Thursday, July 28, 2011

Gold Mint to Snowbird Glacier

It was a beautiful hot sunny day as Kellie and I hiked down the Gold Mint trail.  We were in leisure mode and took advantage of scenic vistas to absorb the sun and of course chat.

Kellie Heading Down the Gold Mint Trail


Getting Up Higher


We sat up at Backdoor Gap for at least an hour just soaking up the steep walls, blue lakes and anemic glaciers.  When it was time we headed over and down the Penny Royal glacier to the valley below.  I have done a few variations in this area, but this was by far the easiest travel I have ever encountered, I think this is the way the Bomber Traverse is meant to be done.



Kellie and I soaked up the comforts of the cozy Snow Bird Hut, drank wine, watched a beautiful sunset and then were ready for bed.

The weather had turned to pea soup by morning and we packed up our stuff and headed out.

The sun came in and out on our way down, it looked like we were going to descend into The Nar, but instead the clouds kept parting and the sun stayed on us.

An awesome trip with fantastic company.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Snow Bird to Bomber to Reed Lakes

I woke up to a blue bird day and decided to check out the valley that the Bomber and Pennyroyal glaciers terminate in. I dropped straight off the back off the moraine down to the alpine lake, it was steep and probably not the easiest way down.  Beautiful Alpine Lake
I picked my way down through the cliffs and moraine trending toward the right, I passed a small unnamed valley and then headed up the wider second valley.  The walking was good through tundra and scrub brush.  I saw more bear scat than all my trips up to Hatcher Pass combined. Heading Down to the second valley on the right
I debated going out the Gold Mint trail or heading up and over Bomber pass to the Reed lakes trail all the way up the valley, but as the clouds started to build my decision was made.  I've never walked up the toe of the Bomber glacier, coming up the moraine I could picture how massive it once was, but now its little more than a ramp of ice, I didn't see any crevasses. On the Bomber
The first time I was on the Bomber glacier was 1997, and I've walked past the plane many times and decided to skip it this trip and headed up to the pass.  Looking down on Upper Reed Lake
Dropping off Bomber pass down to the Upper Reed lakes is probably one of the more unpleasant steep boulder fields I've been on, but the Reed Lakes trail is pretty awesome. D.16.3:EG:5850

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Snow Bird Hut

Raina was psyched to get out for the day with me to go check out the new Snow Bird hut.  I packed to stay the night since I had a couple days off.

It was a beautiful hike up the valley toward the glacier, there is a pretty nice "trail" that has cairns in quite a few places.

Raina coming down the pass onto the Snow Bird glacier

Looking down Bartolf creek toward the Kashwitna River

I have decided the Snow Bird hut is my new favorite place to be.  I could sit up there for hours and just look at the mountains.  Its also going to be a sweet base for early season skiing!!!

The new Snow Bird Hut


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Above the Exit Glacier

It was my day off and I wanted to get out of the rain if possible, so I went and looked at web cams, I figured I was willing to drive 2 hours in any direction for the possibility of sun shine. Weirdly enough Seward was showing blue skies, so I decided to head to Exit glacier and hike the Harding Ice field trail.

It wasn't exactly blue bird by the time I got down there, but it wasn't raining either. I was shocked by the hundreds of cars and people in the parking lot. The further up the trail the less people I saw, but I was still surprised by the number of people out there.

This is one of the nicest trails I have ever been on in Alaska. There are literally rock steps in places, amazing! .
A mamma goat and baby were completely unperturbed by my presence.


I stayed the night, because I have an attraction to waking up in beautiful places, and nothing better to do. Sometime during the night the winds picked up and by morning I woke up with the wall of the tent on my head. Not exactly the relaxing 2 cup of coffee morning I had anticipated. Seeing no reason to stay in bed with a tent on my head, I headed over to the mountain shelter to make my coffee and decide the course of the day.


Not Bad Views

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In the end I decided the cold wind wasn't real conducive to my relaxing morning, and after coffee I headed back down the hill.  A super nice trip out of the house in a place that I haven't been in over 10 years.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Berry Pass to the 20 Mile River

A pretty impressive showing of girl power met at Carr's Huffman at 8am on a Monday morning.   By 11, all six of us we were hiking on the Winner Creek trail up to Berry Pass.

It was an overcast, muggy day, but it seemed to magnify the greens in the rain forest. 


Hiking without trails is the most sure fire way to appreciate an amazing trail the next time you are on one.  The trail has been extended on the 20 mile side of Berry pass, rumor has it, eventually it will extend all the way out to the highway. 

 This is the second time I've been with a virgin packrafter on this trip and I'm not convinced that this is the best river to start on.  The first bit is fast and tends to suck newbies into the alders along the side, its painful and scary to watch.  Poor Margo was wet, cold and scared within the first 5 minutes.  Luckily the latter half  is  mellow, if not a little unrelentingly flat and slow . What makes this trip worthwhile are the beautiful views and ability to chat the whole way.

Merrick towed me for a little while, it was pretty entertaining.


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I absolutely had a great day, but an all together different experience than I usually seek. Its funny how a small group outing can turn into a larger one, and my reaction to that. I'll just be lame and say it, but I don't like doing outdoor trips with more than 3-4 people. My patience to wait for all the separate pieces just isn't there.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Resurection Creek

I called Heather up one random afternoon and an hour later I was on my way to meet her to go float Resurrection creek out of Hope. We hiked up the Resurrection trail about 5 miles where the trail follows the river and then heads away from it again. It looked a lot splashier than I had envisioned.


I can't believe I have never done this float before, nor have I heard people talking about it. It was awesome! Clear water, small drops, tight maneuvering, beautiful eddies, and face shots. Heather and I grinned the whole way down.


The fun continued past the foot bridge over the creek, but towards the end we started to get shut down by river wide strainers. After a couple portages and what looked like more to come we took out by someones cabin and walked about 5 minutes to Hope where we had left a car. It was an awesome float, way more interesting and exciting than I had ever dreamed.

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