Nov 3, 2012

MatSu College Trails from Snodgrass Hall

Another one of my favorite walking trails is in the MatSu Greenbelt Trail System. The MatSu Greenbelt includes the Crevasse Moraine trails, the MatSu College trails, the UAF Experiment Farm trails and the Matanuska Lake State Recreation Area trails. All together there is 33 miles to explore. You can see the complete map and more info at the MatSu Greenbelt Trails site.

There's a great little walk that's less than a mile long that starts on the back side of Snodgrass Hall at the MatSu College. To get there take Trunk Road from the Glenn Highway or the Palmer/Wasilla Highway. Turn onto College Way and then take your first right on Musgrove Road. The road wraps it's way around the back side of the buildings. Keep going until you can't go anymore.

The trail goes through an area that was once an arboretum. There's been a lot of other trees grow up, but you can still spot the various non-native trees that were planted. The Frontiersman did an article a while ago on the area.  It's less than a mile round trip to the Observation Deck that looks out over Okenson Pond with Lazy Mountain beyond that. The trail is level and easy to walk on.

These pictures were taken in late October. We've had freezing temperatures by this point, but no snow. This is the perfect time of year because there's no mosquitoes out. It's cold, but you don't have to bury yourself in layers to stay warm.

Here are the pictures:
 The new parking area at the trail head behind Snodgrass Hall.
 A close up of the map at the trail head. There's a QR code that you can scan with your smart phone to bring up the map.

  All the leaves are off the trees.
 These sign posts mark every major trail intersection and really help with finding your way around.
 The trail winding through the trees.
 And winding...

 The beginning of the arboretum. These trees here are Siberian Larch. They look like an evergreen tree, but they lose their needles in the fall like a deciduous tree loses it's leaves.
 The back half of a squirrel. He was moving around too fast to get a good shot.
 I'm not sure what type of tree this is. It's not the black or white spruce we normally have in this area.
 A close up of the tree's trunk.
 A pine tree. Can you tell which way the wind consistently blows?
 The nice level trails in this section are perfect for easy walking.

 Our destination for today. The Observation Deck.
 These trails were once part of a nature trail system the college supported. Along the way are these small posts. At one point they all head signs on them telling you what their significance was.
 The trail continues past the Observation Deck.
 The view from the deck. That's Lazy Mountain in the distance.
 Also from the deck a good view of Matanuska Peak.
 A close up of Matanuska Peak.
 A close up of Lazy Mountain.
 Look from the front of the deck towards the back onto the trail.
 More pine trees.
 The trees here almost made a tunnel. It looks like an area from a Tolkien book.

 A close up of the pine branch. These are not native to Alaska.
 The tree tunnel part of the trail.
 Further evidence of that this was once called the Matanuska Community College Nature Trail. The skunk is kinda cute. The numbers you see carved on the sign mark certain areas. I wonder if someone at the college still has the key to what each number was.

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