Best Pizza Delivery EVER-The Tolovana Hot Springs trip!

10 03 2014

tolovana sign

The trail to Tolovana is part roller coaster, part luge. On xc skis it was interesting 🙂 Starting out at 2000 ft, dropping to 850 ft, then up to 2120 ft, back down to 1000 ft made the trail a little bit of a climb/steep descent over 10 miles. Skins on the uphills made it significantly easier, although the trail was packed enough to hike. We lucked out with daytime temps in the 20’s and around 0F at night. We enjoyed mostly sunny skies, brilliant stars, and the faint glow of the northern lights on the horizon. Pretty sweet weather & temps!

Map of the ten mile trail to Tolovona & elevation gain.

THS11MileTrailMap

The trail looking back towards the Elliott Highway. We were thankful for the snow machine track, which kept the trail nice and groomed in many parts. Although, parts of the trail were super icy (mostly down low and up on top of the dome.) trail

The crew-Ben, Becca, Eva, & Dan.crew heading in

When we got to the cabin we had a curious fox show up a few times the first day. Becca named him Albert.foxy

Sunset from the Log cabin. This cabin was pretty sweet-equipped with solar panels, LED lights, and an oven!cabin sunset

The middle spring! The best soaker-love the temperature control with the hoses. We did manage to get 7 of us in here, although it was tight!hot spring

Saturday we went for a xc ski excursion down the trail towards the Livengood-Dunbar trail. There is tons of evidence everywhere of a recent forest fire. This is one of two windsocks on the icy runway.wind sock

 Ben made fresh bread!bread

Deke and Lorraine made it! They are rock stars for making it on the 10 mile trail with dog teams! Here Deke is riding on the back of Lorraine’s sled.
deke lorraine on dogsled

They brought with them frozen pizzas & beer-couldn’t ask for better friends 🙂

In land in front of the cabin had been cleared and was at a slight slope AND glare ice. When we saw them drive in, we all ran out to help in our down booties. To say the least we weren’t as much help as we could have been & I almost got clotheslined by the dog team line into a tree. Apparently, I did a great rendition of the running man in my down booties. Once I got enough traction, I went inside and put on my boots-more suitable footwear for helping 🙂 Lorraine & Deke on dogsled

dogs

It was super fun taking the dogs off the line an setting up a picket line. We helped Deke and Lorraine give the dogs fish head meatball snacks and put hay down for their beds. Later on while we ate our pizza, the dogs got their dinner.dogs on the line

Deke & Lorraine with Deke’s team leaders.D & L

Lorraine sharing a moment with one of her dogs.Lorraine & dog

Pizza! It was a fabulous feast. Love, love, love having access to an oven!pizza1

A few of us enjoying a beer and a soak. Absolutely amazing place-can’t wait to go back!

beer hot spring





Xc Skiing on Ice-the Crescent Saddle Cabin Trip

12 02 2014

We had originally reserved the Crescent Saddle cabin in November, when backcountry skiing in February seemed realistic. While Georgia seems to be getting snow, we don’t have much in Alaska……We’re having the strangest winter I’ve EVER seen. Temps in the 50’s and corn @ Alyeska in January, loads of rain, and lots of sun too. Temperatures have finally settled to normal and we decided to get out of town and head into the cabin as a xc ski trip instead of backcountry ski trip. The trail up to Carter Lake was glaciated, but not bad to walk on with ice grippers. When we got to Crescent lake this is what we encountered…..Image

The lake had frozen in many spots with these ice waves! It made skiing challenging 🙂 There were also a few spots with completely clear/flat ice-perfect for ice skating. But they were far and few between on the east side of the lake.

Image

There was wind drifted snow 1-2 inches deep too. That afternoon we skied to the west side of the lake-more snow (less ice) at first, then things drastically changed to glare ice and pretty much no snow….It was a cornucopia of conditions 🙂

Image

Dan skiing by with headlamps on his wrists.

Image

Ghost of Dan, aurora, and ski poles. Headlamps on his ankles.

Image

We didn’t get the aurora show everyone else got, due to steep mountains surrounding the lake, but we did get a little bit.

Image

Early the next morning the aurora came out again, dancing with faint pink & purples as the lake ice cracked and groaned with sounds of growing. Overnight temps were around 0 to -5f.

Image

Dan & Ben headed back towards Carter Lake. Another sunny, bluebird day. Can’t complain about the Vitamin D!Image

Another sea of wavy ice.

Image





Arctic to Indian

16 04 2012

 

Kasey and I have been talking for weeks about doing the Arctic to Indian ski traverse. The weather was perfect Saturday so we headed out early for the 22 mile ski. The snow bridges and trail were both in great shape.

A stitched together pano of  Ship Creek.

Me & Kasey.

Sunshine turned to cloudy, moody weather as we approached Indian Pass and the Turnagain Arm.

Our first glimpse of the inlet. Kasey at Indian Pass. The snow was nice and soft, cushioning our falls on our waxless skis 🙂 The descent was better than I hoped (and remembered.)

It took us a pretty easy eight hours, stopping for snacks and pics, enjoying the views along the way.

 

 

 





Center Ridge, Again

2 05 2011

Sabrina joined me for another warm, beautiful spring day of  ski touring at Center Ridge.





Colorado Creek Cabin

26 04 2011

Sometimes, even the best planned trips, don’t go as planned. Six of us were set to spend a four day weekend at the Shrode Lake cabin in Prince William Sound for a weekend of skiing, kayaking, hot tubbing in our portable hot tub, and two kegs of Midnight Sun finest. It’s fair to say we weren’t planning on packing light for this trip, to say the least 🙂 But, at the last minute, gale force winds and 10 ft seas kept us out of the Sound, so we checked the weather around the state, quickly repacked our gear (much less of it!) and headed north to Fairbanks where warm, sunny skis greeted us. We spent the night in Fairbanks with Katie and Will, and then the six of us headed north to the White Mountains and the Colorado Creek cabin.

The trail is about 14 miles each way, mostly in and out of a forest of spruce trees-many that had been through a forest fire in recent years. Although, once you rise in elevation,get near the cabin, the views open up to the beautiful white mountains. 

Sabrina, Parker, and Jon headed in through burned spruce trees.

Lots of windswept snow in the pass above the cabin.

Dan (in the sleeping bag), Sabrina, Jon, and Parker suntanning-Alaska style!

Lots of chill-axing went on once we reached the cabin.

Dan reading in the evening light.

The White Mountains.

Dan and Parker skiing off into the sunset.

Sabrina showing off her ninja moves at sunset.

It ended up to be a great last minute xc ski trip-allbeit not the backcountry ski trip we had planned. Next year!





Lost Lake and the Clemens Cabin

4 02 2011

View from the Clemens Cabin.

Friday night Kasey, Jon, Sabrina, Parker and I headed in to meet Dan at the Clemens cabin.  Kasey and I skinned up the trail, while Jon and Sabrina used ice cleats to negotiate the icy snowmachine trail up to the cabin.  I had to eventually take my skis off (had a problem with one of my skins) and hiked up too. That’s when I had the “Amber Moment” 🙂 Somehow, I wound up falling in the creek while putting on my backpack (it was heavy and threw me off balance.) Oops!

Unfortunately, while we were gone from Dan’s Subaru, someone broke into it at the Lost Lake trailhead and stole my entire backcountry setup between 9:30 pm Friday Jan 28, 2011 and 12:15 pm Jan 30, 2011. My Icelantic Nomad skis (size 168). They’ve been mounted twice, once with Fritschis, and once with Dynafit Verticals that were on them when they got stolen. Also my orange Black Diamond skins that were on them, as well as my blue Garmont Megaride AT/Randonee boots (size 26.5) with Sole Dean Karnazes insoles.  Also missing was Dan’s black Stillwater Nordic Racing fleece vest, an old avalanche shovel, and Kasey’s skate ski poles.  If you have any info on the whereabouts of these items please call me at 907-244-2688 or the Alaska State Troopers at 907-262-4453. I just want my stuff back!

Other than that gigantic loss, we had a great weekend in the mountains.

Clemens Cabin

Saturday morning Dan and Kasey ended up heading in to Lost Lake to get some teleturns in, while Jon, Sabrina, Parker and I went for a xc ski on the snowmachine trails. We quickly found some nearby hills that we decided to try our luck at teleturns in our leather boots and fishscales.

Jon

Jon crashing

Sabrina

Faceplant!

Then Sabrina and Jon decided to huck a cornice on their xc ski gear. I was paparazzi.

Unfortunately, I failed. I missed the shot of Jon mid-air.

Parker

Me

Pano of the mountains near Lost Lake.

City lights of Seward and Big Dipper.

 

Seward city lights lighting up the clouds, Kasey and I used our headlamps to light up the trees.





Portage Lake-Portage Glacier XC ski with Sabrina & Parker/Merry Christmas 2010

29 12 2010

On Christmas day, Sabrina, Parker, and I decided to head out for a chilly (about -10F at the glacier) xc ski across Portage Lake to Portage Glacier.  It was a beautiful, frigid, & sunny day. Suprisingly we had the lake to ourselves.

 

Sabrina and Parker

Chunk of ice in front of Bard Peak 

Sabrina taking Parker’s photo

Portage Glacier

Interesting ice at the top of the glacier

Me and Sabrina dorking it up

Our tracks








%d bloggers like this: