Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ryan's Mom Comes for a Visit

Ryan and I picked up his Mom, Carol and her friend Jean in front of their huge cruise ship in the pissing rain, lending creedence to the saying 'its always shittier in whittier'!

We went up to Ry's property, and out to the Eagle River Nature Center. Then stopped at the Soltis compound for dinner. My Mom makes a amazing salmon quiche.


Went to the Matanuska Glacier, they loved it. It was a short a sweet visit, and so funny to see Ryan and his Mom together. She is a tiny little lady! We ended the day with delicious steaks at Club Paris.


I love to see people excited about the beauty of Alaska, and share with them my favorite places.


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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Snow Bird Hut

Ryan came back to town from his summer field season, and we wanted to get out, but keep it civilized. The Snow Bird hut is my ideal home away from home, and Ryan hadn't been up there we went.


We ate a good dinner, drank wine, and enjoyed the beautiful views. Although there were 3 other dudes there hanging out, it was still super fun, and almost romantic.

Ryan above the Snow Bird Glacier


The next day on our way out we hiked up glacier to the 'Because its there Wall', it looked super aesthetic. Then back to town!

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kincaid Sand Dunes

The Kincaid sand dunes are a great way to kill a sunny day being leisurely! Ryan and I hung out up there played sudoku, cribbage and sipped on some adult beverages, a really nice day.


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Sunday, September 11, 2011

An Over Night Above Anchorage

I don't think I have ever camped in the front range before, but I now realize that it is totally worthy. Its so nice to go to sleep and wake up in a beautiful place.

Caitlin and I hiked up Near Point and then dropped down and crossed the N. Fork of Campbell Creek and headed up toward Tikishla Peak.


The weather was a bit dodgy and unmotivating in the morning but we started walking uphill and kept getting drawn up higher till we were finally at the top of Tickishla.


A super fun hike up the ridge.


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The fall colors were beautiful.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 9: Chitistone, Nizina, McCarthy, Anchorage!

Raina and I decided to check out the cabin before we got back in the river. Apparently there are two public cabins tucked into the trees. Although there were 4 planes it turned out that 3 friends each take their own plane when they go fly together, and the fourth plane belonged to a couple.

Putting back in the Chitistone


The only hiccup of the whole float could have been easily avoided had I just pulled out to scope my trajectory from the Chitistone into the much larger Nizina river. Instead I bombed ahead and the instant I hit the Nizina I flipped into a huge whirl pool. I got out but my boat just floated in circles till my pack caught the outer current and was spit out and then I caught it. Pretty funny overall.

Chitistone, Meet the Nizina


The Nizina is a large high volume river, super mellow floating but lots of creepy eddy lines, and boils that pull at the boat.


It was a fast float and Raina and I were at the old Nizina bridge by early afternoon. Jen, a McCarthy local, picked us up in her truck and spared us the 9 mile walk down a road back to Mccarthy....I did it last year, was glad to avoid a repeat!

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Overall one of the most amazing trips I have ever got to do. Stellar in all aspects of scenery, travel and companionship. I feel super lucky to have been able to do it in such fine style.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Day 8: Floating Down the Chitistone River

It was a glorious sunny morning when Raina and I woke up, unfortunately the large beautiful mountains were blocking us from the rays. The Chitistone river was running low and Raina and I crossed it on foot, although I wore my drysuit, but Raina toughed it out! We debated putting in the river the whole time we walked down it. It looked awesome, super fun, low volume adventure. The remoteness though, and lack of helmets weighed heavy on our confidence and we kept walking.



We put in a little above where Glacier creek comes in to the Chitistone. The floating was awesome!! Super fun and fast.

We took out on Peavine bar in hopes of staying in a cabin, but there was a surprising amount of people there. We walked to the airstrip and counted four planes, neither of us were feeling super social so we decided to set camp instead of checking out the peeps in the cabin. It was a beautiful night to be outside.
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day 7: Amazing Day on the Goat Trail

I spotted the mamma bear and cubs first as I was enjoying my morning cup of coffee. Her and the cubs had already walked by our camp without us noticing. Raina and I decided we had enough of the nature show and quickly packed up and headed past the bears down the valley.

The colors of the mountains were amazing as we traversed up and across. The trail was exposed in places, but for the most part great footing.




The walking was amazing all the way down the valley. The walls around Chitistone Falls were steep and tall.


The colors of the tundra continued to be amazing as we made our way down to the Chitistone river.

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Outside of a short misadventure down a bear trail that ended above a waterfall and a class 5 bushwhack back uphill we made it to the Chitistone river fairly easily.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Day 6: Up and Over the Goat Trail

Raina and I left the airstrip fat and happy the next morning. It was pleasant walking out of the mud and up onto the goat trail.


As we climbed up we walked past at least 30 goats in different groups all around us.


It was beautiful up there in the pass, but also cold and windy, so Raina and I continued down the valley, staying just above a nasty lateral moraine.


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We stopped just shy of where the valley pinches off in a nice patch of trees and set up camp. Raina with her eagle eyes spotted the 2 black bears. They were small so soon we were wondering where the mama was. Soon we saw her and another cub. We called out and made sure she saw us. The next 2 hours were straight out of a National Geographic special. We debated packing up, but the mama bear seemed unthreatened and non aggressive so we just waited till she moved on, before we went to bed.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Day 5: Kite Flying, Fires and Massive Food Consumption

Raina and I were in true leisure mode after our food drop and so we decided to hang out for a day. It was windy so Raina and I went down to the airstrip, my hands were freezing, but Raina braved the cold and got the kite airborne.


Looking up valley toward the Russel Glacier


We had lot of time on our hands and it was cold out so we built a fire. A big lesson learned was that even though willows might be dead and brittle they don't burn until they look like drift wood. It took some persistence to get our little fire cranking.


The mid amongst the willows


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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Day 4: Morraine Walking to the Skolai Air Strip

Despite the narly looking morraine pile all around us Raina and I managed to find the equivalent of the yellow brick road leading us out of camp.


Outside of one or two treacherous leg swallowing glacial muck piles, we both managed to make it through with our shoes on.  Once we reached what we dubbed coffee bean lake the walking dried out for a bit and we walked on with our mouths constantly in exclamation of beauty mode.


Some people blow up their boats and float across Skolai lake, but Raina and I were walking into a stiff head wind and even if we had two boats it would have been painful paddling.

The easiest looking part of the day ended up being the worst.  We thought the mud was behind us, but there was a lot more muck to come!!  So gross, and a little unnerving, but we made it down valley to the Skolai airstrip, (not the one on topo maps) and hunkered down in the willow trees with hundreds of tundra chickens.

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Within a couple hours we heard a plane overhead and met the two Jen's and pilot from Wrangell Mtn air to pick up our food, boat, drysuits and pfds.   We were hoping the two Jen's would be able to stay the night, but with the weather looking iffy, and a huge low moving in, they had to bail.  I've never gotten a food drop before and I have to stay it was freaking awesome!!! D.9.5:EG.1100