Saturday, May 4, 2013

Hiking the Butte - 4/28/13

  We finished our “first” week of retirement by hiking up the Butte on Sunday.  It took about an hour to hike to the top.  It takes much less time if you are a canine or 12 years old!  But it was worth the effort.  When you reach the top, you are rewarded with a 360* view of the Chugach Mountains (including Pioneer Peak, the Knik Glacier), Matanuska Peak, Lazy Mountain, the town of Palmer, the Matanuska River, the Knik River, the Reindeer Farm, the Talkeetna Mountains, eagles, planes, cranes, geese and great people who will take your picture.  It was here, as we sat at the top of the Butte watching an eagle soar for miles without ever flapping his wings, that we decided that we were retired folks – and really liked that idea!!   That idea was short-lived, however.  For the next two weeks Doug and I are both doing testing at several Valley schools. 

Enjoy the view from the Butte --

Doug looking toward the Matanuska River

On the left side of the picture you can see an avalanche chute on Pioneer Peak.
Also down below is the Reindeer Farm.

Sleeping Lady - also known as Mt. Susitna

Legend has it that her peaceful tribe had to go to war to defend themselves. She was to be married to a warrior who was killed in the war.  She was sleeping when the news of his death arrived at their camp.  The other women covered her with flowers so that she would sleep forever and never find out about his death.  The left side of the mountain is her head and it looks like her hair is flowing out behind her as she lays sleeping.

Matanuska River

Twin Peaks and the Knik River

Kink Glacier

Pioneer Peak

We were half way to the top at this point.

Overlooking the Knik Glacier

Reindeer Farm

Looking toward the summit - we still had a ways to hike!

Pioneer Peak in the background

Knik Glacier in the background

Knik Glacier

Eye to eye with the eagles!

It must have been nap time.  The baby is this lady's pack was absolutely asleep.

Enjoy the panoramic view with us...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Four Wheeler trip to the Knik Glacier - 4/27/13

 On Saturday we took our annual four-wheel trip to the Knik Glacier.   This year we went a week earlier than we usual.  Normally the trail is muddy and/or full of muddy water.  This year, it was full of ice and ice water.  Our “breakup” (when the ice breaks up and melts) is late this year.  This, combined with our earlier trek to the glacier, did not bode well for us.  The prior weekend four wheelers easily made their way all the way to the glacier, because the ice had not melted much on the creeks and streams that you need to cross to reach the glacier terminus. They were even they were driving on the bottom of the glacier itself. We did make a few crossings, but after a couple of machine problems and a couple of our group going in the water up to their waist, our leaders reassessed. They decided that we could probably make it all the way to the glacier, but when the sun came out in full force and melted more ice, returning  safely would be a real gamble.  The problem with the ice this time of year is that it can look solid, but has melted and the river is flowing underneath.  So after a couple of hours we turned around and came back.  So – no photos of us right beside the glacier this year.  :<(

Assembling in the parking lot - ready to go!

 The green vehicle and the red pickup were not part of our group -
 just others who had some misfortune before us.

Our group's leader pausing to decide where to cross

Pioneer Peak

Knik Glacier in the distance (center of photo)

 This four wheeler was directly in front of us.  They hit a hole and sunk two wheels in it.  Doug is in the camouflage coat and tan pants.

Several people in our group had to wenched and pushed out.  That is how others in our group got wet up to their waists - helping others who were stuck.

Knik Glacier

Ride with us ...

Scenic drive on the Sterling and Seward Highways - 4/25/13

We did sit in the hot tub one more time Thursday morning before we left to drive home.  You can tell from the pictures that the sun did decide to shine.  As a matter of fact, it did shine all the way up the coast.  We saw five volcanoes and the entire Alaska Range across the inlet. We did not stop to take pictures because we have taken so many of the volcanoes at other times.

When we got to Soldotna we saw an eagle in one small spot of water on the ice on the river. 

We made our stop at the Moose is Loose and headed toward home. You would think I had never seen a mountain before.  I could not stop taking pictures. The rain from Tuesday and low temperatures in the higher elevations had made lots of fresh snow on the peaks and, with the sun shining on Thursday, everything was gorgeous. I will try to take you on the drive with us so you can see some of what we saw.  I know the pictures do not do the actual scenery justice.


 Kenai river – the glacier dust always makes it look green

You can see the snow avalanches in these two pictures.

Snow machines on the mountains having a great day

The snow machiners in the above photo are the tiny speck in the center of the photo below

We stopped at a bed and breakfast where we will be staying this summer for a couple of days.  This is the view from the B and B along the Cook Inlet, close to Anchorage.