Sunday, July 1

Climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.

Per John Muir's word's of wisdom, Jana (my sister) and I did a little bit of both two weeks ago.

In between Anchorage (where I live) and Fairbanks (where my sister lives) is Denali National Park.  So needless to say, sometimes on my drives to and from Fairbanks to visit family, I have a pretty spectacular view.  Well, then I heard about Kesugi Ridge and how it was a mostly ridge line backpacking trip that takes most people around 3 days.  I knew all I needed to tell Jana was mountain ridges and sleeping bag and she'd be in.  :o)

So, we started at Little Coal Creek Trail.  We had parked the Jeep down at Byer's Lake (our final destination on the hike) and her truck at Little Coal Creek trail head to start from.  Below is a map for reference of where we went.  My dad has our actual route (per the Spot satellite tracker thing-a-ma-jig) on his computer, so if I can get my hands on that, I'll post that image.  :o)

So, without further adieu, here are the misadventures of Jana, Krista, & two whistle pig chasing fools (aka our dogs):

Packing up the bear barrel 

Rudder thought packing was boring.  He didn't know what was to follow!

Sweet lil note from Mom!

At the trailhead, still clean at this point :o)

The initial ascent is through the woods.

We started a little before 8pm, and as soon as we emerged from the treeline, we were greeted by this view.

Where we camped the first night.

Happy Camper!

Day Two started off a bit cooler and cloudy.

But the skies cleared up, and Denali was back!

Rudder enjoying the view.

Lunch!  Brown rice, tuna, and dried cranberries on a Flat Out.

View at lunch.  Not too shabby!

"This is a jaw dropping vista... a view seldom matched by mortals"

Perhaps the crazy sprinting up and down the mountains in the morning was not the best idea, eh Rudder?

Sawyer was ready to go though.  Keeping an eye out for whistle pigs (aka marmots)!

Some of the fun terrain.  Woo hoo gortex!

Rudder and I needed a lil break late afternoon.  Behind/below me is a valley.

JB's lunch, my dinner.  Maple cinnamon almond butter in a honey wheat wrap.  Yum!

There were some STRANGE rock formations.  Had we not been looking for the trail, we probably would have taken more pictures.  Rather cool, and very space looking.

Our "detour."  We ended up camping down the mountain near the lake.

It was a bit cozy in the tent.  I think they startled each other when they woke up!

Day Three.  Hiking out via plan B.

Back down into the woods (aka bear country) and the beginning of 4.75 renditions of 99 bottles...  Our singing kept the bears away.  Saw signs of bears on our trip, but no encounters (phew!)

Plan B involved walking back to Jana's truck - 8 miles away on the highway.

The after shot. 

Excessive whistle pig chasing actually resulted in Sawyer falling asleep in the car.  Rare!

On the way back to Anchorage, I was reunited with Diet Coke (on day 3 of no caffeine) in Talkeetna.  

So many more pictures were taken, but I'm pretty sure I already slowed down your internet substantially with the pictures I put up.  :o)  Fun trip!  If you're looking for a good backpacking trip, I would recommend Kesugi Ridge!  Well, at least the northern section of Kesugi Ridge to Ermine Hill.  :o)

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