highway.

Photo: JN. the south end of Raven's Ridge and Tenderfoot Ridge across Summit lake.
Photo JN. Tenderfoot Ridge and Tri-Tip from across Summit Lake.
Photo JN. Tri Tip.
We met up with Tony and a crew of Valley riders at an undisclosed location to camp out under a verY prominent mountain though it would be WRONG to call it by a name for it is just a shoulder on which I hope to eventually carve some TERNs.Photo JN.

The next morning we headed to the Russian River area to ride the Russian Lakes Trail.




Tony.

Enjoying a little snack at the bug cliff.

Waves crashing at upper Russian Lake.


Photo: JN. Snacking at Upper Russian Lake Cabin.

Tony climbing out of the bench.


Kristin.



Narva under Cooper Mountain.


Tony.


A distant Cooper Lake with the tail ridge of Cecil Rhodes.


Rainbow Lake of Snug Harbor Road.
We decided, having climbed the entire trail, to make a loop and descend the gravel road, paralleling Kenai Lake, back to the highway for a 40 some odd mile loop. A hammer fest broke out between Kristin and I. My legs were burning by the time we hit the end of the rolling road.
Photo JN. Summit Lake reflections.
We camped out near a burgeoning Six Mile Creek that night. The next morning we headed to the base of Tin Can where we walked less than 100 yards from the highway to strap into our boards. The pass held at least 3 feet on the first week of June at 1,000' of elevation.
Photo JN.
Photo JN.
Photo JN. With clouds wrapping around the summit, I decided we should make our descent at the top of the "tree run" for the sake of visibility. The snow ended up being a bit too soggy. We climbed back up to the up track and made another run back down to the cars, at which point the skies cleared. Oh well.

Photo JN. Blinding! A skiers tan.

Ready for real beds and showers, we headed back to Sterling.
The next day we set out for Anchorage, but stopped on the way to ride Crescent Lake Trail.



A major slide a bout three miles in made for a short hike-a-bike.




Photo JN.



Photo: JN.










Photo: JN. Two very schweet bikes.
We were bound for the Anchorage airport, not becasue Narva's trip was complete, but to instead make a surprise pick up of Rach.
Photo: JN. We killed a little time at Glen Alps above Los Anchorage.
No trip to the Kenai would be complete without a ride up to Resurrection Pass.
Juneau Falls.
Photo: JN. The stairs to Juneau Lake Cabin.

Photo: JN. A blustery view.

Looking back down at Juneau Lake.
Photo: JN. Hey! Who left this wall of snow across the trail?

The story behind this photo is a bit complicated.
In true Narva style, the mohawked fiend found a way to even get some rock climbing in, stradling off the dirty walls of Turnagain arm only hours before he boarded his plane for the Lower.

The shirt says it all.