Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hutlinana Hot Springs

High today (in Fairbanks): 13
Low today (in Fairbanks): -24Headed northwest of Fairbanks about 150 miles to Hutlinana Hot Springs for my first overnight ski trip and winter camping! I was quite excited about this because I've been wanting to go to a "natural" hot spring for a long time. Chena Hot Springs just doesn't do it for me.. it's way too built up. Back when I was talking about moving to Wyoming or somewhere out west I always imagined a hot spring at the bottom of a waterfall.. still haven't made it swimming or soaking under any waterfalls, but I'll keep my vision.

Below Steffen and Sumy are ready to break some trail. It seemed as if we were the first skiers of the season.
It snowed fairly heavily during our ski into the hot springs. We encountered some winds but they could have been much worse. The winds overnight covered up most of our tracks on the way out the next day.
Steffen totally tricked us out by telling us that the halfway point was when we were 3/4 of the way there. (he really thought we were only halfway.. i love it when that happens) That was pretty sweet because mentally I was ready for another 4 or 5 miles haha.. then a mile or two later you think, "we're here already??" We were able to get to the hot springs and set up the tents before all light faded.
In the middle of the night we had both howling winds and moments where everything was completely still. When it was really windy my tent's vent would flap in the wind and I swore that there was a moose circling my tent or some sort of creature.. but no footprints in the morning. I could feel the temperatures plummeting as the morning came, and awoke to a crystal clear morning. Dang, yo! If it was going to be clear I would have hoped for it being clear the night before so we'd have a chance of some fabulous aurora watching. But at the same time I was thankful that it wasn't brutally cold. It was hard enough to get out of the toasty sleeping bag!
I wish I had more pictures but my camera collected a lot of condensation on the lens and most of my pictures turned out blurry from the 110 degree difference in the hot springs and the ambient air. Note to self, wipe off lens when taking pictures in the hot springs.. I will post some of the actual springs when I get a hold of Steffen and Sumy's pictures. The morning was spectacular.. a little bit windy at times but otherwise everything was so peaceful.

We headed back into the twillight, not seeing the sun come above the horizon.
Below Steffen got a picture of me trying to avoid the overflow. It didn't work...We had to stop a few times to get the ice off of our skis from the overflow sections since it froze instantaneously.
Back on the road again into the fading twilight... another great trip with fantastic people...


Maria said...

you are brave, i don't think i could ever camp in that kind of weather!! also, love your yellow ski shoes, i think they are cute :)

Leslie said...

Sweet! Hutlinana was my first HS overnighter too - my b-day my first winter in Fbx. Unfortunately for us, there was no snow on the ground when we went in, so the snowshoes stayed in the car - then it dumped a few feet over night! What a slog out and we were super late because I didn't hear my alarm, ha!