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 Still Fat, Still Old, Still Climbing
Alaskan Adventures Continue
back to Spring 2003- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -M May 2003- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - on to June 2003

May 4th wasn't exactly a pleasant day, but I decided to go up the Bird Ridge Trail anyway, because it is the first trail to clear of snow in the spring. Its steep southern exposure melts off the snow and encourages the early growth of vegetation, which makes Bird Ridge a popular early spring trek. There was a bit of sputtering rain and gusty winds making it an uncomfortable climb, so I had no intention of going to Birds Eye Peak as I did last year. The big news of the day was the blooming of the very first arctic lupine. When I heard about it, I was contemplating turning around and going home, but the lupine, sighted just above the "meadow" level, made a fine goal for the day. The meadow had quite a few smaller flowers too, but the lupines were not blooming-- except for one (below, top left). Click on any of the flowers to get info on them. The lower left pic is my dog next to a tree that was apparently blown down in a big windstorm we had in March.
bird ridge collage
The plan was to climb Portage Pass today, so I drove 50 miles south with that in mind, only to find the entire area drenched in rain. I headed back toward Anchorage to find some sun. We stopped at the McHugh Creek trailhead and climbed up to Table Rock. It was mostly cloudy with heavily gusting winds, but not raining. The trail starts in the forest with unusually large trees for the region. As it opens up to the sun a bit higher, there were patches of wildflowers and even a pair of marblewing butterflies trying to mate between wind gusts. You can click on the butterfly or here to find out more about marblewings.
table rock collage
Well, of course, I had to climb Flattop in May. It was a blustery day down in the flatlands, with wind gusts to 50 mph in the foothills. I don't know what the winds were at the summit, but they were the worst I've ever seen, so I didn't take my usual stroll around the perimeter. I just hunkered down in the windbreak, gave my dog his snack, and took a single picture between gusts. There were still plenty of other hikers along the trail, although many chose not to go to the summit because of the high winds on the rocky scramble at the top.

Thought you might like to see some of the quiet scenes of an Alaskan spring. All these photos were taken along city trails, here in Anchorage. All except the moose were photographed June 8th. The moose was seen in late May, in Taku Lake. Top left is a Red-necked Grebe; top center, a Canadian Tiger Swallowtail; top right, Wild Iris. I found all of them around University Lake. An angry flock of gulls screeched above me as I photographed the babies (lower, right), but I could not identify them. They were in a freshwater lake off Tudor Road.
spring scenes

Flattop in some very early (and unusual) spring climbs
On to June's adventures: Twin Peaks, etc.

Back to Last Year's Adventures, 2002
Or two years ago, 2001

Back to where it all began in 2000
Enjoy the Flowers Along Alaska's Hiking Trails

Butterlies Along Alaska's Hiking Trails
Contact the Fat Old Lady