A Fat Old Lady Takes Up Climbing
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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:
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
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:
November hikes around the Anchorage area trails
11/10 McHugh Creek
11/11 Chester Creek
11/13 Campbell Creek
All photographs are the property of the photographer,
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