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A Fat Old lady Takes Up Climbing
The Year Five Journal
July 2004


On to August 2004

The trail to Byron Glacier is about 50 miles from Anchorage, near the more famous Portage Glacier. It is a just a nice stoll through woodlands, over a brief area of boulders, and onto a snowfield that used to be part of the glacier before it receded in recent years. We are experiencing a heat wave, so this walk along a stream was ideal for Jascha. I promised him snow, and he pulled me all the way, with great anticipation. He was rewarded with plenty of the white stuff, rolling and romping in it, truly enjoying it as only a dog can.

Byron Glacier

More photos from the Byron Glacier Trail

Larger version of the Byron Glacier photo
Alder Lake scene, near Byron Glacier
Arctic White Butterfly (Pieris angelika) nectaring on a rockcress (Arabis lyrata)
Arctic Wintergreen flowers seen along the Byron Glacier Trail

There was a heavy haze in the air, composed of moisture from the sea and smoke from wildfires to the north, which made the nearby Chugach Mountains look very distant. But visibility was certainly much better than the last time we climbed the mountain. In the panorama (below), you can see the view from the city, with Flattop on the right side of the picture. In spite of the hot, muggy conditions, it was a lovely hike, and scores of hikers seemed to agree. The whole mountain was festooned with flowers. In the collage, you can see Alpine Spiraea in the lower left corner and King's Crown, lower right.

On the evening of the 26th, I drove down to Seward, hoping that the weather would clear enough for Jascha and me to tackle the Old Jeep Trail up Mount Marathon. I've hiked up the other trail, but was concerned that the dog wouldn't be able to do it, especially the rock wall on the "down trail". The jeep trail is longer, with a more gradual elevation gain. Alas, the weather did not cooperate. We started out in a light rain, which was acceptable. As the trail narrowed, we were buffeted by wet pushki, a large, unpleasant plant. And the skies continued to darken. Reportedly, there is a nice waterfall at the end of this trail. I'd like to see it someday soon. I'll be watching for the sun to come out again.

old jeep trail

More photos from Mount Marathon's Old Jeep Trail

Large versions of the flowers in the collage (above): Western Columbine and Monkshood
The cascading stream alongside the trail
Trail view, in heavy fog

Other photos taken on the trip to Seward

Turnagain Arm scene, with a rainbow
Fireweed scene from Turnagain Pass
Cute little wood frog I saw several days earlier. It's only 3/4" long.

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Enjoy the Flowers Along Alaska's Hiking Trails

Butterlies Along Alaska's Hiking Trails
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