Sunday, October 20, 2013

Teklanika Ride

During the last couple of weeks of September it got cold!  We had temps down into the singles a couple of nights and a few inches of snow here and there.  Our jobs were done by the first of October so we resumed playing and working on projects at our place.  A four-wheeler ride out on the Stampede Trail was one of the top priorities.

Great day to bundle up and go for a ride.

Bear tracks in the trail!  How fresh?  We weren't quite sure until we came up on the vehicles that left these tracks (under the bear prints) within a few minutes!  WOW!  That was a close one!
A frozen beaver pond alongside the trail.

The beaver's dome was halfway covered in snow.
This is the top of the home.

A beautiful day to lay by the river and soak up the sun!

We rode downstream a little ways to where the Savage River meets the Teklanika River.

A great spot to look for neat rocks and call it a day!
As of now (Oct. 21st), we have had over a week of 50 degree temps so we are snow free again and back in T-shirts!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mt. Margaret Hike

One of my college roommates came to visit back in August and one of the first things we did was go for a hike in the park.  Mt. Margaret is about 15 miles into the park, just on the other side of the Savage River.  A fairly easy hike with great views of Denali and the Alaska Range plus a very good possibility of seeing the prized Dall sheep up close and personal :)
Fall colors were just starting to make their appearance.
It was a gorgeous day...Denali was booming!
Lindsey and I hung down low, she was 5+ months pregnant when they visited, while her husband, Aaron, went for the summit and the sheep. 

Looking south at the AK Range.
With time to scour the surrounding area, we spotted a grizzly bear in the shrubs on the other side of the drainage from us.  It was very fun to just hang out and watch it graze on berries. 

Aaron taking a breather once he met back up with us.  He did see some big rams pretty close while on top.
We got to see a solo caribou and moose with twin calves on the way back to the car. 

Driving out of the park we saw a few big bull moose.  It was rutting season while they were here and big bulls like this come back to this same spot every year to compete for dominance and females.

This guy seems to have the biggest rack, but is he tough enough?

We thought we were going to get to see some action between these two but nothing ever happened.
Another beautiful day in the park!  Thank you guys so much for coming to visit!  We had a blast!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Blueberry Picking

Harvest time starts toward the end of July here with blueberry picking!  I love getting out there especially when gathering the fruits of the land and knowing that I'll be enjoying the sweet taste of summer all winter long. Andrew, Boss and I spent a weekend out on the Denali Highway a while back riding the four-wheeler and picking blueberries. We came home with almost two gallons!  Great start for the season :)
The weather was spotty with rain so we were blessed with many beautiful rainbows.

A happy Boss Dog!
Absolutely LOVE this country!

Yummmm, yummmm!
This was one of the best berry crops all throughout the state we have ever seen.

Delicious dinner too!  You can't go camping with out great food!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hatcher Pass

One last post from the family visit in July....
The day before my folks flew back to TN we drove over Hatcher Pass (an hour north of Anchorage), visited the historic Independence Mine, and spent the night in a rustic cabin at Hatcher Pass Lodge.
The Hatcher Pass Rd. is a ~35 mile, mostly gravel road connecting the two communities Willow and Palmer of the Mat-Su Valley.  Originally built for mining but currently used for recreation, the road takes you through the southwestern portion of the Talkeetna Mountains up to an elevation of 3,886 ft. at Hatcher Pass.
 Gold mining began in this area in 1906.  This is one old mine with tailings seen from the road.

 Near the pass paragliders enjoy the air currents.

We stopped just before the pass to enjoy some fresh air and alpine scenery.

 On the other side of the pass looking towards the Matanuska Valley.
 The historic Independence Mine seen in the distance.
 Hatcher Pass Lodge
After getting a cabin, which was a funny following instructions from the lodge owner to find out availability, he had us go to each of the 6 cabins and either open the door or look through the window to find out if it was vacant or not!  The first three checks were strike outs and then we found an empty cabin :)  A comfortable accommodation for myself, but rustic for my folks....they are dry cabins, so equipped with a five gallon water jug; had to walk to the main lodge for a shower; no AC or screens on the windows (normally not a big deal but the entire state of Alaska had an unseasonably hot summer and the buggiest ever according to many locals) but we were delightfully surprised with the cool temperatures of the mountains and lack of mosquitoes (thankfully)!  The cabin did have a sink and a that you had to add your own water to and all liquids and solids had to be emptied by hand, although not our hands fortunately :)  A good time was had by all and I think we would all recommend it to any traveler.  It was my second time staying there (first was with Andrew's parents back in 2010) so I knew the secret. 
 After dinner we took a walk around Independence Mine.  In the mine's peak year, 1941, it employed 204 men and produced 34,416 ounces of gold which was worth $1,204,560, today that would be worth $17,208,000.  Throughout its lifetime the mine produced 500,000 ounces of gold.

A beautiful evening and great way to end a great vacation!
Thank you sooo much for visiting!  We are already looking forward to next time :)