Curry to Clear Creek, Third Time’s a Charm

4 06 2015

Denali train

Kasey and I changed our weekend plans, deciding Friday night to packraft Curry to Clear Creek. Saturday afternoon we were packed & on the Hurricane train out of Talkeetna. It was 80 degrees, blue skies, and our first packraft of the season.The train ended up being very, very late so we didn’t start our 15 mile hike until 3 pm.

denali

We couldn’t complain about the scenery 🙂 Pretty amazing views of Denali and the Alaska Range the whole way. At 80 degrees, it was sweltering outside (especially for early June!). There was still plenty of pockets of snow on the atv trail and I was able to make a little turban on top of my head with my bandana, with snow inside of it. I looked ridiculous, but felt great 🙂

kasey alaska range view

The powerline at the end of the atv trail. We realized/learned a few things on this trip. Doing this early season significantly reduces the schwack. There is a trail of sorts that is mostly under the powerline (it gets overgrown, and sometimes it’s easy to lose, but WORTH looking for). There are parts under the powerline that have been clear cut, with ankle size stumps and branches left. Again, early season makes this so much easier to see all the hazards.

powerline

Kasey at the ridge. We had very few mosquitos up until this point. The mosquitos had been mostly hanging out in the drainages. We were hoping for more of the same on the ridge or a slight breeze to keep them away. We didn’t get that lucky. They were pretty heinous on the ridge. Just hatching and blood thirsty 😦

on the ridge

Another stunning view of Denali and the Alaska Range.

sunset denali

I didn’t imagine it possible. Kasey and I found a way down from the ridge with no bushwhacking through alders. Just ferns & plants. Easiest hike I’ve ever done on this trip. I never thought I’d say that. The ferns, near the river, last time we did this trip were 6-7 feet tall. It was interesting going through them in bear country…..

kasey ferns

Getting boats packed up at the put in to Clear Creek! Water levels were slightly higher, making it super fun, sporty, & splashy! It’s always a fun float, but this time with the water level slightly high, it was even better……

Kasey @ put in

Take out on the Talkeetna River.

take out talkeetna river





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!





2012 Talkeetna Wilderness Woman Contest & Bachelor Ball/Auction

3 12 2012

talkeetna sign

Eva invited me to join her and her friends competing in the Wilderness Woman contest this year. As usual, Talkeetna throws some of the best parties. 52 women competed this year (the most ever!). With only the top 5 advancing to the next round, the competition is fierce. I won my heat, coming from behind (apparently I run faster hauling 10 gallons of water than with an empty bucket), but didn’t make the next round. It was super fun to participate in!running buckets

Becca hauling most of her body weight to the finish line, while a strange looking moose is cheering her on.becca

The 5 women that advanced to Round 2 had to first make their “man” a sandwich, open a beer, and serve it to him on his lazy chair. He wears a Helly Hansen rainsuit for a reason 🙂

sandwich and beer

 

Then, they had to saw some wood, load the sled full of logs, drive the snowmachine pulling the sled around the park, and put the wood in the fire ring. It’s all timed, so only the 3 fastest women advance to the final round.snowmachine The last round again consists of more things any true Alaskan woman should know. Fishing for salmon kicked off round 3.fishing

Next it’s lacing up the snowshoes, shooting a ptarmigan (balloons), climbing a ladder to ring the bell at the Fairview, and killing a two legged moose, before racing off to victory. Here is the winner, a recent transplant from Virginia. She kicked ass!snowshoe

Later, it was time for the Bachelor Auction/Ball, where all the elegible bachelors in Talkeetna strut their stuff, all the proceeds going to benefit victims of domestic violence in the Talkeetna area. As usual in Alaska, the odds are good, but the goods are odd. 🙂bachelors

bachelor 1

Jimmie Sandy, a local musician with my favorite band the Denali Cooks, getting auctioned off.jim sandy

Sharing his gently side, this bachelor wooed the ladies by kissing the back of their hands.a kiss

Not sure where he managed to find a gingham onesy….gingham boy

Even less sure where this guy found this delapadated g string….fur

Even the BBC film crew guys joined the fun!bbc guy

After the auction we found the northern lights and a bonfire….then off to the after party at the Fairview!northern lights





Packrafting Curry to Clear Creek

22 06 2011

Curry to Clear Creek is an amazing combination of backpacking, bushwhacking, packrafting, and a train ride! It’s approximately a 14 mile hike from where the train drops you off, part on an ATV trail, part high tundra hiking, and loads of bushwhacking. Once you reach Clear Creek it’s a 15 mile paddle back to Talkeetna (10 miles of fun, splashy class II/III on Clear Creek through rock gardens and wave trains, then 5 miles of pure slacker easiness on the Talkeetna River).

We lucked out with blue skies and temps in the 70’s, which was on the sweltering side for this Alaskan girl (I don’t know how I ever survived going to school in the desert).

View of Denali from the train.

Dan and Boone in Curry.

Let’s just say there is a few bears in the area. We only saw one……

The Alaska Range with Denali peaking through the clouds on the left.

Caribou!

One of the easier bushwhacks. Most were in 6-8 foot dense alders.

Dan taking a break in the sun.

Our shadows at 11 pm on the tundra.

Boone taking a nap at Clear Creek.

Dan and Boone headed down a small rapid.

***I did this trip again in July of 2012. We saw a note on the packraft.org website that there was a trail under the powerline. We decided to try and find it-it was well worth it! Take the 4 wheeler trail all the way to the powerline. It’s a game trail and from a distance, definitely doesn’t look like it exists through the alders, but it saved us 2-3 hours at least (not to mention, lots of scratches and bruises from the bushwhack.) A few times it fades in the small ravines, but always picks up on the other side. Follow the powerline to the high tundra, camp, then make a bushwhack descent…..*****








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