A Fat Old Lady Takes Up Climbing
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After a couple weeks of perfect weather, clouds, wind, and drizzles have completely taken over. Unable to depend on getting decent weather for several hours, I can only go out on short hikes. The Byron Glacier Trail fills that bill. It's still early spring in that glacier filled area, and some red currants were the only flowering plant I found. Fiddlehead ferns were popping up all over, and some had uncoiled. Parts of the trail were still under snow.
Photos of some wildflowers around the area:
Labrador Tea, found in a bog in Girdwood
With Wednesday being the first day of summer, throngs will hike up Flattop that day (weather permitting). However, I decided to go up Tuesday night and see the sun go down on the last day of spring. There were very few people along the trail, partially because of bad weather in the city. As a general rule, wind and rain will be worse in the mountains. As I looked at the mountains from my house, it appeared that conditions were actually better there. I took a chance, and was rewarded with a delightful climb. I was still on the mountain after midnight to welcome in the first day of summer. (I believe the official Solstice occured at around 4AM, when I was snug in bed.) The sun set after 11:40PM and sky was still light enough to see clearly to climb down the mountainside. Birds were still singing after midnight. There was a different batch of flowers up there this time. All the photos in the collage have links to large versions if you click on them.
More flowers from the hike up Flattop:
A pair of arnicas welcome hikers to the tundra's rock garden
Other recent photos from around the area:
Now here's something different! This time I took a tram up Alyeska Mountain, then ran off a cliff. On purpose! It's called paragliding, and it's different from skydiving or hang-gliding. Immediately after the tram ride, I watched a solo paraglider fly off the cliff (photo, lower right). The tandem paragliding rides are for the untrained, such as I. After I made the call, we had to wait several days for a favorable break in the weather. Then the winds started to spring up during my ride, and the guys thought they might have to close down for the rest of the day. It was terrifying, but fun. The pilot, Brian, took the photos of us flying, using a small camera on a long pole. We landed in a soft, soggy bog, that was full of Caltha-leaf Avens. Alyeska is a ski resort in the winter. Some of these photos have large links if you click on them.
More photos from late June:
All photographs are the property of the photographer,
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