Monday, September 2, 2019

South Fork Matanuska Packraft - August 2019

Connor and I had been dreaming about an August trip. We wanted the Talkeetna, but at 9,000 cfs it was above my packrafting pay grade. With the hot and dry weather, paddling options were limited - technical glacial rivers were pumping while everything else was bone dry. The South Fork provided a nice compromise of glacial volume without the packraft eating holes that a technical river would bring.

On Saturday morning we met Cam at the Lionshead shuttle, dropped a vehicle, then found Alex and Evan at Caribou Creek. The crisp morning air warned of the changing seasons as we pushed off for the short first float.

At the Caribou-South Fork Matanuska confluence we ferried across, rolled up our boats, and hiked up the drainage towards the Matanuska Glacier. About a mile of minor bushwhacking along game trails covered in moose poo and we were at the glacier.

Next to the glacier we cruised on old moraines and out-wash bars.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Blackstone Bay - August 2019

Anthony and Sarah's trip to AK started with six days of crashing thru the brush, swimming across the sloughs, sleeping in the swamps, and crawling along the bear trails of the Kenai Peninsula. It was time for some Type 1 fun, so we headed towards the emerald waters of Whittier and the Prince William Sound.

We left Anchorage early on Thursday morning, checked in with Lazy Otter, and by 10:30 were cruising out Passage Canal in the shiny landing craft. Turning at Decision Point, the giant icefields of Blackstone Bay rose in front of us.

The boat dropped us off at 13 Mile beach, waved goodbye, and disappeared.

Photo Jessy Post

On the little black beach we ate an apple, adjusted our footrests, and carried the kayaks into the surf.

Photo Jessy Post

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Bull River to Ohio Creek - June 2019

On June 8th and 9th 2019, Connor, Rey, Jordan and I returned to the Bull. The plan had been the East Fork of Chulitna, but word from Brad M. was too much snow. He recommended instead linking up the Bull with Ohio Creek.

At Pass Creek we left a shuttle before continuing to the usual trailhead at the Middle Fork Chulitna bridge. The ATV trail to the Bull was covered in prints from moose, momma bears, baby bears, and a pair of Salomon Speedcross running shoes. Sections were a bit swampy:

This May was a wet and cold one, green-up was just starting at Broad Pass.

Rey says that Broad Pass is the weekend packrafting Shangri-La: reasonable access from Anchorage, easy trails, lots of water, and killer views.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Bird Peak - 4.27.2019

We've been dreaming about Bird Peak ever since seeing its iconic west face while ripping pow on Penguin years ago. Since then we've been waiting for conditions, partners, and schedules to line up for that  face:

The west face hasn't lined up for us yet, but in late April of 2019 I was in the midst of a Western Chugach bender and suspected that Bird's north face was in, stable, and powdery. After a great Friday evening on the West Twin Pencil, we were hiking out of the California Creek parking lot by 8:00 the next morning. Within a few miles we hit continuous snow and along with it, continuous bear tracks.

Yogging along the alder tube of a trail on the firm morning snow was fast, and we continued until we found a suitable running-shoe rack.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Cumulus - 4.2.2019

This isn't really a story about skiing Cumulus, its about years of memories of exploring, laughs, and epics in Ram Valley, Falling Water, and Peter's Creek.

The day started with us hiking out of the parking lot in our running shoes. The warm March sun had melted most of the sun from the trail.

The dry trail reminded me of the first time we skied Korohusk five years ago. That day started by jackknifing Tarah's car while Jake and his pack of dogs barked at us from the driveway. Then we followed wolverine tracks up the Ram rock glacier until the dogleg coolie came into view - I couldn't believe it - here's a picture of Cody, Tarah and Max from that day:

Now back to the present - after passing above Cam's cabin we traded running shoes for skis and started skinning up the valley. We had a great day with Cam and company earlier this year linking up the dream line on Pleasant with the Y on Peking.

As soon as we started skinning we started running into the tracks of a momma bear,