Monday, August 26, 2013

Aug 1 - Nikiski/Girdwood

While we were touring the peninsula, I figured we should head north as far as possible on the westerly side.  Not much to offer except a lot of oil industry stuff.  A few lakes looked promising but offered no access and we had to pass.  We managed to find some beach access near a dock and parked there for the night.  Great ocean views with a beach that the dog could play on.  An occasional helicopter would buzz over us to land at a very nearby landing pad.  I assumed they were flying to and from the oil rigs that were visible not too far out.  These helicopters proved to be a huge problem later when we were trying to sleep.  The next morning, Vanessa took the dog for a walk along the beach while I whipped up some breakfast and shot some pictures of a pair of eagles flying along the treeline.

Our tour of the peninsula was done and we headed back towards Anchorage.  A few people mentioned the beauty of Girdwood, which was about 20-30 miles south of Anchorage and so we headed there, paying another visit to the park in Soldotna as well as the local brewery there. 
Girdwood is a very lovely ski resort town, nestled amongst some snow covered peaks with nearby glaciers.  The majority of the trails started at the nearby ski lodge and we headed there for the night.
The following morning we hit the trail that led up to the top of the ski lifts, a 2.2 mile trail that went straight up the mountain, delighted to find some blueberries along the way.  
This particular trail is part of a local race where contestants have 10hrs to climb the hill as many times as possible, taking the tram back down each time.  The day was rather dreary with a light mist that proved to be extremely cold at the top of the trail.  Having Ginger with us prevented us from going inside to lodge to warm up and so we immediately headed back down the trail.
The following morning we hit up the areas most popular trail, the Winner Trail, a 5 mile trail that went through some amazing woods and ended up overlooking a river.  There was a hand tram that you could use to cross the gorge and continue but it was down for repairs and we had to turn back.
The next morning we researched the Turnagain Arm trails since Summer had recommended them to us.  It turns out that there was a recent bear attack on this trail resulting in the death of the bear.  The bear’s carcass was left along the trail and the trail was closed for the meantime.  This meant that the only section of trail open to the public was only a few miles long and so we passed and headed on into Anchorage.

Only 2.2 miles to get to the lodge

Plush carpeting

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