Friday, July 27, 2012

Arctic Valley Hike

 This is a perfect afternoon/evening hike with the children, especially if you want to try a place very close to the area.  The girls had their weekly Thursday golf lesson at the Moose Run Golf Course at Ft. Rich anyway (which is right on Arctic Valley Road). We figured it would be nice to try out the trail, especially on such a sunny day.

A few miles up, the road ends at the Alpenglow Ski Resort and trailhead parking lot.  There is a $5 parking fee, so come prepared.

The trail can be tackled straight from the parking lot, to the left of the Fee Station kiosk, or do what we did and cut through the resort grounds and start on the trail right under the ski lifts. It'll lead you to the left of the resort, away from the view of the Anchorage bowl.
 Bring mosquito repellent as it is very buggy here, especially when the trail runs along the creek.

 The trail is one mile to the saddle between Rendezvous Peak to the right and Mount Gordon Lyon to the left. The trail continues to both peaks, but we decided against it.

 Sophia, looking back towards the way we came.

 It always helps to use a motivating factor like a waterfall, bridge, or lookout point to fire kids up to finish the hike. Liv had been lacking her usual gusto, whining a bit as we began the hike. About a half mile in, we caught sight of a small snow field just below the saddle. Suddenly, the promise of playing with snow in July renewed her spirits and we had to warn her to slow down many a time.

 Unfortunately, due to the warmer weather, the snow field was more icy than expected. We stepped carefully for a brief time and headed back.

 Dylan, pointing out Rendezvous Peak from the saddle.

 The view of South Fork Eagle River Valley below.  The road down there is Hiland Drive.

 The poor hubby twisted his injury-prone ankle on the way down.  Uneven terrain can be tricky.  Hiking poles will help (although it didn't help him as much).

Of course, I had to do a bit of berry scouting.  I spotted many blueberry bushes, but no blossoms or young unripe berries. I'm hoping this is just because it is too early to see them. Crowberries are starting to exhibit bright green berries right now (very late August they will be ripe). There were a bunch of moss berry plants around as well. 

If you plan to do this hike, keep in mind the military closes the road down at 10 pm each night. Allow time enough to be beyond the gates by then.

Happy hiking!

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