Thursday, May 25, 2017

Powerline Trail

Justin and I had been discussing hiking the power line trail for a couple of weeks, but couldn't seem to make the schedule work. Friday about 3:30 we decided to go even though Justin hadn't brought any of his gear with him and had to be back at work by 7 am on Saturday. I've got extra gear and Justin isn't picky, so we were headed out 20 minutes later and at the trailhead by 5:00. I think we may have set a speed record for buying shoes at REI during their anniversary sale.

Well that explains the name. This would be a hard trail to lose.

Looking up the main valley from the first clear ridge. Maybe we'll do the 20 mile route that goes that way next year.

The pass looked deceptively close when I took this. Then we post holed through all the snow patches between here and there.
Looking down to the Cook Inlet from the top of the pass.



The snow blowing through the pass created a giant cornice across it which might explain why we didn't see anyone else up there. I might have given up and turned back at the top, but Justin found a path down the 60+ foot rock face just to the left of the power lines.

Back into trees again

Just after 10 pm. It must be summer again.

I biked the 27 miles back to the truck on Saturday keeping with the tradition established in 2014.
I didn't believe Google maps when it told me the last 14 miles would take an hour and a half. Maybe Google knows when the wind is howling down the Turnagain Arm?

May is a good time to be in the Chugach. Maybe we should do this every year.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Denali & Aurora


I'm not sure I should advertise this, but spring is clearly one of the best times to visit Denali. Corrie and I spent a mosquito free weekend in a nearly empty park under clear Aurora filled skies. Spring camping couldn't get much better, but I might need to find Corrie a zero degree sleeping bag of her own.

This post is mostly photos Corrie took.

Denali from the South viewpoint on the Parks Highway

The NPS was advertising "find your park" for national parks week. It only took a little shoveling to find the tent site. 

It doesn't really get dark until after midnight now (The darkest point is about 2 am thanks to daylight savings time and Alaska's giant time zone). It was well worth staying up for the Aurora this weekend. We started seeing some while the sky was still a bit light and they were so bright we could see by their light once it finally got dark. 


The first three photos are from the visitor center parking lot.  


During a low phase we drove about 15 miles into the park to watch them from above the trees. 





On Saturday we joined a group bike ride into the park from the end of the car accessible road. The trip was cut short by a bear who wasn't up to sharing the road with cyclists. 

a traffic jam in Denali... I think most of the people in the park were on this bike ride waiting for the bear.
Not a bad place to wait out a bear.
It really is spring here...
Our view for lunch after the ride.
Saturday night's Aurora from about 12 miles into the park.

Purple Aurora streaking through the Big Dipper!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Five Years

I realized this week that it has been half a decade since I started the blog and today marks the fifth anniversary of my first "retirement". This has been a good run with lots of adventure and changes. Although blogging has seen a dry spell lately adventures continue. For example, I celebrated this afternoon by running up a mountain valley with a friend of more than 20 years. The weather was perfect, the scenery fantastic, and I neglected to take a single photo...

This was taken just above today's run on a hike two weeks ago. It was about the same with slightly less snow. 

This was on another hike a couple miles North of today's run.

My brother's puppy is a good hiking companion. It's been great to live near the mountains again.

Year six looks likely to be at least as full of adventure as the last five. Alternate Solutions became my sole employment last summer which has allowed me to match Corrie's schedule. The work has been sufficient and last week Alternate Solutions launched an independent design project when I couldn't find a minimalist camper that met my expectations. The design is coming along nicely and I expect to start welding the prototype together within a week or two. Environmental testing will be conducted over the course of 6 weeks and 10,000 miles this summer as Corrie and I visit friends and National Parks around the western US and Canada. Hopefully I'll have more details on both the project and the trip to share soon. First, we are headed to Denali for sunny spring skies and snow camping.