A Fat Old Lady Takes Up Climbing
The Continuing Adventures
Autumn 2007

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September has sent us plenty of rain, with just an occasional glimpse of the sun interspersed with more rain. With no precipitation predicted for the 16th, it looked like a good day to climb Flattop. I was not alone in noticing the pleasant break in the weather. The Glen Alps parking lot was full and cars lined Toilsome Hill Road. Flattop was one popular mountain on Sunday, and that was part of the fun. There were lots of characters along the way-- a very determined three-year-old, the canoodling young couple, a group of Japanese tourists-- and plenty of dogs for Jascha to meet. It was a delightful hike, warm and sunny. At the summit there was a chilly breeze, and we could really feel the approach of winter, viewing snow in the taller peaks. It will creep down to the front range mountains, and eventually into the city below. But today was a beautiful balance of the seasons, with bright summer sun and gorgeous autumn colors.

More Flattop photos:

"Steps" of railroad ties are placed in some high erosion areas
Powerline Valley, and O'Malley Peak, seen from the trail
View of Anchorage from Flattop Mountain summit
A foreign visitor stands on a cliff to admire the scenery
More shutterbugs from the same tour group
This tyke wouldn't stop climbing, even after he reached the summit

A misty view of Flattop, taken a ten days earlier
A Black Meadowhawk Dragonfly on a fireweed leaf
A surprise late-blooming lilac in my yard

The plan was to drive up to Hatcher Pass and hike the Gold Cord Lake Trail, but I was surprised to find the road to the Independence Mine area closed with a locked gate. I don't know why; there isn't that much snow up there yet. Fortunately, the road over the Pass was open, so we drove up there and just hiked around Summit Lake and scaled a couple small peaks nearby. There was a bit of snow, but mostly at the higher elevations. There was a Collared Pika scurrying around a rocky area on the far side of the lake. They are very small critters, not much bigger than a hampster, but related to hares and rabbits. I never see them up close, so I tried to take some photos at a distance. Clicking on the small pic of the pika below will not produce a bigger view of the animal, but will provide more of the rocky habitat where I saw it. The other thumbnails also have bigger images if you click on them.

More Hatcher Pass scenes:

Summit Lake with Hatch Peak rising behind it
Jascha looks over a valley from one of the plentiful peaks
This is a dramatic peak seen on the way home

Scenes from a trip to Glennallen to visit my daughter:
The sun was shining on Saturday, revealing many colorful scenes such as this
On the way home Sunday, clouds and drizzle returned, but the views were still beautiful
A mountain avens seedpod looks like fireworks when it opens up
Fireweed still looks pretty after it goes to cotton

Flattop has accumulated a dusting of snow and we are reaching freezing temperatures overnight even in town, but the white stuff remains in the mountains. It was a chilly hike up to the second saddle and the trail became very slippery above that point. Since I had not brought along my YakTrax, I decided not to take the summit. I did see a few hardy souls up there though. The crowberries were especially delicious, because their flavor improves after they freeze. There was a large bull moose foraging down in Powerline Valley, far away. Click on any of the collage pix to see them full screen, and there are additional images from the hike below the collage.

More Flattop scenes:
Long view of Flattop, with fall foliage
Anchorage, with Mount Susitna, and a passing jet

Other photos from October:
Red-breasted Nuthatch, Sitta canadensis, along the Cheney Lake Trail
Another view of the little nuthatch, (smaller than sparrows or chickadees)
A brightly colored (and delicious!) wild rosehip
Fuzzy lupine seedpods, catching raindrops
A snowy, foggy day in late October
Sunrise over the mountains, with low-lying clouds

November hikes around the Anchorage area trails

  11/10 McHugh Creek

 11/11 Chester Creek

 11/13 Campbell Creek


More pix from McHugh Creek Park:

Fog and light snow decorate the area
A pushki "snowflake"

More Chester Creek scenes:
Ash berries in a snowstorm
Creek scene
The light at the end of the tunnel

 More views of the Taku Lake Park:
Another view of Campbell Creek
Jet in the sunset over Taku Lake
Moose at rest: View 1 / View 2


Other images from November 2007:

Mallards float on Cheney Lake
A family of swans in Potter Marsh
Snowy mountains rise over the woods
Looks like winter's here
Frosty leaf

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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