Sunday, August 21, 2011

06/18/11 Four Mile Creek Circumnavigation

This trip circumnavigated the Four Mile Creek drainage that drains into Peters Creek in Chugach State Park. There were three summits on the route including Mount Eklutna (4110'), Peak 4040, and Peak 5505. Access is via the Peters Creek Trailhead. Steve, Vicki, and I started around 9 and finished about 12 hours later. We took our time and took breaks along the way, so it didn't seem all that far. The trip was ~17.2 Mi +7100.'

Heading towards Mount Eklutna.

Bold Peak looks like it's mock-erupting today!

Wide open ridge-walking on our way to Peak 4040.

Heading to Peak 5505.

The glider looks like it's running into Steve's head.

When we were on the summit of Peak 5505 we saw a couple gliders. One made several passes near us. It was pretty amazing seeing one so close flying almost silently. We could hear the displaced air as it flew 50 feet above us!

A short but sweet glissade.

On the Peters Creek Trail we noticed significant defoliation of the trees and shrubs. Over the past few years there has been a Geometrid moth outbreak in Southcentral Alaska. We could hear the caterpillars munching as we walked, and were covered in them by the time we arrived back at the trailhead.

05/16-22/11 Mapping Trails in Shuyak Island State Park

This was my first trip to the Kodiak Archipelago. GPS trail-mapping with Alaska State Parks gets me to some pretty cool places...places that I probably wouldn't end up otherwise. Jessie and I flew into Kodiak, met up with park rangers Kevin and Tom, and flew a float plane out to Shuyak Island State Park the following day. The GPS equipment was giving me headaches the whole trip, but I was still able to map all of the trails in Shuyak Island State Park.

 Flying over Kodiak.

Major Afognak Island logging operation.

Big Bay Ranger Station

The old Ranger Station, where Jessie and I stayed.
Notice the windows and door covered in nail-boards to deter Brown Bears.

Harsh weather on Eagle Cape is responsible for alpine-like vegetation at sea level.

 Eagle Cape & Shelikof Strait

Rangers dealing with a fallen tree on the Eagle's Nest Cabin.
There are four beautiful public-use Cabins in the park.

Heading down the 508 Trail from. This is the high point in the area.
The trees on Shuyak Island are exclusively Sitka Spruce,
and have a blanket of moss covering the forest floor.

The rangers picking Jessie and I up. The 508 trail in Big Bay was only accessible by boat.

Bear den near in krummholz near Neketa Cape. There are three depression in the ground.

Myself, Tom, Jessie, and Kevin at Big Bay Ranger Station.

We ended up waiting a day at Big Bay because the weather wasn't great for an airplane pickup. There were still low clouds and wind on the route back to Kodiak. Once in Kodiak we tried to map the trails in Fort Abercrombie, but the GPS was giving me hell. I wasn't able to map them all, and the forest made it difficult to obtain satellites. 

WWII History at Fort Abercrombie.

Shuyak Island State Park is an amazing and remote place. It is very unique because it is the Island only became forested within the last several hundred years. It is a great place to book one of the beautiful cabins and explore by paddle and foot. Just be patient with the weather.