This may be my last hike of the season before the snows come! I say this because every season has arrived early this year. Flowers were blooming in our neighbors yard on the last day of February! The salmonberries were here sometime in May and produced a bumper crop. Back in July the skunk cabbage was laying down and turning brown as if Fall was already here! In our three winters in Alaska snow has held off until sometime in November. I believe something is up this year, however, and I’m predicting an early winter and snowfall in October! We shall see!
These shots below were captured just off the Pipeline Lakes Trail, my favorite of the sixteen National Forest trails in and around our remote Alaskan town of Cordova.
There is something I love about Craggily Trees. It’s as if they are speaking to me saying, “I’ve endured the winds and storms of time. God has brought me through many a season. If he can do it for me, then he can do it for you!”
Can you see them? When we first moved to Cordova long time Cordovans would ask, Can you see the bear and the dancing lady? …to which I’d reply, Bear? Dancing Lady? What? Then, one day, I saw the large, black bear heading down the mountain catching a fish! A few days later the dancing lady jumped out at me! She’s behind the bear wearing a hat with a plumb. I was so excited that I immediately posted the above photo to FaceBook; a friend in Texas declared in his comment that on the left he saw a witch on a broom chasing the dancing lady! Sure enough she’s there!
During the winter all three snuggle down deep behind a blanket of snow. When spring arrives the bear comes out first looking for his fish! The lady and the witch, well they need their beauty sleep and take longer to emerge.
As summer approaches and the harbor comes alive, and the dancing lady and the witch join in the revery! If it’s a warmer than usual summer they’ll leave us all together and won’t return unit fall when the snows come again. They’ll reappear for a bit until they yawn and nestle down behind their blanket once again…
The beauty of this place astounds me…even on a cloudy day!
After two weeks of rain, the clouds finally broke and it truly was a glorious day!
The sun was not shining when I hit the trail this past Monday. During the coarse of my hike it sleeted, it snowed, and it rained! As I reached the last leg of my journey, the sun appeared lighting the path in front of me. Back in the Tahoe, I mused at the variety of weather I’d experienced on my short hike; I’d only been on the trail about an hour. Then, while driving home, it was almost as if as if God smiled at my musings, because he saved the best for last!
….we celebrate!!! Cordova is surrounded by the Chugach National Forrest, a temperate rain forrest, where precipitation in various forms is the norm throughout the year. When the sun graces us with its presence we Cordovans head out doors regardless the season or the temperature. Last Sunday the air was crisp and clear so we broke out the bikes and hit the road.
I am a frequent hiker on McKinley Lake trail; its path meanders for 2.8 miles through the Chugach National forrest and eventually passes by McKinley Lake, a fairly large glacial lake which lies beneath the trail. A rustic forestry service cabin sits by the lake near the end of the trail. The McKinley Lake Mine awaits you just 3/10 of a mile beyond the cabin. Gold was discovered there in 1898 capturing the hearts and minds of many Alaska residents. The rail below will lead you to the mine and back into the past; won’t you join me there?
I had imagined that I’d find the entry to the old mine there, but the doorway to the gold is long hidden, buried beneath the ground. Or, maybe it is there somewhere, farther beyond the end of the trail and only accessible to the creatures of the forrest and to those not bound to trails!