Sunday, August 17, 2008

Backpacking Kesugi Ridge

Headed down to Denali State Park to do a backpacking trip on Kesugi Ridge with Karen and Matthew this weekend. This trip was the answer to my backpacking bug that has been looming all summer. The weather on the drive down wasn't super promising, we got caught in a few serious downpours and thunderstorms, but Matthew and I being the weather nerds that we are, were enjoying it and identifying clouds on the way down. Then, we were following a van full of bikes, with mountains in front. Pretty much the two best things on earth! I wonder where they were going...We attempted to drive up the Denali Hwy to camp along the side of the road but found no trespassing signs all over the place so went back and found a wayside to camp at on the Parks.
After drinking some pear juice out of a classy plastic wine glass wearing a headnet, we packed up and got ready for the next 3 days.

The beginning of our hike was dominated by wet trails and blueberry bushes.. a LARGE distraction to actually walking. Then we got our first of many rain showers!From not even a mile up the trail, there was a nice view of the Eldridge Glacier.
It didn't take long to get up on the ridgeline to an expansive open space.All day long the daunting clouds whooshed by, dumping rains on and off. As soon as we took our packs off and took rain gear off, the rain would start and vice versa. Typical day in the mountains. :-)
This is one of many boulder fields we crossed during the hike. These were a bit sketchy being wet from all of the rain but totally fun to cross.
I don't think these red plants are normally red. They are changing with the coming winter. I guess its autumn time in AK! The colors were really pretty up on the tundra."Just a quick nap?" hahahaha Karen...
Karen managed to rearrange our food just right to get our food filled to the brim in the bear barrel. We almost had to eat more to fit it all in.. good thing we didn't because we were darn low on food by the end!!!Another attempt at jumping all at the same time.. we are mere amateurs but will get better, just you wait.
Scouted out a flipping sweet camping spot the first night, and the weather looked promising...
...until we woke up to more rain. Day 2 we didn't get going til close to 1pm due to our laziness and the fact that we didn't need to rush anywhere. I was hoping that the rain fly would support me as a paraglider so I could fly off into the breeze. It didn't work, but did dry out the rain fly a bit.Hey little dude, whaddaya want?
Ok, let's try this holding hands!
Matt and I headed up a random rocky peak.. it was pretty sweet. I could have stayed there for the next two months, granted someone brought me some food. It was completely silent and not very windy neither.
Freshest water on earth, baby! Straight out of the filter.
Below is one of my favorite pictures. It looks like a twister is going to just fall out of the sky. Best part was, this cloud completely missed us!!
SNOW!! Karen pelts Matthew with some snow likely from last winter.
We liked this rock because it was huge. And for no other reason.Complete bliss...Where is your dinner spot tonight? Ours is going to be up here on this rock.Our second night on the trail had a pretty sweet camping spot as well. The mountain was trying to peak out but never made it before it clouded up and rained again overnight. Earlier in the night I was looking for the aurora but it got too cloudy too fast.
Day 3 was short, we only had a few miles to go so we descended back into the muddy corridors of the trail. It was neat descending back into scrubs and trees after a day and a half of walking on the tundra. It was sad at the same time, because I could stay up on that ridge forever.
Yay we made it! Let's grab some food to fill our barrel and start it all over again!This trip made me happiest because all three of us had a complete blast. Matthew and Karen only moved here in February and I'm determined to keep them here for longer than they plan on staying. I figure, the more fun you have, the harder it will be to leave. Trust me, I know.

Talking about leaving, the blogs from my previous two summers will be disappearing on September 9th. I'm losing my webspace and email from PSU (finally) so they will be obliterated. I'm going to archive it somewhere though.. maybe just save the text entries anyway. If you want to take a look before they are gone to see the progress from day one in AK to now, check them out before they're gone!

Summer 2006 in Anchorage
Summer 2007 in Fairbanks


Kristine said...

AMAZING photos!

mtbikemeteo said...

thanks Kristine! it was an amazing trip. there's no way to be a crummy photographer in AK! :)