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

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June 10, 2007
Beautiful weather today, and more of the same is predicted. After last year's cold, wet, miserable summer, and harsh winter, we really do deserve some nice conditions. I didn't go far on any of the trails that begin in the park, but hiked on several of them. The flowers are blooming beautifully, covering much of the landscape. There were several butterflies around; none were cooperative. One little red squirrel watched us with curiosity from the safety of a high perch. Both moose and bears were reported near the trailhead, but we didn't see them. It was a nice mellow day in the sun. Click the small pix for links to full-screen versions, and enjoy the additional links below the collage.

More photos from early June:

Two baby Great Horned Owls, in a distant nest
This is a captive male, brought to the scene by a wildlife official
Some other birds: Robin - Dark-eyed Junco - Mew Gull - Canvasback Duck
3 views of a Wood Frog: View 1 - View 2 - View 3
Arctic White Butterfly ; Western Tailed Blue: dorsal view , side view
A busy bumblebee at work
American Emerald Dragonfly ; Boreal Whiteface ; Four-spotted skimmer
Starflower ; Nagoonberry ; Elderberry

June 14, 2007
Flag Day! And a perfect day for a hike up the Twin Peaks Trail, by Eklutna Lake. It's about 25 miles from Anchorage, and a friend of mine lives out that way. She was on a tight schedule, so we went to the overlook and a little beyond, but didn't have time to go to the end of the trail. There were several species of butterflies up there, but once again, not one would sit still for a portrait. Moose and bear were spotted on this trail, too, but we didn't see them, and our dogs didn't alert to anything. We did startle a willow ptarmigan (Alaska's State Bird) which flew off into thick forest. Click the small pix for big versions.

More photos from mid-June:

My friend and I, with Jascha; (her dog walked out of the frame)

Late evening sky
Just before a lightening storm
Potter Marsh, with clouds rising over the mountains

Summer Solstice is always the most popular day of the year to climb Flattop Mountain, and this year the weather cooperated. Planning to be on the summit by midnight, I started up the trail at about 10:30PM. There was enough light then to photograph some of the flowers along the way. After the 11:42PM sunset, dusk settled over the mountain. I arrived at the summit close to midnight, and spent a pleasant bit of time walking around, trying to capture some of the low light scenes there. Around the Solstice, you can see well enough to walk around all night long. So it was still safe to hike back down after midnight. There are a couple midnight scenes in the links below the collage, and most of the small photos also have links to full screen views.

More pix from the Flattop Solstice

A steady stream of hikers on the distant trail
People pause to enjoy the sunset part way up
A crowd deals with the scramble
After midnight, cityside view from the summit
Tents on Flattop; Clouds nestle in the Chugach peaks

Our near perfect summer weather continues. Although it was very windy in Portage Pass today, the sun was shining, with moderate temperatures. It's a stunningly beautiful place. After a short, steep climb through a forest, hikers are rewarded with views of rocky tundra, the Passage Canal by Whittier, and glaciers everywhere you look. There are glacier fed ponds for a thirsty dog. And flowers, flowers, flowers... . After this hike early in the day, we explored the fishermen's wharf in Whittier, and enjoyed a halibut lunch there. (Yes, I shared a bit with Jascha.) Then I drove back through the two-mile long tunnel that goes under Maynard Mountain, and hiked the Byron Glacier Trail on that side. The collage pix have larger link if you click them. As usual, additional photos have links below the collage.

More flowers from the Portage Pass Trail:

Deer Cabbage has interesting ruffled flowers
An Alaska Violet, with a little pollinator aboard
The tiny urn-shaped flowers of Mountain Heather
Coast Saxifrage with Brook Saxifrage growing nearby

Scenes from Portage Pass and the area:

Trail scene in the Pass
Maynard Mountain rising above Whittier's small boat harbor
A large hunk of blue ice-- an iceburg-- floating in Portage lake
View from the end of the Byron Glacier Trail-- The Glacier

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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Butterflies Along Alaska's Hiking Trails
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