Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Visitors and Visiting Favorite Places

Ashar and Amy came through town last week on their way to a pack rafting adventure down the Aniakchak, but had a few lay over days in Anchorage. With the clear, warm weather making itself comfortable, we took advantage of this and went for a morning hike up Wolverine.
Clear skies let us see Denali and the AK Range, a rare treat for this time of year.

Ashar crosses a snow field near the sky line ridge.

Amy on the summit.

Looking up the North Fork and Williwaw valley L-R.

Getting green.
It was awesome to have A&A in town, even if only for a few days, to get to show them around a little bit and show them at least some of the nearby fun things to do.

Sunday I headed south and met up with Adam at the southern Resurrection Trail Head for one of my favorite fun things to do this time of year. Russian Lakes Trail.
We planned to ride at least to the Resurection River Trail Junction, about 17 miles in from Cooper Landing, 15 from the trail's start, farther if possible.
We found the trail to the Res River Jct to be in awesome condition, firm, fast, and dry. Above that, and we began to encounter patches of thaw mud and snow. The thaw mud was hard to read, in some places, apparent wheel-eating pits were actually firm in some places, and deep muck in others. Eventually, about 2 miles from the upper trail head we called it, and took lunch on a bridge with a fast moving trib under it that kept the hungry bugs at bay.

Skilak Glacier in the distance.

Adam after one of the steep climbs.

There was still shore ice on the river we took a break over.

The upper section of the Russian Lakes Trail is one of my favorite places on the Kenai.

Note the ice on the pond.

Cooper Mountain: bad ass from all angles.
Doing the whole Russian out and back is a comparatively tough ride by Kenai standards, at about 46 miles round trip from the Resurrection Trail lot, it sports 3,000+ cumulative feet of climbing, and though the trip back "down" is faster than the trip up, there's plenty of pedaling, especially after 23 miles of getting bumped around. It's easily the hardest way to approach this trail, of the many options available, and worthy of a good early season ass kicking in prep for the many more to come.

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