Monday, June 15, 2015

we knew the heat would be bad news...

 but still we have enjoyed it.  payback is coming now though.  big fire is burning out of control in Willow area.  lots of Mushers in that area so scary for all.  lack of snow, heat...makes for dry conditions.  above was yesterdays hike of Portage Pass.  through the Whittier Tunnel and to the right right after.  can't say it was easy, but very doable.  1 mile with a steady uphill gain of 800 feet elevation.  for that small amount of work though you get some spectacular views.
 had pulled extra mileage in the morning by walking the dogs around here.  then left Rio at home to do this hike in Whittier.  was a late hike so i didn't do the next mile back down to Portage Lake.  good workout for small mileage though.  the trail is pretty rocky.  thankfully i took a trekking pole.  think that helped.
 these are from the bog.  this magpie sat still for a photo op.
 they are good looking birds and i enjoy their antics.  some find them bothersome...they are like crows/ravens though.  pretty smart i think.  under appreciated.
 had never seen a baby magpie so it was fun to spy this little guy making an appearance.  how many baby birds are dying in that big fire right now...makes me sad all the babies that are so fresh out there.  they won't have much chance out in that.  i hate fires...!!!
 a robin also allowed me to capture him.
 a few more from the Hayflats refuge.  so pretty out there.
 kind of a lazy day today. did some stuff around the house.  thought about possible things to do on these days off.  will mark Denali Highway off that list.  could head to Chicken or Valdez.  wanted to hit Kennicott or Exit Glacier..but for those i'd need to find dog care.  that is what has kept me from those anyway.  life is so much better with the dogs though.
 loaded the bike up and was thinking of going for a bike ride this evening.  was at a friends for a bbq though and when i left there i really wanted to get home and feed the dogs...then the lazy me kicked in.  now i'm debating taking bike off of car or leaving it and hitting the bike trails tomorrow. fears of it getting stolen though will probably encourage me to take a moment and put the bike in the garage.  easy enough to load/unload i guess.
 would suck to have the bike stolen though. i've had that happen in the past...not fun.
 a friend is stuck on the other side of this fire.  she texted that they will be camping in their car tonight and hoping they can pass through tomorrow. the fire seems to have jumped the parks highway a few times.
 this picture was from yesterdays walk in the Par Course across from Carrs.  it turned out to be a bit longer mileage than i expected to probably a bit much for Rio.  we went very slow, but i felt bad. today she would not settle and let me leave her.
 was it her or my own guilt at leaving her behind...
 caught a little bore tide on the way out to Whittier.  always a nice treat.
 a few paddle boarders out there, not many.
 the tunnel.  it's 2.5  miles long...right through the mountain.  it used to be just for trains but was altered to allow for cars, trucks, buses and all.  now the train takes turns with the cars.  you are always racing to catch the tunnel at the right time, lest you be stuck on the wrong side of it.
 i could see the cars lining up on my way hiking back down yesterday and it was a bit of a race to catch the 6pm tunnel back out of Whittier...otherwise i'd have to wait until 7pm tunnel.  the line was big and it didn't move the whole time i came down the hill..i made the tunnel.
 saw people on their cars and boats lashing things down.  you just get to the tunnel and then maybe pull over on the other side to really tie stuff down.  Whittier tends to be a place to go to just to get other places.  it's not really a town known as a place that you want to spent time in and explore.
 the ends of the tunnel...otherwise at 2.5 miles no pics...gets pretty dark..i mean there are lights and there are safe houses in the event of a cave in.  one tourist was overheard telling her friends that those safe houses had elevators in them...?  i heard that on a little 26 glacier cruise i took.  let me assure you there are no elevators in those safe houses.  i have no idea what is in them...survival stuff i'm guessing.  how would they build elevators to the top of the mountain and what would you do up there on a glacier or snow anyway.
 back into the light
 once you hike the mile up you can wander around a bit up there and enjoy some spectacular views in both directions. this way is Portage Glacier...the other direction the waters by Whittier in Prince William Sound.
 so the front of that lake is a mere 1 mile further from this point.  there is some downhill to get there, which means uphill to get back...unless you packed a boat and then got picked up on the other side of the tunnel.  i'm sure that's been done.
 me at the lookout.  left Rio home for this and brought Blossom.  it was pretty toasty for both Blossom and I.  thankfully, at the top there are little ponds of water.  Blossom made full use of those.

 just a peek of the view back towards Whittier.
 another hanging Glacier.
 many, many cars await our turn to get through the tunnel.
 what is the difference between a hike and a walk?  found no difinitive answer to this in my searching.  hiking seems more back country or wilderness trails in my opinion whereas walking seems like something one does in the city.  Siri wasn't clear on it either.
 still nice views while you wait.
 my turn!!
 the first time i drove this tunnel i was at the end i think and i pulled around....seemed wrong to enter a tunnel with train tracks coming out of it...such a nerd, i know.  you can see a train below waiting it's turn to come through.
 it was filled with tourists...there was a big cruise ship in town so these guys were probably headed for that boat.  i'd like to take the train to Spencer Glacier.  another trip i have yet to do up here. trying to do a few of those trips that i have missed so far.
 they just bug you...waiting and knowing you haven't done them yet.
 some kite surfers or whatever you call them out there as i drove back home.
 i think i was suffering from a mild case of  heat stroke.  i cured that by stopping at Girdwood and getting an icee!! it tasted good and i felt much better by the time i'd eaten about half of it.  that and lots of water.
 the thing by my house said 82 degrees...i know to you in the lower 48 that seems very cool really, but up here that is beyond hot!!
 these are the zoom lens from my walk up Arctic Valley.
 have to be careful and make sure i walk places where the dogs can get water and be comfy as well...or just carry extra water for them. i do have water bottles for them.  they work great.  a bit heavy to carry with all my own gear...but i'm overweight right now anyway..carrying extra gear can only help me.

 these little guys are so cute!!
 hope we are able to get up to Denali this coming weekend for our class.  really hope they can just get this fire out before it causes even more damage. sounds like structures have been lost.
 Blossom enjoys the creek up Arctic valley.
 it was originally a military base ski resort.
 always think these signs are funny on the way is military land though the ski place has been taken over by a volunteer group/non-profit.  i have run into military troops doing their training up there.
 a few more from the zoom lens of the glacier.
 you can see the fairly good sized tour boat that operates on the lake...good for giving you an idea of size. i have walked back on the lake when it was frozen to the face.  that face used to be much further out and easily seen from the little portage visitors center but it has receded back behind the corner.  very little ice out there yesterday..surprising for how warm it's been.
 looks like beavers have made a home in the little pond in front of the lake there.
 always love to play with black and white.  the blues are so beautiful though too.
 funny how it seems to be crushing forward.
guess i will turn in.  fans will be on tonight. should also go get that bike and put it away so i don't lose sleep over it. thankful for:  Red cross shelters are taking dogs, many crews are on the way to try and contain this, that my friends who are trapped on the other side are in a safe place.  (hope it stays that way)

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