Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Anchorage to Talkeetna!

After a nice time in Girdwood we swung back through Anchorage for a couple of nights at our favorite Centennial Park Campground.

Mostly we did a lot of shopping for the next stint of our trip in Denali National Park. Our friend Paul did a cool boat trip to a glacier while we shopped.

Then we hit the road to Talkeetna. Here is my brother standing where you would see the mountain if it was out.
 Here is another picture of where Denali should be, but wasn't visible.
Talkeetna is like a bit like Hope except a little bigger and with a lot more tourists. We went out to eat at a place that had been on Man V Food for a giant Caribou Burger.

I did have a Elk burger but it wasn't giant. They had a good selection of beers too.
This was the place we ate, the West Rib Pub and Grill. Overall it was OK, but it was sunny and we did eat outside so that was all good stuff.

Now that is a vehicle to tour around it! I am not sure it really even goes anywhere.
There is a peek at the mountain... it is the white thing peeking up above the clouds!

Still that is only a 5% view... many people never see more than this while travelling through Alaska.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Animal Park and Bore Tide

Will's friend Paul flew out to spend a week in Alaska with us and we decided he should see some animals.

These animals are all rescues that for whatever reason probably wouldn't survive in the wild.
The park people were tossing out pieces of date reindeer sausages.
Look at those claws!
Check out that rack!
Baby Moose
We haven't seen a Lynx yet as they are almost impossible to see in the wild.
 More big horns!
They are building a new Black Bear enclosure but they still have a couple in the park.
Turnagain Arm is one a bunch of places where you can see a Bore Tide. A bore tide is essential a single wave that fills in a body of water when the tide comes in.

The size of the wave varies based on the height of the tide and the wind and we have bad timing as it won't be a very big one today.

There is an approximate schedule for the wave but the wind is blowing in a way that delays the wave by 30 minutes.

A bunch of people are waiting to see it and there is a decent amount of camaraderie as we all joke about the Bore Tide.

When it is a good tide people surf it into the arm but today it is probably only about 6-8 inches high.

You can see it in the pictures but it isn't very impressive because we are far away. Still it is a cool phenomenon.
It moves about 5-10 miles per hour so we watch it go by one place and then drive back towards Girdwood and catch it a second time.

This time we are closer so we get a better view. Here Maureen can't contain her excitement!

Too bad we were here a day or two later we could have seen a better example.

Below I put a video of a better Bore Tide in Turnagain Arm.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Crow Pass Hike

Today we did a big hike up to Crow Pass. The hike was only a little over 7.5 miles but it was pretty difficult.

The trail was an out and back trail and the out portion was basically up up up and more up.
 We didn't have much sun but it was still full of good views.
There was a mine up here and there is a lot of left over equipment around.

This is an ore crusher.
This is a big engine and what looks like a steam vessel.
Over this ridge several water falls coursed through the rocks pulling with it lots and lots of gold!  OK I couldn't find any gold no matter how hard I looked.
We had lunch right across the canyon from those falls and then went over ridge and had to cross the water and snow.

From here things got a little easier up to the pass.

There was a lot of snow some of which was hiding a river of freezing cold water.

In the panorama you can see the public use cabin. We didn't get much closer than this to the cabin because you are supposed to respect the people who have the reservation for the cabin.

It looks like it would be a great cabin. And there is plenty to explore up here.

Here is the pass it is the highest point on the original Iditarod Trail. We are at about 3600 feet, we started at 1500 feet so with over 2000 feet of climb this was definitely a strenuous hike.

That is Raven Glacier which was making the windy pass very very cold.

We had a quick snack and turned around.
On the way back from the pass we got a good look at Crystal Lake next to the cabin.

The way down we took a slightly different trail which was less steep but had a lot of rock fields we had to cross which were a little hard on the feet.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hope to Girdwood Day

All of us have really enjoyed Hope, we aren't in a rush for our next destination so we spend the morning relaxing and walking around Hope some more.

The Quake destroyed a bunch of Hope and other things were moved to higher ground.  All around town are heavy things too much trouble to move. I saw engine blocks, various machinery and this washing machine.
This cool old Dodge truck was tucked in some overgrowth.  There was gold rush here at once point and I'm sure many more people than there are today. But this is true for half of the Alaskan towns.
 Someone has this cute little cabin, I over-exposed the shot but who cares. Looking at a little real estate we find a very new 1 bedroom cabin right near the main part of town with 2 acres for $85,000.

So close to so much outdoors fun and Anchorage makes Hope a weekend get-away for people form the city.
A nice little cabin with a art gallery out back.
Inside the museum there are a bunch of old things from the town, and a lot of great old pictures.

Also two old and very opinionated men who give us all some history lessons about Hope.  They chastise my brother when he is only 1/2 paying attention to what they are saying.

Later they show some people around the buildings of the museum and we manage to avoid them.

The gardens around town are very well decked out with flowers. Some I have never seen before like these.

There were at least 3 different color combinations of these interesting flowers.
After lunch we finally get on the road for Girdwood AK. Girdwood is a Ski resort town outside of Anchorage. It seems pretty swanky.

We are parking for 2 nights at the resort for $10 a night. Dry camping but you can't beat the price and it is the only camping option that doesn't involve a 5 mile dirt road!
People para-sail from the top of the mountain and also Mtn Bike down the slopes.

The resort is really fancy and I mean that by normal standards not just Alaska Fancy.
Here is our $10 camping spot. A bunch of other people camp here with us, but later they close the parking lot and no more campers come in. It is for a 2 night concert but they don't make us leave so all is good.

Tomorrow we will do a big hike, Sadly there are a few I'd like to do but we are running out of time for our one fixed date the reservation we have in Denali National Park.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hope, AK and Gull Rock Hike

The panorama above is the view from our campground in Hope Alaska. Hope is a tiny town of less than 200 people but with more soul than other place we have been.

The town has a vibe that is homey and inviting. There isn't that much here besides a cafe and a couple art galleries and a gift shop. Sure there is a town library, a coffee cart and small museum too.
Can you feel the vibe? It is the kind of place you could just chill out for the summer. It feels out there but is actually only a hour and half or so from Anchorage.

Our campground is that parking lot between the water and the cafe. It is a bit rough around the edges but better than the other campground we passed which was not downtown. By the way that Cafe IS downtown Hope!

Down the road a bit pretty much the end of the road actually is a state campground which is closed for repairs but is the start of the hike to Gull Rock.

The hike follows the water although is up pretty high on the bank.
 Some eagles having a little battle.

 Look back down Turnagain Arm which is the inlet of water that leads to Portage Alaska.
 Some of the nice beaches along the coast.
 Here is Will at Gull Rock on a spit of land that juts out into the water.

We could have hiked down to the beach level but we were pretty tired already and the mud along the beach can be "Quick-mud" if you are there at the wrong time of day.

In the evening we have some dinner in the trailer and hit the Cafe for some Pie. My piece of apple pie is Huge!

It is also Open Mic night and we have a few beers and listen to people sing.

A woman in her 70's got up and belted out a few tunes while she played guitar. I have a video I will have to put up.

These two were from Anchorage and were also camping at the Cafe. They were the best people to play all night!