Back to Jan-Feb 2005

A Fat Old lady Takes Up Climbing
The Year Six Journal
Spring 2005


On to May

The '04-05 winter offered just a bit of real "Alaskan" winter conditions--some snow and periods of sub-zero temperatures-- but nothing terribly severe. March brought us lots of gray skies warmer than average temps. In general, pleasant hiking conditions have been elusive. Jascha and I do get out on the trails as often as possible though, and sometimes even city treks can provide unexpected joys. Visit this link for some color in Russian Jack Park.

Tropical Garden at Russian Jack Park, Anchorage

Unseasonably warm weather has eroded the snow in the city. What remains is grimy slush and ice. Up in the mountains, there is still pristine snow, even on sunny days such as this. Wind and sun has cleared some areas, but plenty of deep snow remains. Some of the trail markers were under several feet of snow. (Click to see one). A temporary warning has been placed above a missing sign. The sun's glare off a white expanse can make anyone squint, so Jascha tried out some new goggles today. He didn't mind them at all, and got lots of compliments from fellow hikers. A hearty few managed to make it to the summit, but we were not among them. I had forgotten my hydration pack and was feeling fatigued at the second saddle. We went just a little further up to photograph the rising moon, then hiked back down, around Blueberry Hill, and to the trailhead.

Click here or on the dog to see a bigger version. Here's another view of the dog in goggles.
Click on the moon photo, or here , to see larger version.
Click here to see a large photo of Flattop, from the trailhead, taken 3 days earlier.

flattop 3/19/05

Following some snowstorms, a windstorm, and plenty of gray days, some real spring weather has returned. I drove down to Portage to see what the Byron Glacier Trail was like. It was completely covered with mushy snow, but we were able to hike it nearly to the snowfield. The shallow glacial stream had eroded tunnels under the snow, making it impossible to know where the seemingly thick snow layer was likely to fail. After several surprises, I finally punched all the way through and found myself in the stream, with water over my boot. At that point, I turned back. It was a wonderful spring outing. From the parking lot, I watched a flock of Canada Geese flying in V-formation over the mountain icefields, heading back to their northern nesting grounds. Our trees are still bare, but with temperatures rising into the 60's, that will soon change.

Click on any of the small pictures in the collage to see a large version.
Click here to see another view of the Dall sheep ewe, with two lambs.
(The Dall sheep family was not at Byron Glacier, but along the Seward Highway, closer to Anchorage)

byron glacier trail

Here are some photos of a pair of Trumperter Swans that I saw in the distance, at Potter Marsh in Anchorage, just a few days ago.
One alone
The pair together
Those two were the only Trumperters in the Marsh. They are uncommon migrants in our area, but a large
flock passed through last autumn. When I checked the Marsh on my way to the glaciers, I saw no swans at all.

All photographs are the property of the photographer, Mary Hopson.
If you wish to use them in screensavers or webpages, please leave copyright information intact.

 Back to Jan-Feb 2005

 On to May 2005

Back to Last Year's Adventures
Back to where it all began in 2000
Enjoy the Flowers Along Alaska's Hiking Trails

Butterflies Along Alaska's Hiking Trails
Contact the Fat Old Lady