Monday, July 30, 2007

July 29 - Bodenburg Butte Hike

July 29, 2007 - Butte Hike

God must have known that this is my last day in Alaska for a while. Today we attended early Mass and then had a big breakfast. (Little did I know that I would be needing that big breakfast to carry me through the day)! This afternoon we drove east of Palmer over the Matanuska River bridge. We took the Old Glenn Highway and headed to Bodenburg Butte. The guidebook said it was a 40-minute hike up the butte. We took a little longer than that (I think it was all the rest stops—but we like to claim that we were stopping to enjoy the fabulous scenery). Once we (literally) climbed the last few yards to the top, we were rewarded with a panoramic view of the valley. We could see the Chucagh Mountains, including Pioneer Peak, and the Talkeetna Mountains. Pioneer Peak is the tallest peak in this area and it is the one we can see from our current residence. We could see the Knik glacier and the Knik and Matanuska Rivers and a lot of uncleared forest area. The view also included the towns of Palmer and Butte, Hatcher Pass.
We did learn some new hiking rules:
1. Find out what the guidebook means when is it says a “moderate” trail.
2. Always go down the same trail you came up
Rule #1 is pretty self-explanatory and it leads to Rule #2. I did not want to climb (or fall) down the rocks on the trail that we used to ascend the butte. From the top we could see lots of people with kids and older people hiking up an alternate trail. I told Doug I didn’t mind if I even had to hike a couple of miles along the road to get back to our vehicle once we got to the bottom of the trail. But I wanted to take the easier trail down. I like to think of it as exploring new territory. We took the alternate trail and knew that we would not end up right by our pickup. But part way down we knew we were curving a long ways from our starting point. We ended up on the other side of the butte. Some nice folks gave us a ride the 5 miles back to our truck. It was the same nice couple who had taken our picture at the top of the butte!
After our hiking adventure, we continued south along the Old Glenn Highway and stopped at a place where there were a lot of people fishing. We waited for 30 minutes, hoping to see someone catch a big salmon. But---no such luck. Just before we were ready to leave we did see three large salmon pop up out of the river. So at least we can say we saw some salmon. We merged in to the New Glenn Highway and headed back home. On the way we say a mother moose and her calf off in the distance. Oh- I forgot to mention that we also ran across several instances of bear “poo” on our hike up the butte. That was close enough for me. So now I can say I have had encounters with salmon, moose and bear.