Beaver Creek – Summit (no) Trail

19 06 2018

Kasey and I decided to take advantage of an early (hot) June weekend and explore her new stomping grounds in Fairbanks. Beaver Creek is a National Wild & Scenic River just north of Fairbanks in the White Mountains with road access. We slept in and got a little bit of a late start-we put in for the 35 mile float starting at Nome Creek at 1 pm._J6A8588Beaver Creek is a Class 1 river that meanders through low, rolling mountains. It’s beautiful in every direction. _J6A8631_J6A8635Lots of dead wood from previous forest fires. I love the interior weather-we had mostly hot & sunny, with thunderstorms rolling through at jet speed (which was a welcome temperature difference) and rolling out just as fast. We never got more than a couple drops of rain, however, surrounding us it looked like some areas were getting downpours._J6A8660_J6A8674_J6A8679Late evening Alaska sun! We finished the 35 mile float in 8 hours, including stopping to cook dinner on a gravel bar.  We arrived at the Borealis LaFevre cabin well before we expected to. It was a great break from the bugs, which were getting worse & worse. Unfortunately, the area surrounding the cabin was trashed by previous users 😦 The cabin gets heavy use all year long, but we were disappointed that users hadn’t been taking care of it. We found the small window inside the cabin not seated properly, so it allowed mosquitos in….Kasey got the majority of the buzzing & bites, as she slept closest to the window. After a few bites, I burrowed down in my sleeping bag to get some relief. It was still much better to be inside the cabin than out, mosquito-wise!_J6A8712_J6A8749_J6A8757Tussocks! We found the winter trail and started our 20 mile hike through the swamp, tussocks, and burnt forest. After about a mile, we found a channel that we had to unpack our boats, re-inflate them, and paddle the short distance to the other side to continue our journey. IMG_3096IMG_2886Eventually, we found the Summit Trail, which started off nicely-a boardwalk through the tundra! Which quickly turned into bushwhacking on the boardwalk, as the environment has taken over. Not too long after that, the boardwalk disappears, so does the faint trail & it’s climbing over downed trees from a previous fire & bushwhacking through alders at the same time. Occasionally, we would find the trail again for a short time. And follow it until it suddenly stopped. IMG_2895IMG_2903IMG_2910IMG_2918Wildflowers! They were starting to pop up everywhere! It was super hot & there wasn’t much water available (I got a little dehydrated). We eventually found small kettle ponds to purify water from. IMG_2923Eventually, we got to the easy ridge walking! We thought we might camp up high to (hopefully) avoid the majority of the mosquitos, but even on the ridges the mosquitos were bad. It felt like we had our own, personal clouds of them following us.IMG_2928IMG_2932We had originally thought we could do the 20 mile hike in one day (which can be done), but allotted two days. After a late start that morning, and lots of bushwhacking, we found the Summit Shelter unoccupied and in great condition, so we decided to stay there, instead of pressing on to the highway and getting to the truck at 1 AM.  It took us 9.5-10 hours to go 12 miles to the Summit Shelter. I think that’s a new record for slow 🙂IMG_4452_J6A8775The 8 miles from the Summit Shelter to the Elliot Highway are easy, trail is in great shape (it’s well used, crazy difference between that part of the trail and the 12 miles between cabins). We had some post holing through snow, but it was almost a welcome relief from the hot sun 🙂IMG_2943

 





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





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!








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