19

    Mar

  1. Into the Whites.
After 6 months of waiting, I finally cleared the wait list and was entered into the White Mountains 100 race that starts THIS Sunday. I’ve been in a glass case of emotion this week with the ups and downs. “I’m getting in. I’m not getting in. I’m getting in.” I’ve trained all winter for this and hope the course proves to be as fun and beautiful as I remember it to be.
I should finish sometime Monday morning. See you on the other side…

    Into the Whites.

    After 6 months of waiting, I finally cleared the wait list and was entered into the White Mountains 100 race that starts THIS Sunday. I’ve been in a glass case of emotion this week with the ups and downs. “I’m getting in. I’m not getting in. I’m getting in.” I’ve trained all winter for this and hope the course proves to be as fun and beautiful as I remember it to be.

    I should finish sometime Monday morning. See you on the other side…

  2. Comments
    1 note
    14

    Mar

  3. One thing that I have been able to do a lot this winter is ride my bike. If last year was the season to ski, this year is the season to bike. We haven’t had a ton of snow, the temperatures have been decent, and there are so many fat-bikers in South Central Alaska now that the trails are constantly getting packed down.

    I’ve logged over a thousand miles on a fat bike this winter. I’m currently sitting at number 9 on the wait list for the White Mountain 100 race which starts March 24th. I did this race in 2010 and it took 34 hours. If I get in, I think I can cut off a significant amount of time, as I was pretty much just touring it last time.

    Crossing my fingers that several people will drop out last minute!

     

  4. Comments
    1 note
    13

    Mar

  5. Lately I have been reading other adventure blogs and realized how much I missed sharing our adventures.

    This winter Brian was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Needless to say our adventuring has been put on hold for a little while. He’ll be done with chemo at the end of April, just in time to start playing in the mountains again this summer.


    I’ve been thinking back to our epic winter-of-powder last year. Here’s a little video to whet your Alaska appetite. This one was not hard work. Pure fun.

  6. Comments
    1 note
    25

    Sep

  7. And now for our next adventure… we got married!

    And now for our next adventure… we got married!

  8. Comments
    26

    Nov

  9. Craig’s new skis (Taken with instagram)

    Craig’s new skis (Taken with instagram)

  10. Comments
    25

    Nov

  11. Taken with instagram

    Taken with instagram

  12. Comments
    15

    Nov

  13. Lake Clark Traverse, Part II

      Sunday morning

    We got pounded with snow and wind for 15 hours in the tent. I was surprised to wake up the next morning to find our little three season tent still standing. I wouldn’t call it “nice” out the next day, but the wind and snow had stopped and that was good enough for us. 

    Lunch

    We packed up quickly and headed across the next valley. We were anxious to get down to Twin Lakes where we were getting picked up the following day. We had slept at 5200 feet and the lake was at around 2500, so we figured the weather would be a lot better down there.

    Our first glimpse of the Lower Twin Lake…

    Heading down towards Twin Lakes

    We got down to the final slope and finally saw the sun. But then we saw the nasty bushwhack that came between us and the lake. This is a beautiful area and we would love to come back here and explore around the other side of the lake.

    Lower Twin Lake

    Resting before the bushwhack…

    Resting before bushwhack to the lake

    We go through the worst part of the bushwhack and came out into the sun. We decided to rest and take a lunch break now that we were out of the bad weather. The mosquitoes found us within two minutes of us stopping…

    The mosquitos were bad

    We traversed along the lake as long as our legs would take us and found a good place to camp. This was one of our prettiest campsites of the summer. We didn’t spend too much time outside, though, the mosquitoes were thick!

    Last night campsite on Twin Lakes

    The next day we had a few minutes of peace before the bugs found us…

    Breakfast on Twin Lakes

    After hours and hours of traversing along the lake we finally made it to our pickup spot!

    Still waiting

    Our ride out…

    Pickup on Twin Lakes

    The pilot asked if we were in a hurry to get back to Anchorage, and if not, if we didn’t mind stopping at the other end of the lake to visit the Park Rangers, who were his friends. We said that was fine, of course. We took off from one end of the lake and were back at the other end within minutes. It was crazy to see all of that land that we traversed on foot go by in just minutes.

    We stopped at the Park Ranger cabin and chatted with them about our adventures and got some good info on places to explore the next time we are in the area.

    About an hour later, we took off back for Anchorage…

    Flying through Lake Clark Pass

    Flight home…

    Brian copilot

    The plane face!

    Plane face

    A cool river near Lake Clark Pass…

    We flew by some awesome glaciers…

    Flying through Lake Clark Pass

    Two hours later, we arrived back in Anchorage at Lake Hood…

    Landing in Anchorage, Lake Hood

  14. Comments
    14

    Nov

  15. Turquoise Lake to Twin Lake Traverse, Lake Clark National Park

    Flying to Lake Clark National Park

    Early August we flew to Lake Clark National Park to do a traverse. We got dropped off on Turquoise Lake.

    Turquiose Lake

    We hiked up onto the ridge above Turquoise Lake to camp. The plan was to stay there and explore for two nights and then continue on towards Twin Lakes.

    Above Turquiose Lake

    Napping above Turquoise Lake…

    Napping with bear spray

    The next day we explored a ridge line above our camp. It snowed off an on all day. It was August 5th.

    Hiking in the fog

    Yet another snow storm

    Because the wind was blowing hard off and on, we had to keep moving the tent that night. The final resting place for the tent was in this hole. It was the only protection from the wind that we could find. Later along the way, we would see a hole in the ground and say, “Hey, that looks like a good camping hole.”

    Camping in a hole to avoid the wind

    Near our first camp…

    Near our first campsite

    The next day we packed up and headed over the first pass. We got blasted with wind in our face as soon as we came over the pass. You can see our route in this photo. We headed up the valley to the right of the patch of the snow and up over the low point on the ridge line to the right. The wind was so strong that it knocked us both down at times.

    Heading to our second campsite

    Arriving over the next we thought we might get a break from the wind, but instead we could see a band of snow blowing sideways down the next valley. Good times!

    Looking down valley for our second destination

    The view from the second pass…

    From the top of the first pass

    We fought our way down into the next valley and up into a cool gorge where we had to maneuver around boulders. The gorge narrowed considerably and I wondered it we were going to be able to find a way out. Soon we came up on an almost vertical wall of snow and a very steep scree field. We decided the scree slope was less steep and clawed our way up it in the wind and snow.

    The scree field from the top…

    Looking down the steep scree slope we came up

    Over the top of the last pass for the day the wind now pushed us from behind. This was a cool area, but we really didn’t get to enjoy it much. We quickly setup our tent, made dinner during a half hour weather break, and then into the tent to wait out the storm for another 15 hours.

    At the top of the pass, wind pushing us down Campsite number two

     More to come!                 

  16. Comments
    29

    Aug

  17. More Denali Highway

    Here are some more photos from the rest of our trip across the Denali Highway. I am working on about five final posts that describe the two big trips we took in August. One was to Lake Clark National Park and the other was in Wrangell St. Elias National Park.

    We ended our summer of travel with two awesome traverses in the most remote areas we have been to all summer. The weather was not ideal, the terrain was harsh, but if I had the choice I would do it all over again. Maybe not in August, though.

  18. Comments
    28

    Aug

  19. Waterfall Creek and Alpine Creek, Denali Highway

    Waterfall Creek

    The Denali Highway is different than the park in many ways. There are not as many rules. I’m not sure there are any rules. You can drive, camp, build a fire, ride an ATV, hunt and fish anywhere. I love that Denali National Park does all the work it does to protect the land from people. It is so necessary. We definitely need to work to protect this planet from ourselves.

    But sometimes it’s annoying to have to follow all of the rules, ride the bus, get a permit for this, and a permit for that, watch a video and listen to people lecture you on Leave No Trace principles. Yeah, I got it.

    So for that there is the Denali Highway. Outside of Denali National Park, but still in a very beautiful and scenic area of Alaska, and surprisingly not trashed. The visitors here are a little more rough than the ones you see in the park, a lot more Alaskan, and a whole lot cooler (except for the ones who crap on the side of the road and leave toilet paper, or the ones who bring their ten person family filled RV into a full campground in the middle of the night and proceed to feed their kids marshmallows and let them run all over the campground until 2 am).

    After leaving the park Brian and I took some well needed showers near the park entrance and headed east across the state on the Denali Highway.

    Above Waterfall Creek off the  Denali Highway

    Brian has a knack for finding really cool places, just by looking at a map. He had this route mapped out up Waterfall Creek, and it did not disappoint.

    Lower lake at Waterfall Creek

    You don’t have to go in very far for this hike and there are two cool lakes as a reward near the end.

    Wildflower meadow

    Wildflower meadow.

    Alpine Creek Valley

    We decided to head up to the pass behind Waterfall Creek and the intent was to descend down to Alpine Creek and head back out to the road that way. But looking down into the next valley, it was raining and really steep to get down to. So we decided to head back the way we came. On a nice day though, this would be a very cool traverse.

    We started the hike about 10 miles east of the Susitna River bridge, and just past the lodge at Alpine Creek. A map of our route below…

  20. Comments
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