Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 50 - Yahoo! Tiehacker Mountian

My  final hike of the challenge is done! I did it! I did it! I did it! And what a challenge it has been. Amazingly, after 33 days of consecutive rain early on, it was sunny for my birthday. So Letty and I with the dogs headed up Tiehacker Mountain - a steep but rewarding hike on another Seward area hidden trail. We actually didn't go to the top due to knee problems and overexertion from the past fifty days of hikes. I slipped on the way up and my knee was really sensitive afterwards. We were also a little worried about the dogs on the final steep rocky face. I was also worried about going down when my knee was hurting already going up. But as it turned out, it wasn't too bad especially once we got to the tundra. It was slick so it worked to just sit down and slide - not quite as good as snow but enough to save the knees. All in all it was a wonderful hike - gorgeous day, great company and an excellent adventure.

Bear Glacier from Tiehacker Mt.
Do I look 50 years old?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 49 - Divide Ski Trails

Iditarod Trail Again

Being tired from two days of hiking, Bob and I headed out to the Seward Area's locale Nordic ski trails at Divide - or about mile 12 on the Seward High Way. It was late, about 7:00 pm, and a bit rainy but still nice to be outside. As we were walking down to a meadow we spotted a black bear eating berries. He did rear up when Pita growled  but then continued to eat without a bother for us. Meanwhile Pita ran around behind Bob and I where she could safely growl and snort. She even started to dig a hole - may be an escape route? The Iditarod Trail goes through the ski trails at different points and then continues on to Meridan Lake and Long Lake. I sure wish the Forest Service would get a few gates put up at the entrances to the Iditarod. There are already bad ruts from wood cutters driving trucks on what is a non-motorized area. The trails are wet and just can't take the load but there is so much dead wood that it is too tempting.
Awesome Ski Trail Signs

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 48 - Alpine Trail

The Alpine Trail from Caine's Head is one of my favorite places. The views to Resurrection Bay and over to Calisto are awesome. I guess is helps to think that every time I've hiked the trail, the sun has been out. There are berries - blues, salmon, vine, low bush  - several cascading waterfalls, tundra ponds and then really nice, swimmable glacier kettles with views over the ocean near the top. Again it is a steep route but well worth the effort. We had lunch up high and then headed back to the cabin to pack up for the walk back to Lowell Point along the beach. Too bad we couldn't bring a boat or two but the north winds the day before would made anchoring difficult or paddling back really tough. Probably the best way to utilize the area is to hike or boat to a cabin and then spend several days enjoying the trails in the area before boating back.                                                        

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 47 - Caine's Head

For Labor Day weekend our friends, Mark and Ann, where able to get the cabin at Caine's Head, about 4 miles out along the shoreline from Lowell Point in Seward. It is an Alaska State Park area and is absolutely beautiful. The trail is actually a low tide beach walk; the lower the better to miss some very slippery wet rock crossings. On very low tides it's easier to walk in the water on the kelp and barnacles verses the worn, super slick, sloping boulders. WW2 ruins of Fort McGilvary, an outpost that defended Alaska from the Japanese, are up on Caine's Head. In my opinion there is also the world's most scenic outhouse. It is a rarely used place on the top eastern edge Caine's Head. If you leave the door open you can see across Resurrection Bay to Thumb's Cove, down a few 100 yards to the slamming surf and out the Bay to the Pacific Ocean.  We hiked to the ranger cabin during the evening low with the anticipation of hiking the Alpine Trail in the morning before heading back to Seward.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 46 - 4th of July Beach

4th of July Beach

Boats on the hard.
A lagoon looking out Resurrection Bay
I woke up this morning feeling sick. There's been a soar throat, slight fever going around and being a teacher I'm constantly exposed. Unfortunately this is the start of Labor Day weekend (3 days) and I had all kinds of big plans for the end of my 50 day hike challenge. May be the weather will spruce up a bit and I'll get over the cold fast so that backpacking sounds fun rather than a chore. So - instead of climbing a mountain or hiking to a cabin, I opted to walk through the ship dry dock area to 4th of July Beach and back. It's a great little place with lots of gravel roads leading nowhere. The prison is out that way so I suppose some of those roads have been security blocked. May be if the prison wasn't there then there might be some hiking trails into the glaciers behind.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 45 - Al's Trail

On a ridge trying to find Burr Haden Trail
 Another beautiful day in Seward and we decided to go to Burr Haden, an unpublicized trail that a guy named Al maintains. We'd been on the trail several times with other people but I guess we'd didn't pay attention to the driving directions because we never found the true trail. Instead we wondered around behind Al's house admiring his handy work and wind chimes hanging from several tree branches. We walked up and down the creek bed and up on to two separate ridges figuring we'd eventually run into the trail. After several hours we gave up and headed home. Since I made a phone call or two to find that we were extremely close but on the wrong drainage and ridge lines. At one point we were on the trail but didn't bother crossing a make shift bridge. Crazy - but at least I have another hike for weekdays when time is limited.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 44 - Exit Glacier View and Nature Trails

Exit Glacier
What a busy day! Today was open house for our school which for teachers generally means staying at work until 7:00 pm. I was so hungry that I had canned chili provided by the PTSA, a granola bar and a can of pineapple at home before quickly heading out for a hike. I'd saved the Exit Glacier Trails for this occasion, knowing I need something shorter (2.5 miles) and easily accessible. For me it's important to walk these trails at least once a summer due to the rapid recession of the glacier. The trail is different each year because of melting. The washout plain has really changed too. Ten years ago I remember taking the girls to the glacier base. They swam in little kettle holes full of crystal clear water that had warmed from the black rocks absorbing the hot sun. Today the plain is almost completely flat with several brands of river flowing of the glacier. A coyote met me on the trail, then proceeded to sit down in the bushes a tiny bit off the trail. I tried to take his picture but he blended in so much with the surroundings that I could find him in the view finder of the camera.