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Posts Tagged ‘Alaska hiking’



I spent the better part of Saturday with a whole lot of moose.  I headed up a trail I had not been on before but I had heard good things about.  It was supposed to have moose, almost guaranteed.  Well, with wildlife, as with a lot of other things in life, there is no guarantee and they often are not aware of what we expect of them so they are often not located in the perfect light at the right time of day or sometimes even to be found at all.  What’s up with that?  Well, I headed up the trail looking toward the mountains and off to the left when I caught something out of the corner of my eye to my right.  Yep, two moose within about 50 feet of me, a momma and a calf to boot.  Not good times I am thinking.  Well she gave me the eye and I talked real nice and sauntered more to my left to indicate that I was moving away not toward her calf.  She spied me for about a minute or so then both went back to munching.  Very nice.  I headed up the trail and finally got a glimpse of the area and yes, there were a lot of moose in there.  I was looking down on them and I counted 11 or 12.  This was going to be fun.  A little more fun than I expected too.  Although my first moose of the day were close, the upcoming encounter would have me feeling the blast of a moose snort and scrambling to get out from between a huge bull in rut and his girlfriend and this guy was going to get the nasty end of that huge bulls afternoon nap.   mtc.

Reed Lakes Trail


I headed up the Reed Lakes Trail for some scouting and a good training hike and got into some great scenery.  The sun was just popping up behind these peaks in the Talkeetna’s and the slow, low clouds were rolling off the hill sides.  Great morning hike to the lower lake and then the usual slide out.  If you have hiked in Alaska you know what I mean, if not, well let’s just say there is nothing quite like steep, muddy, slickery Alaskan hillsides.  Virtually impossible for me to keep the shiny side up but worth it every time nonetheless.



I love these foxtails.  They are so beautiful in their color and the way they sway in the wind and catch the summer light.  The Wrangell Mountains were peeking out behind some very thick cloud cover prior to it raining.  This is a nice little settlement at the end of the Nebesna Road.  From here it is about 6 miles to an abandoned mine that makes for a great little day hike.

Gold Mint Valley


According to paper work filed with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources J.B. Hatcher is credited with the discovery of the Gold Mint group of veins in the Hatcher Pass area.  Two veins, an upper and lower were located and the upper was worked by Hatcher for a time.  Somewhere along the way Hatcher sold out to Mr. Doyle of the Doyle Mining group and he proceed to build a stamp mill and tram lines to both the upper tunnel and the lower tunnel for processing.  The lower vein is reported to have yielded $50 to $100 per ton in gold (~ 1910).  The mines went idle again in 1931 following the stock market crash until May in 1938 as America was pulling herself out of the Great Depression.  Mr. Fred Johnson resumed operations in the Gold Mint group with the hope of work and the gleam of gold in his eye.  With three aerial trams utilizing five hundred pound buckets on up to 1800 feet of cable, a good working crusher with 10×12 inch jaws, and a 54 inch pelton water wheel generating power he went to work on the lower vein.  The camp consisted of a bunk house, cook house and other small buildings that were considered in good repair.

Today, you cannot find any of these items in the Valley below the Mints, but you can find solitude, golden sunsets, roaring falls, and alpine lakes and tarns.  Oh, and some pretty decent climbing is rumored to be in the area….



I headed out into the Talkeetnas’ to scout some photographic locations and I think I may have found some.  The weather has been hot and dry and the hike in was a boiler but by the time I got up top some minor thunderstorms had moved and it started to rain.  No big deal, set up the tent wait it out.  After the weather several of these were out to play.  This lasted for about an hour before I was smack in the middle of a REAL thunderstorm right on top of me that lasted for about an hour.  No harm no foul, but that lighting was, um, really, really close…

Great 4th!


Hope you all had a great 4th of July!  We had absolutely great weather and saw some great country.  We spent the day up on Dog Sled Pass and had an amazing time.  Our town had it’s parade and BBQ’s and everyone was out at the Lake like they were down south somewhere!  It is hot and dry for Alaska right now so we have some fire haze…from 60 something fires burning right now.  Most are small and are being allowed to burn naturally, a couple are being fought but nothing is really big, let’s hope it stays that way.

Alone Across Alaska


Now here is a great resource for seeing what Alaska back country hiking is all about.  Buck Nelson traverses the Arctic on foot and by raft and takes you along with him on the journey.  If you want to see the Brooks Range and get some beta on a trip you have been dying to make then you will want this video.  If you are undecided about making a trip to the Brooks Range well, this will get you off the fence so get out the check book, the maps and pop in this DVD.  Buck’s site has links to air taxis’, gear list for this trip, maps, and a discussion board that you can ask him questions on.  Buck is a great guy and will tell you everything he knows.  Steve Howe reviewed this in Backpacker Magazine a couple of months back too if you need another source (www.backpacker.com).  Here’s the link, come on up…http://www.bucktrack.com/Alaska_Brooks_Range_Traverse.html