Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dan Moller Cabin

Friday night we met four friends and a dog at the trailhead for Dan Moller.  I had planned for it to be 70 degrees and brilliantly sunny. I was going to take a hammock and just hang-out at the cabin. Instead, it had rained all week and we were headed out for a wet hike. Thankfully the downpour ended around 7 pm so at least we weren't hiking in a storm. The Dan Moller Trail is 3 miles with an elevation gain of about 1700 feet. The trail is almost entirely planked through the mushy, but lovely muskegs.

At one point the dog was put to use pulling a hiker up the trail; it helped to have a little extra horsepower. We reached the cabin at 9 pm. While Mr. X and everyone else worked to shed rain gear, I ran to the creek for a bucket of water to filter. Once everything was settled we sat down to a dinner of stroganoff, jerky, crackers and cheese, and popcorn.
One of our friends brought an expired MRE that he got from a duty station in Nome (they were rotating their stock). Apparently, today's versions are a little tastier than the old version. Yes, it was entertaining!
We spent the evening playing skipbo and Catchphrase. Mr. X had me read a bedtime story - which confused everyone else - and we were sacked out around 1:30 am.

At 4:30 am I was up. Seemed ridiculous so I lay back down until 6:15 am. Then I was really up. I hunted around the cabin for a trail up the ridge. Then I hiked down the trail about a half mile, taking pictures as I went. At 7 am I went back to the cabin and sat on the porch watching the birds and squirrels. I saw lincoln sparrows, winter wrens, yellow finches.

The weather couldn't decide whether it wanted to clear out or be completely socked in so I also watched the bowl fill with clouds and then empty again. It was a beautiful morning.



Others started waking up around 10 am. We had a tasty breakfast of eggs and sausage bagels. I was asked how I carried the eggs...I packed them in the top of my bag and hoped I wouldn't slip on the planking....

After breakfast one group headed down the trail for other appointments. Mr. X and I headed up the ridgeline accompanied by J and J. In the next picture you can see the clouds ready to make their dive into the bowl.

It was a mushy slog through the muskeg up to the ridgeline, but well worth the effort. When we got up top, the clouds cleared off some of the mountains the next ridgeline over. They looked pretty fantastic. Unfortunately, the best pictures have Mr. X in them and he doesn't like his face on the you'll just have to settle for what I've got.

This is our friend J, she went to Girls' Camp Monday - Tuesday and Thursday - which you have to backpack/hike in and out of - and still came with us Friday night. I think she's a wonder woman!

When we finally hiked down, it had warmed up to a lovely, sunny 65 degrees. We learned that it was the first Saturday of deer hunting, so that was the noise we were hearing and the blood we found on the trail. I think we were all satisfied with our trip "out-of-town".

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Grandchild Peak

Mr. X was sick most of the month of July. One Saturday it was sunny, so before heading out the door I told Mr. X we were not going to sit inside all day and that he needed to pick someplace to go. When I returned from my outing he was dressed and packing for Grandchild peak. A little ambitious, I think.

We struggled our way through the forest and steep climb to the alpine, then enjoyed the views of Eagle beach and the Chilkat mountains. Mr. X slowed our progress and helped us regain our normal heart rates by trimming blueberry bushes overgrowing the trail.

We headed up the ridgeline a little way, and then Mr. X announced that he needed a nap. We ate lunch and he lay down in the sunbaked heather for a 45-minute snooze. I kept guard, watching and listening for bears. Eagles soared over us, occasionally whipping past as they enjoyed riding thermals. The mountainside behind us was mown by a large family of goats. Later we were told there was a good looking bear munching on blueberries in the bowl below us.

On the way down I handed over my walking stick in the hopes it would help Mr. X keep moving. Unfortunately, I've come to depend on its aid and I found myself horizontal more than once. In one meadow of hellbane, Mr. X handed back my stick so I could see my feet -- after I bruised my ankle on a sharp stump.

A great day on the mountain. We did feel a little guilty because we had planned this spring to go with friends, but Mr. X is glad he had the chance for uninterrupted rest in the sun.

2010 Grandchild hike here