Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Alaska Adventure #1
After a long day of flying and a restful night in Anchorage, my friends, Tami, Hannah and Skyler and I traveled on down the Kenai Peninsula to the Devil's Pass Trailhead where we were biking in to the Chugiak cabin.
I rented a great Kona hardtail which fit perfectly. We attached our panniers, loaded up with sleeping bags, thermarests and plenty of food for our 3-day funventure. We ignored the sign at the trailhead warning us of a grizzly mauling of a bicyclist just days earlier. lalalalalalala
Nearly ready, all packed up and looking forward to a fun ride into the wilderness. See.... smiling!
The trail started out through the woods, dappled light playing on the trail and the most beautiful
woods of birch and spruce, with an underlayment of ferns and grasses.
The trail opened up to expansive views of snow mottled mountains and a wide valley of meadows and wildflowers with Devil's Creek meandering beside. (perfect bear habitat) Remember to make noise, I had to keep reminding myself. "Hey Bear! Stay away Bear! Yip!"
Tami crossing Devil's Creek, luckily over a bridge. There were a few creek crossings, but they were small and I just walked right through, pushing my bike.
The trail was steep in places and I walked a good bit of it. My bike was heaaaa-vy pushing it up the hills (canned salmon and coconut milk had something to do with it), but pedaling is so much more fun than hiking. We took a welcome break at this overlook and fueled up with trail mix and turkey jerky.
There's the creek bed and vegetation where the bears are hanging out but Hannah is about to
scare them away with a loud descent. At one point (while pushing my bike) I noticed digging along the trail and HUGE griz prints, about the size of a salad plate with claws. Griz go digging for marmots (like mountain groundhogs). Tasty.
It appears that I'm taking an important cell phone call, but I think I'm just looking for bears.
Our little cabin awaits us in the valley, a very welcome sight. I had taken a spill into a ditch, with my bike landing on my knee and it was starting to not feel so good after biking the last few miles.
The cabin comes complete with a cute (although smelly, Tami gave it a 6 out of 10 and she has high standards) outhouse that someone dolled up with a lace curtain.
This a relatively new cabin, the old A-frame being torn down a couple years ago. There are 4 bunks, a counter for the kitchen, a table and plenty of room for our gear. A cold, clear stream rushes by right behind the cabin.
The second night we were joined by friends, Louisa and her 2 dogs who all hiked the 10 miles in and Cade, who biked in in less than half the time it took us. Man with big thighs.
We spent lots of time playing cards. Cade is game guru and had us learning all kinds of card games. This one's a classic...lick a card, stick it to your forehead and guess what yours is.
and this is what I did a lot of, knitting and keeping my knee elevated. The middle day of our trip was supposed to be for riding the 40 miles of trails this region offers, Resurrection Pass to Hope. Sounds wonderful. But me knee swelled up and I could barely bend it, let alone get my leg over the bike bar and pedal. Phooey! My friends took turns getting bags ice cold water from the stream so I could 'ice' my knee. By the third day, the swelling was down a bit but I was kinda afraid to get on the bike. Everyone took most of my weight so I wasn't loaded down. Luckily the ride back is 98% downhill (yippee!!!). I got on the bike and yeah! I could pedal, a bit shaky at first but I could do this...."Icandoit..Icandoit...Icandoit Hey Bear, go away Bear, yip!"
The wildflowers were abundant...
and new little pine cones, flashing their bright purple.
We had a little wren visit us all day, singing us a happy, friendly song.
It had a lot to say.
A shot the kids took from the back seat of the car, bikes loaded up, leaving the Devil's Pass Trail behind.
We took my rented bike back to Girdwood and I noticed all these hoops. I am so into hooping these days and was thrilled to see that the hoop craze has hit Alaska. Hoopers have not yet been known to be mauled by grizzlies!