Chugach S.P. Alaska

June 2006

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Elaine and I squirreled off to Anchorage for a four day whirlwind tour, leaving Sierra and Cooper with Aunt Margaret and Uncle Jeff (Elaine's Sister and her husband) up in Cleveland.  Elaine said that she wanted to go backpacking, and realizing that we had a limited amount of time 'on the ground' we decided that Chugach State Park just outside of Anchorage would be perfect for our needs.  My friend Ken recommended a 26 mile hike through the park over Crow Pass retracing part of the Iditarod Trail.  We were a bit wary, as the trail was not a loop, meaning that we would have to commit to hitchhiking 70 miles around the mountains back to where our car was parked.  As it turned out the friendly people of Alaska helped us out by shuttling us back - our last ride (Dave) even went out of his way to drop us off at our rental car (at the dead end of a mining road . . . and even gave us a couple of beers to celebrate our accomplishment)!

The trail itself was fantastic, providing plenty of exercise with spectacular scenery (rivers, waterfalls, glaciers) along with a plethora of wild life (mountain goats, moose, bald eagles, and black bear).  The weather cooperated, with mild temperatures and partly cloudy skies (not to hot or rainy).  The 'crux' of the hike, if you will, was the fording of waist deep Eagle river (which was running high because of the spring run off, and is a consistent 37 degrees year round - burr!).  Elaine later said that if the river crossing would have been closer to the trailhead (and we hadn't seen black bears in that drainage), she would have turned around.  It was a great way to spend three days!

Another interesting factoid - because we were in the state near summer solstice, we had almost 21 hours of sunlight a day.  That much sunlight is an odd sensation.

Going to Alaska for me was like going to Meca is to a person who believes Islam.  I had heard so much about the wonders of the outdoor paradise that I was a bit skeptical, not sure if it was possible for any one place to live up to such mythic proportions.  But the small part of the state that I saw surpassed all of my preconceived notions of what I thought possible.  It is a truly amazing place that words cannot begin to describe.

Click on the thumbnail images to enlarge

Elaine

At the Crow Pass trailhead

Trail view

Looking down Crow Creek

Elaine

On the trail

Trail view

Looking up towards crow pass

Trail view

Looking down the Crow Creek drainage

Elaine

Panorama - looking down the Crow Creek drainage

Trail view

Crow Pass

Carin

Crow Pass

Crow pass view

panorama

Elaine

At Crow pass

Jake

At Crow pass

Crow pass view

Raven glacier

Crow pass view

Another view of Raven glacier

Crow pass view

Looking down Raven creek drainage

Elaine

Hiking down towards Raven creek

Rock

Odd snow formation

Trail view

Looking down the Raven creek drainage

Elaine

Post holing in the mushy snow

Raven creek

Looking up towards Crow pass

Raven creek gorge

Room with a view

Our campsite

Bear track on the trail

Trail view

Dropping down into the Eagle river drainage

Raven creek - Eagle river confluence

Panorama

Eagle river

Anyone up for fording waist deep frigid (37 degree) glacial run off?

Elaine

Feeling good now that the hard part of the hike is over

Eagle river

Panorama

Elaine

Trail view

Elaine

Enjoying the trail side flowers

Flowers

Flowers

Jake

Crossing Thunder creek

Trail view

Eagle river

Eagle river

Clear stream mixing with the glacial run off of Eagle river

Trail view

Eagle river

Trail view

Lake reflection

Trail view

Tree felled by a beaver

Elaine

Filtering water

Trail view

Meadow

Elaine

Hitchhiking back to the rental car

 

** Bonus photos **

Airplane view

St Elias mountains

Airplane view

St Elias mountains

Airplane view

St Elias mountains

Airplane view

St Elias mountains

Airplane view

Mt Logan

Airplane view

Sun rays

Turnagain Arm

Panorama

Salmon Run creek

Whittier

Low tide

Whittier

Elaine

Looking at a tide pool. Whittier

Waterfalls

Prince William Sound

Elaine

Enjoying the forest

Salmon Run creek

Where creek meets Price William Sound

Portage lake

Panorama

Portage lake

Waterfalls

Jake and Elaine

At the Byron glacier

Byron glacier

Road side view

Outside of Whittier

 

Travel links

Trips from the last two years    Interactive travel map

Looking for a worthwhile charitable organization?  Check out kiva.org.

 

 
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