A Fat Old Lady Takes Up Climbing
July 2008

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7/29/0
I've been back from my roadtrip since Saturday afternoon, and the weather has been gloomy. Most of the time, the mountains have been completely socked in, invisible from town. Today the fog lifted somewhat. Sometimes you could even see blue sky, as clouds moved through. Apparently, cold damp conditions have been the norm here while I was travelling across the continent. With the arrival of a decent day, Anchorage moved up to GlenAlps to climb Flattop Mountain. The parking lot was full and there was a long line of cars parked along the road. The crowds don't bother me; it's part of the Flattop experience. This is the first chance I've had to hike up the mountain this summer, so it was a great pleasure. Click the small pix to see larger versions, and check out the links below the collage too.

 

More pix from along the Flattop Mountain trail:

Not far from the trailhead there's a point where the parking lot is visible
The trail is arduous, but that doesn't stop them
Look over a cliff to the green valley below
Three young boys celebrate their conquest
Looking beyond the Flattop summit to other Chugach mountains


7/31
The weather was clearing in Anchorage, so I had high hopes for nearby Hatcher Pass. It's a gorgeous place for a hike, and although the clouds hung low in the mountain peaks, there was no significant rainfall while we were there. I haven't been on the Gold Cord Lake trail for a couple years, and it has been lengthened and repaired since then. Areas of erosion and damage to the tundra have been filled in. Sections that used to be very steep now have easily negotiated switchbacks so no scrambling is necessary. The scenery is as beautiful as always, and the slopes still resound with the "tsik-tsik" alarm from dozens-- hundreds?-- of arctic ground squirrels. The tundra is covered with flowers.

More pix from the Gold Cord Lake trail:

A view of the stream near the trailhead
These pretty pink/white flowers are abundant at lower elevations
Alpine Spiraea are more common higher up, by the lake
Tiny Bell Heather flowers were found by the lake, too
A close view of the sod insulation in the old miner's cabin
Valley view, from the top of the trail


     
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