Beautiful weather made us take a break from home projects and head into the mountains for a day. Into the truck, south on the highway, sharp left turn into Girdwood Valley and a beeline to the Bake Shop – because no visit to Girdwood is complete without contemplation of their famous sticky roles served with a half-cup of butter (mere contemplation is enough; eating one would lead to an early death). Then up Crow Creek Road to the Crow Pass parking lot where we marveled at what Federal funds can do while the State of Alaska struggles to provide parking.
Contemplating the life of Harry Staser.
Up the trail towards Crow Pass.
Out onto the trail and then up to Crow Pass with Jewel Mountain in mind; a mellow hike that includes tundra hopping, a traverse across the dying Jewel Glacier and then a mellow ridge to a vista overlooking the Milk Glacier and the peaks at the head of the Raven Glacier.
We opted to skip the shortcut that takes you straight up to the Jewel Glacier and instead hiked up and over Crow Pass to get a view of the new cabin built on the shores of Crystal Lake. Up to the pass for a brief view of the terminus of the Raven followed by a sharp right turn and a brief climb to a bench that takes you straight to the terminus of the Jewel glacier.
Heading across the bench to the terminus of the Jewel Glacier.
Looking down at Crystal Lake. Look closely and you can see the new cabin.
A short scramble up broken ledges finally put us on the ice where we ran into the only people we saw once off the main trail. The roads and main trails of Alaska are crowded from June through August, but the second you step off the beaten path and head in to the mountains you leave everyone behind. If you do happen upon someone, chances are you know them.
Thus people in our mountains tend to gravitate towards each other always wanting to know who those other people are. When you do get close, people call out is that so-and-so and if that person turns out to be so-and-so the encounter always brings a smile to everyone’s face followed by the obligatory “Only in Alaska” greeting.
We did see other people, and we did gravitate towards them, and we did know them. The Only in Alaska mantra was voiced which made for a pleasant afternoon chat with old friends in the mountains.
Then off across the remnants of the Jewel Glacier to the Northeast Ridge and up to views of mountains we’ve climbed, valleys we’ve crossed and mountains and valleys that we yearn to visit.
Looking down at the Milk Glacier.
The SW shoulder of South Raven (obvious ridge in the foreground) beckons.
Looking down at the chossy SW ridge which is supposedly a fun class 3ish climb.
Heading back down the Jewel.
On the way down we stopped at a nice cool ice lake for some dog swimming photos. Koven can’t resist a good ice bath…
Into the ice bath!
Water droplets at 1/160.
Wet to Dry in 3.5 seconds.