A Fat Old Lady Keeps On Climbing
Kesugi Ridge is in Denali State Park, about 50 east of Mount McKinley, AKA Denali. We climbed up the Ridge using the Little Coal Creek Trail. Denali seldom comes out from under the clouds she makes for herself, but she was out today. Boy, was I wishing I had my 35mm camera with me! Here are the fuzzy pictures I took with my digital camera instead
The alpine tundra on the ridge was stunningly covered with snowwhite lichens and those low lying red berry plants, whose leaves have gone red now. So the effect was of a red and white carpet that crunches when you step on it.
I'm not sure what Jascha sees when he strikes those poses and studies the distant views. In the upper right hand pic, he was looking over the Little Coal Creek ravine, and in the lower right, he was staring at snow covered Mt. McKinley. He seems to be in awe. Or maybe he's just trying to figure out what I'm staring at. Lower down on this trail, his interest in the lovely scenely waned as he repeatedly lunged after grouse, ignoring the "LEAVE IT!" and "ON BY!" commands. "But there's a big, stupid bird right there!," he responded each time, as if I simply hadn't noticed. He does have many good points though; it's easy to forgive the indiscretions.
Alyeska has a large ski resort, with a climbing trail usable in the summer. There is a building at the top with a restaurant and a cable car that takes the quickest route up and down. For people (and dogs) that climb to the building, the cable car ride down is free. By the time we got up there, we really wanted a ride down. It was drizzling, but that didn't stop the biting flies. Even the dog was aggravated by them. There were some workmen along the way, all of whom were wearing mosquito netting over their faces. They knew about the bugs; we didn't.
The Winner Creek trail starts right near the Mt. Alyeska trail, but doesn't isn't a climb at all. It just gently rises and falls in a nice gentle walk, about 5 miles or so. It was a beautiful hike in fall colors. I brought my "bug juice" but the biting flies weren't there. Maybe they prefer the higher elevations of Mt. Alyeska, or maybe it's past their season.
We'll hike up Flattop once more this season, then it will be time to think about taking up skijoring instead of hiking.