May 25, 2013

Another Walk Around Johnson Lake

 Spring has finally hit Southcentral Alaska and I celebrated with a walk on the Johnson Lake Loop Trail in the UAF Farm Fields. This is not the first time I've posted about this walk. It's an easy 3 mile walk with plenty of great views.
The first part of the walk is through the farms working area, so just remember to respect their stuff.
Our journey did not go unnoticed by the local residents.They didn't seem to approve of us interrupting their evening. Fortunately I wasn't worried about the opinion of creature that would one day be someone's hamburger.
Zao on the other had was very concerned. He looked at these smelly, hairy creatures walking around mud and their own filth and wondered who was the first person that thought grilling one them up would be a good thing. His dad, Matt, however has had his fair share of tasty dead cow and knows how delightful it is...
It's calving season and we just missed this little guy being born. It's mom was still giving a good licking and it was trying to get up on it's feet.
Speaking of animals that taste good when they are dead, there was also these reindeer. They were pretty amped up for some reason and spent all their time running back and forth.
Now that spring has sprung I'll be getting out and enjoying all that Alaska has to offer. Stayed tuned for more...

May 8, 2013

Hatcher's Pass - May 8, 2013

Today was one of those days that give you the hope of summer... We got off of work and knew that it was too nice out to just head home. So we headed up to Hatcher's Pass, which is beautiful any time of year. Rather than comment on each picture, I'll just let you enjoy the view. And remember you can click on them to make them bigger.

May 1, 2013

The Cabin at the Matanuska Glacier

The hidden gems of the Alaska State Park system are it's public use cabins. These small cabins are scattered around the state and are pretty affordable for a stay. You can see more here...

We made plans to stay at the cabin at the Matanuska Glacier State Recreation Area at mile 101 of the Glenn Highway. We made our reservations back in February and assumed we'd get to enjoy some spring-like weather. Mother nature had other plans though and the weather was more like late winter.
The view from the cabin was amazing... Spread out before you is the massive Matanuska Glacier. The pictures we took do not do it justice. We somehow left the good camera at home on the table... So all we had were our older iPhone 4's. So just imagine everything being much clearer and sharper.

At sunset the mountains and ice were all lit up with brilliant pinks and oranges. I got up during the night and the full moon was sitting right over the glacier. With a good camera and tripod you could get some amazing pictures. And I bet the fall colors would be breath taking.
The parking side of the cabin has the covered front porch seen in the first picture. The glacier side of the cabin has a large deck looking out over the Matanuska Glacier and Matanuska River. In decent weather you could easily spend your entire time on the deck soaking in the view.
 Just a few short steps from the cabin is the deluxe outhouse. And by deluxe I mean a concrete floor and locking door. Some big city folk might be put off by such rustic facilities, but when ya gotta go, ya gotta go. It's a "any port in a storm" type of deal.
Outside was a fire pit and a picnic table. Winter has lingered well into Spring in Alaska this year, so we didn't get a chance to enjoy these amenities. If you have kids though, you'll want to be cautious. Ten feet in front of the cabin there's 40 foot drop off. They have it roped off though.
Most of the public use cabins do not have electricity. This cabin was originally built to be used by a park ranger so it's wired with lights, a microwave and a small fridge. The counter made a convenient place for preparing meals. We brought a portable grill for cooking but some how managed to forget the meat at home.
The little wood stove did a great job of keeping the cabin nice and toasty. You do have to bring your own wood though. There was a couple of trees I cut up last fall, so we had plenty of wood to take up.
Rounding out the furnishings were a few plastic chairs, a small table, a king size bed and a double bed. You have to bring your own linens, but the beds were comfortable.
The windows were great for the views, but in the land of the midnight sun it makes it hard to sleep. Luckily I had some tarps in my truck that we rigged up as curtains.
The cabin is a perfect place to relax. If you don't feel like cooking, the Long Rifle Lodge is just a mile up the road. If you are looking for a thrill, Glacier View Adventures offers a zipline or jet boat rides. MICA Guides offers glacier hikes if you want to get up close and personal with some blue ice. Just the drive up to the area is stunning. The Glenn Highway has been designated a National Scenic Byway.