Did a hike yesterday with my daughter, I got to choose the trail but it had to be to her criteria, which was that it needed to be sunny. The weather here has been drop dead gorgeous for several days, a nice change from last summer, the cloudiest and coolest on record. So I picked a trail that runs along a bluff above the inlet. Just inland of the bluff is Kincaid Park, known for its ski and bike trails. Below the bluff is the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge. The trail is up and down, sometimes very steep, in places obscured by trees and brush, at other places offering vast vistas of Cook Inlet, the Kenai Mountains, several volcanoes and other mountain ranges to the north.
The start begins with a climb above the parking area, up a large set of sand dunes, the only ones in this region. The sand varies from firm fine grained size to loose dry clean course sand. This dry course sand is a chore to go up and a joy to run down. This was the only hill we ran down.
On the ridgeline the trail winds thru high grasses, alder and willow brush,
poplar and spruce forests, prime habitat for moose.
Our turn around point was at this nice park bench with a great view. My daughter had the GPS that I take along to use the trip computer function. Direction in this case is obvious, so the positioning capability was incidental.
During our return we descended into a small valley. I spotted a moose laying down, and once I saw the “handlebar” antlers in velvet, I knew it was a young bull. Bulls are very docile this time of year so I moved in for a photo.
My daughter then said Dad there’s another one, and I turned and sure enough, a second small bull (small meaning 500 pounds or so and at least 6 foot tall at the shoulder when standing) was lying nearby. Note how this shot appears dull in comparison to the first, as I was shooting into the sun on the second one. Also notice the difference in the antlers, they are all different.
This is a 3 frame panorama showing one of the vistas looking west and south over Cook Inlet, with the Kenai Mountains in the distance.
The trip computer stats; on a trail like this 2.7mph is a good clip, and we ran up some of the hills to make this pace. With a low and high point difference of only about 100 feet and a total ascent of over 700 feet, this trail has lots of ups and downs! Note that the GPS even plots a profile of the trip, and you can scroll back through it if you choose.
This last one was later in the evening, from sea level, the setting sun near Mount Susitna to the north.
End of a beautiful day, taken just after 9pm.
Ahhhh summer in Alaska