Monday, July 27, 2009

North of Denali State Park

I been thinking with the building of the Anc to Fai intertie a number of years ago there should be some trails into the NW Talkeetna Mountains north of Denali State Park. So with a free weekend, I tried out a candidate since I have been itching to get in there for quite some time. success!

You can see the 4 wheeler trail in the foreground which eventually leads to the left

You knew there had to be some dog photos in here someplace :) Rock on the left,

Scree on the Right

Up at the head of the Valley this on the right

and on the left

and this lake below them.

Looking back the way I came.

There seemed to be considerable traffic, enough to place a foot path in places, in this valley. I saw some kids on a quad down near the highway but nobody in the valley.

what a find, now I suspect there are similar quad tracks towards the NW Talkeetnas spread up towards Cantwell. I am beginning to think there is probably one back of the Igloo?

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Snowbird as in the glacier not the Alaskan heading to Arizona for the winter.

Right after she took a complete dunking crossing a snowfield. I am glad that happened to her and not me :)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Tombstone Mountain Backpack

We hiked into the Tombstone Mountains which are 30 miles NE of Dawson City in the Yukon. The Tombstones are part of the Ogilvie mountains. The area was officially made a Territorial Park while we were in the mountains, but were a provisional unit for a number of years.

Its an 8 mile hike from the Dempster Highway to Grizzly Lake where we spent the first night. After you leave the parking lot you follow a creek, then climb steadily to the ridge, follow it and eventually drop down to the valley floor. We've never found it an easy hike especially if you get a clear hot day, but if you go early enough there is water and snow up high to replenish.

Grizzly Lake is behind Valley in this photo. (Click on any photo to enlarge.)

Nicki on typical terrain playing the Pied Piper roll with the dogs. The dogs carried their own food which consists of Eagle Pack Power and dehydrated meat as a supplement. Rocket also carried our apres-hiking shoes. Valley also carried some fuel and food.

It snowed on us the night we arrived at the lake and stayed around for the next day. You know something is up when the pitter-patter sound of the rain on the tent changes to something softer falling. The few folks we met on the trail asked us how the dogs liked the trail, we just laughed, the dogs were having the times of their lives.

After we waited out the snowstorm, spending the day relaxing, snoozing and reading we headed up and over the pass to Twin Lakes. This was the only "treacherous" part of the hike, snow on ice on scree.

Up in the pass to Twin Lakes with Rocket looking back towards Grizzly Lake.

Looking past Jago up valley beyond Twin Lakes.

Campsite at Twin Lakes.

I always forget something, on this trip I forgot the windscreen to the stove. It blew pretty good everyday so we had to improvise. We also forgot our hiking staffs which was a major pain the rump. I also ripped out my pants in the front the first day, boy what a pain that was. Drafty :)

On a walk to look at the upper lake.

Time to take a break.

You'd never know this girl was so afraid of life she was unapproachable for years. She has adrenal gland failure (Addison's disease) so we plan life around her Percorten injection. In this case, we had it the day we departed.

I love this picture. I have never been on a hike where the weather changed so quick, so often and so drastically. It went from hot to cold to hot again many, many times.

Two happy girls.

Valley! We used the Flexi leashes 26 feet long(8 m) of the ribbon variety. The rock ate away at the ribbon so we almost had complete failures a couple of times. I like the length and weight of those units but maybe the web variety is the way to go.

Can you spot our tent in this picture?

Using a snowline to climb out of the valley back up to the pass...much easier walking than walking on scree or negotiating giant rocks.

The dogs were always after ground squirrels and marmots. Jago(Babe) spent the time at Grizzly Lake by the outhouse which had a resident marmot. That damn marmot was pesky. He jumped out of the john, threw a giant rock holding the seat down at me, then ran over and kicked my shin. LOL.

Jago leaving Grizzly Lake to head back home.

Nice view looking back to the lake from the approach ridge.

Looking down at the Dempster and if you look closely, you can see the trailhead lot.

Rocket! No trip to the Yukon is complete without swimming in the Yukon.

We do a long backpacking trip into the wilderness every year. We like to get away where it is quiet and their aren't many people or other disturbances. About the only criteria we have is we like to find a place to hike without trails. The dogs really love these adventures, after we finished they slept for 3 days. We grow closer to them and they to us.