Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Little Exploring

 Nothing like starting a four-day weekend with a bit of exploring! 

First stop, Beluga Point. A viewing point off the Seward Highway along the Turnagain Arm (arguably the most scenic drive in America), we really hadn't planned on stopping by there today. But we missed the turnoff to McHugh Creek about a mile or so back and had to turn around. As we pulled in, we spied the low tide and the access to the rock outcropping from the side of the highway. It was too tempting to resist checking it out.

Beluga Point is named as such because on a good clear day, you can actually see pods of beluga whales jumping in and out of the water. And across the highway are cliffs in which you can sometimes see white Dall sheep just chilling out. We weren't so lucky with wildlife viewing today.  The view, however, despite it being dark and cloudy, was still spectacular.

We had to climb under a railing (with a sign that clearly stated "No Trespassing, Property of the Alaska Railroad"), down the slope, across the tracks to get down to the small beach below. 

Of course, the girls had to find themselves walking sticks.

It got a bit chilly on the coast, so after several pictures, we clambered into the car and drove to our original destination: McHugh Creek. I had spied a picture of a waterfall from the creek on the internet somewhere and figured we could hike the trail from the highway to find it. But as we drove into the parking area ($5 fee), lo and behold, the falls were right there.

 My pretty little girl.
 I swear there was always an adult within easy reach to provide these little ones from falling to their deaths. 

 Afterwards, we drove back up past Anchorage, through the cute little town of Palmer, and over to Wasilla (Sara's hometown), with a mission to find a field of irises that I also saw on the internet. I figured it was in the Palmer Hay Flats. With it being so large, it had three access points, and I insisted on trying them all.  The irises are on the verge of dying off until next year and I didn't want to miss it.  This was the final access point at Reflections Lake next to the Knick River.
 It was a nice mile hike around the lake. Mosquitoes were everywhere! They were even trying to bite our scalps through our hair. We found a little field of irises, but you could tell they were thinning out. And, the ground was so boggy, I didn't want to step in any further. So we just continued the hike around.
This was on the last leg of the loop, overlooking the Knick River.

In the end, we didn't find the iris field. Why? Because I had mistakenly thought they were in the Palmer Hay Flats instead of the EKLUTNA flats. Duh. We actually passed them on the way home. LOL. But again, the iris season is on the decline. So next year mid-June we will be sure to be there and capture images of them in their glory. Either way, we still discovered a couple new trails and a bunch of great pictures.  There are hiking trails everywhere you turn in Alaska and it seems that you just can't go wrong with any of them. There is always a fabulous backdrop or stunning vista to take in, always a nice little reminder of the wondrous world we live in.

1 comment:

  1. I love reading all your blogs and the photos! I'm so glad you all are having a great time up there and getting as much out of Alaska as possible while you are there!