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


On to June

Anchorage has greened up in the past week, but snow remains in the mountains. The Flattop Mountain Trail was full of hikers enjoying the sun and snow. Much of the trail was clear, with only a few sections missing under the snow pack. The scramble to the summit was a bit difficult going up, and harrowing going down, but it's not very long. You take it slow, moving one hand or one foot at a time, and all is well. Many hikers opted not to take the summit (probably wisely), but it was gorgeous up there, worth a few scary moments. The snowfree areas are mostly brown and lifeless, but a closer look reveals signs of spring in small tundra plants. Several species were budding, and one small clump of anemones were in full bloom. There were several Milberts Tortoisehell Butterflies flying, too. We couldn't ask for a more beautiful Mothers' Day.

mothers day on flattop

Click on any of the six small photos to see large screen versions.
Additional Photos of plants I can't identify, seen on Flattop, May 8th:

Fuzzy pink "Arctic Willow" buds, about one inch long, found near the trailhead--butterflies were nectaring on them
Extremely small (2-3mm), reddish pink buds, found at the summit, maybe a lowbush cranberry or lingonberry
The Windflowers Anemone (collage, above) was near the trailhead was about 3" tall, flowers under 1", tightly bunched.

Sunset scene a few days earlier, of Flattop and surrounding mountains, viewed from Potter Marsh

More information on the Milbert's Tortoiseshell Butterfly

The McHugh Creek Park, seven miles from Anchorage, has several trails, so we checked out a few of the paths today. I was looking for flowers and butterflies. Jascha was hoping for squirrels. It's still a bit early for most wildflowers, but there was an open, rocky outcrop with a southern exposure that provided both flowers and butterflies. Most of the flower photos in the collage were taken on these steep rocks. The chiming bells (center) and baneberry (lower right) were along a wooded path, next to the creek. It's great to see Spring in full swing. Each of the small pictures has a large version; just click to see them. The prickly saxifrage (lowest row, center) has a closer view of the tiny individual flowers; click here to see it. The butterfly (top center) is a Canadian Tiger Swallowtail. You can learn more about that species at this link.

McHugh Creek collage


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.

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