Sable Pass-Calico Creek-Sanctuary River

3 07 2014

We got a very late start on the trip. I forgot what a hassle dealing with getting a backcountry permit in Denali & viewing videos. It took forever. We had to wait for everyone else (3 other groups) to figure out where they wanted to go first, before we could all watch the video together. Ahhh, love dealing with all the bureaucracy of the park service. We then raced to buy bus tickets and were able to jump on the 2 o’clock camper bus. A small victory. Until the bus broke down at Savage River. Delayed us for another 1 hour +. At Savage, I got attacked by sea gulls while waiting for the new bus. Of all the things that could go wrong on a packrafting trip in Denali,  I didn’t anticipate sea gulls as being a threat. I’m not a fan of birds to begin with (unless they are on my plate), and I was attacked twice! By four different birds! I think they knew I have a vendetta against birds……At Savage the two birds started dive bombing me (I was eating my sandwich), they stole it out of my hands while I was taking a bite! Even after they got my sandwich they kept coming back and trying to attack me. So far, the trip isn’t off to a good start…..

Kasey & Ryan at the beginning of the trip. Kasey is holding up five fingers, indicating we started the trip at 5 o’clock. Technically it was more like 4:45…..

5 o clock

The hassle of getting a backcountry permit was well worth it. I never get tired of the amazing views in Denali.

reflection

scenery

As we made our way up the Teklanika River, Ryan & I got attacked by sea gulls again! They dive bombed me with talons out! Ryan thought it was funny, I, not so much. The first sea gulls must have told these guys about my great sandwich……

Nice rack! Caribou skull & rack at Calico creek. The hiking was top notch. I love high tundra hiking! We saw 10-12 sheep lying down on the tundra at Calico creek. The hiking was fairly easy with breathtaking views!

Nice Rack

My tent. I love the Mid! And Alaska summers-this is at 11:30 pm!

tent

Another shot. Sun is nowhere close to being down.

tent sunset

Kasey studying the map at the pass, dropping into Sanctuary.

kasey map

We got to glissade/sled much of the way down the pass! Our butts got numb from sledding, so after awhile, Kasey & Ryan decided to use their packs as a sleds.kasey sledding

My Yak. Love, love the new big butt & whitewater spray skirt! This is the river that flows out of Refuge Valley & into the Sanctuary River. We lucked out with fantastic weather!

my yak

Kasey taking off into the Sanctuary. River levels were pretty high, but not flooding like the rivers farther east in the Park. It made for a fast float out-about 3 hours from put-in to take-out.

Kasey paddling

Kasey & Ryan. Gorgeous trip! Although, I think I only have patience to deal with the park service once a year.  🙂

kasey ryan paddle

 

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Clean Air Challenge 2013

21 05 2013

I woke up Saturday, May 18, to snow and ice covering my truck and the streets of Anchorage. Perfect weather conditions for a 120 mile bike ride! The Clean Air Challenge is a benefit for the American Lung Association and the ride is from Houston, Alaska to Talkeetna, Alaska and back the next day.

Ryan, Kasey, me, and Tom at the start in Houston, Alaska.

start

We were definitely questioning the safety of the riding conditions, and Kasey had been really sick. We decided that she would drive support crew to Talkeetna while the rest of us tried to ride. We ended up taking turns driving there (thus I only ended up riding 100 miles) and leaving the truck in Talkeetna the next day.

Ryan riding on one of the better parts of the bike path. Ice, ruts, snow, and strong headwinds plagued us for the first few miles, where the going was extremely slow. Then the roads were wet enough (but no longer icy) which made riding on the road less dangerous than the trail. After that, strong headwinds and wet conditions were all we had to deal with 🙂

Ryan Snow

Ice build up on my bike. We had one or two gears left by the time we got to Willow, even after stopping to chip ice from our bikes.

ice build up

Mike Morgansen from REI working on de-icing my bike in Willow. Thank heaven Dan & Mike brought a propane heater to help with the process! We really appreciated their (and all the volunteers) help and good cheer (Fulvia)!

Mike

Kasey excited about the ride!

kasey snow

We arrived in Talkeetna to a band playing, an awesome spread of food, sweet hotel, and I got to catch up with friends I missed on the trail. I was excited that Gayle joined us for dinner-it was great to catch up! Then we headed into town to celebrate Kasey’s birthday with friends in the area at the Fairview and West Rib…..you can’t go to Talkeetna and not and enjoy the local flavor!

The weather started clearing Saturday night and as I went to bed I saw Denali peeking out from the clouds. Sunday, we woke up to bluebird and sunshine!!!

Only 6 more weeks of winter since I saw my shadow?

deck

A view of the Alaska Range & Denali from the deck of the Talkeetna Alaska Lodge.

denali

The whole ride back was bluebird, NO WIND!, and warm-well relatively speaking 🙂 We enjoyed great views of the Alaska Range and the Talkeetnas the whole way back. Even with sore muscles, we made great time on the way back to Houston. Without the wind & snow/ice it was physically and mentally easier…..

Kasey riding with a view of Denali and the Alaska Range behind her.

Kasey Denali

We had an amazing ride! Thanks to everyone that volunteered and sponsored our team! Can’t wait till next year!





Skiing Prince William Sound and the Paulson Bay Cabin

2 04 2013

We arrived in Whittier for our spring ski trip to find that Whittier had officially become a slurpee. From the streets to the water in the boat harbor, everything was slushy with a little bit of snow on top. Thank heaven for Extratuffs! We left later than we had hoped due to gale force winds and high seas (best to let that settle down a bit), but still made it out of Whittier by early afternoon.

Perfect snow for a snowball fight. Eva nailing Dan with a snowball.eva & dan in the harborHard to believe this is saltwater 🙂 It was much more like a margarita-just add tequila! The view right in front of the cabin.The Bay This is what we found upon landing on the beach…we had a little bit of work ahead of us before we could play. The cabin was snowed in on three sides, but luckily the front was an easy dig out. According to the log book, no one had been there all winter and we had a little bit of issues getting the propane stove working properly. Once we got it to fire up, it really cranked! We were super happy on this soggy trip for a good stove. Temps ranged 30-40F, with lots of rain (as should be expected in a rain forest), really wet snow, and one small window of sunshine!stairs

Dan clearing out the top of the stairs.Dan digging out stairs

What kind of backcountry ski trip would it be with out a keg or two of Alaska’s finest? Jon showing us the best way to carry a full keg, something he learned well on our last PWS ski trip.Jon Keg

Ryan skinning through the snowy forest.ryan skinningAfter a snowy night and rainy/foggy morning we were happy to see some high clouds & hints of blue sky.

The beach.the beach Part of a spine and skeleton that washed up during low tide.skeletonWe took advantage of the short window of no rain and the only spot of blue sky/no fog in the area and skinned up to get some skiing in. We found all the steep stuff had slid, and the few areas that hadn’t were pretty suspect. Mostly rolling hills surround the cabin, with any downhill skiing to be had quite a ways away. Great touring though-it’d be the perfect area for a metal edge xc backcountry ski.

We took a modest run (on the left shoulder). It was slow as hell with the super wet, dense snow. Ryan, on his snowboard, didn’t fare as well as the rest of us skiers 😦mountainJon, taking advantage of the warm, dry spell (about 40F). Behind him filled in with fog (earlier we had views of Cochrane Bay.) Soon, all the boys were topless. jon Ryan, Eva, and Dan breaking trail. Setting the skin track was a little bit of work in the super wet & dense snow.skinningJon & Parker with Cochrane Bay behind them.jon and parkerEva helping me grill up the chicken satay. To say the least, we ate pretty well on this trip. Bacon & sauerkraut stuffed reindeer hot links, grilled pineapple wrapped with bacon, and the chicken satay were highlights. I think we all might have actually gained weight on this trip….eva bbqChicken Satay. I was pretty proud of how this turned out, even though it was a little more work than I had planned for a camping trip 🙂 I’ll have to fine-tune the recipe to make it a bit easier in the backcountry. It was super worth it though 🙂chicken Satay

 

 





Early Season Skiing at the Jewel

24 10 2012

With blue skies and fresh snow, we decided to ski the Jewel Glacier (an early season gem) along with every other backcountry skier in Southcentral. Holy smokes it was crowded! I would’ve thought the 3.5 mile approach would’ve detered a few peeps….but not so much.

View of the Milk Glacier. Boone ditched us in the parking lot to ski the Milk, and on the lower right of the glacier, you can barely see Boone and his friends skinning up. They made the right decision to avoid the crowds and ski the Milk, they had it all to themselves.

  Boone & his friends skinning up the Milk.

View of Crow Pass and Crystal Lake. Rumor has it 12 people stayed in the cabin at the lake the night before. We saw a bunch more people headed in with big packs on our way out…..glad we did this as a day trip.

Kasey enjoying the fresh pow.

Ryan dropping in on a good line.

Kasey dropping a knee.

Kasey and Ryan headed back on the Crow Pass trail.





Skiing at Hatcher’s Pass

14 03 2012

We decided to switch things up a bit and head to Hatcher’s Pass to get some touring in. I usually only head up there early in the season, and was excited to find nice light powder, a few untracked lines, and good stability.

The crew.

Lee getting after it.

Jon making some turns.

Michelle aka Skittles.

Jon on the uptrack.

Kasey and Ryan.

Kasey dropping a knee.

Another beautiful day in the Talkeetnas. One of many spectacular views.

Michelle about to drop in on the sweetest, untracked long line.

Kasey wrapping up a great line and a beautiful weekend.








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