A Fat Old Lady Takes Up Climbing
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Another drizzly day. Sun is supposed to be on the way, but I can't wait. So I drove out about 40 miles and hiked around several places in Hatcher Pass, including the footpath around Summit Lake. It rained lightly the whole time. Hiking in high country, I often hear Hoary Marmots, also known as "whistle pigs" for their long, high-pitched calls of alarm. Sometimes I'll see one scurry off in the distance. Today is the first time I was able to get close enough to take a photograph. There were also little Arctic Ground Squirrels all over the place. All the rodents looks rather damp today. Clicking on the small photos will produce a bigger one.
More photos from Hatcher Pass and nearby:
Sunshine! And it's expected to continue for two more days! Must enjoy every second! Last summer, when I visited Byron Glacier, the snowfield had shrunken alarmingly, but this year it came back, at least enough to cross the valley again. There was a lot of snow in this area during the winter, and cold temperatures too, which apparently was enough to build up the snowfield. However, the glacier behind it is still retreating. We walked across the snow to the boulder field. Jascha had a great time romping in the snow. Click the photos for full-screen versions.
More photos from the Byron Glacier Trail and the Portage
The last time I climbed up the Crow Pass Trail, scary black clouds and wind rolled over the mountains just before the Pass, and I turned back. The weather was much more cooperative this time, with a light breeze and some clouds moving across the sky. I made it to the top of the Pass, past the cabin, through the second creek crossing, and finally stood before Raven Glacier. Someday it would be fun to go down the other side. Arctic Ground Squirrels tormented my dog most of the way, chirping at him, then vanishing down a hole. I enjoyed watching a little bird, an American Dipper, foraging for tidbits in a rushing stream high in the pass. It could walk under the water, clinging to rocks, while it gathered tasty morsels. There were flowers of all colors to brighten up the trail. It was a perfect summer day, in a beautiful location. Click on 'em, and see 'em bigger.
More images from Crow Pass:
Twelve straight days of rain. One nice day was predicted, with rain returning the next. You can't miss an opportunity like that, so after work I ran home and asked Jascha if he wanted to climb Flattop. He said yes. He always does. Every trail in the area was full of happy people Monday night, and Flattop was no exception. We were rewarded with views of Mt. McKinley 100 miles to the north. A surprising number and variety of flowers were still out, and now berries are everywhere, too. The bearberry leaves are turning red, suggesting just a hint of autumn. Rain returned the next day, as predicted, but that couldn't diminish the memory of a beautiful evening on Flattop Mountain.
More Pix from Flattop:
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