A Fat Old Lady Takes Up Climbing
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Most of June was cloudy, windy and wet, but July is off to a good start. It rained most of the way yesterday (June 30) while I was driving to Valdez to visit my daughter, but today the sun showed up bright and early. On this beautiful day, we're back in Wrangell-St.Elias for a nice little hike on the Liberty Falls Trail. It's an easy trail, about 2.5 miles, with no significant elevation gain. Oddly enough, there are no views of the falls from the trail, but you can hear it for the first half of the trail. (There's a view of the Liberty Falls at a nearby pull-off.) Starting in a lovely forest, the trail soon moves on to a rocky ridge overlooking a deep valley. The ridge abruptly ends at a cliff with a wonderful view of a river and lake stretching out below. Click on the collage photos to see full-sized versions.
More photo from recent days:
Unsettled weather has returned, and kept me on short hikes, mostly in town. On this drizzly day, I drove out to Hatcher Pass to see if conditions were better there. On the steep road up to the park, I drove into a very thick "pea soup", so I went back down to a trailhead just below the fog. It's called Gold Mint Trail, and since I had never hiked it, I didn't know anything about it. My dog and I set out without packs, just exploring, not intending to go very far. There was a light rain, and as you can see in the first photograph, a low cloud cover. But the trail was easy and pleasant. Apparently there is a steep section later on, but on the 2 or 3 miles that we hiked in, there was nothing strenuous. I got a bit damp, Jascha got very muddy, and a good time was had by all. All the photos have links to larger versions, however, I don't have the identification for the first yellow flower. Email me if you know what it is.
A White-crowned Sparrow, in an Anchorage park, posed
nicely for me on July 9.
Gray skies and mountain storms have defined most of this summer. There was one nice day in mid-July, and I planned to hike up the Falls Creek Trail that day. Unfortunately, the trail isn't well marked, so a couple hours later, after a hefty elevation gain, I had to admit that I was totally lost. I'll try again someday.
Photos from mid-July
The weather deteriorated as the month progressed. By the 24th, I was fed up. Hearing of sunshine in Fairbanks, I headed north, thinking it might be nice by the time I got to the Denali State Park, where I had a couple hikes planned. It was pouring rain there. So I drove further north to Denali National Park, where the rain had stopped, but the heavy overcast continued. Although I wasn't able to do a nice long hike anywhere, I got some nice photos along the way.
Photos from the trip north
Finally! The sun! Clearly visible! I waited until evening to hike up Flattop, knowing that the sun would set around 10:50PM. I was on my way back down when I took the sunset photo (lower left), but it was still plenty light enough to find the way back to the trailhead. All the recent rain had created a marvelous garden of wildflowers all along the way. I found the Golden-crowned Sparrow (middle row, left) among some of the last trees before the alpine tundra. There was a huge crowd on the trail, even up at the summit, and everyone was smiling. All the collage pix have larger versions if you click on them.
More photo links
All photographs are the property of the photographer,
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