Hiking and horses

A cool crisp morning, low cloud and mist surrounded the resort. Mountains only peeking through mid morning.

Only having one rebooked activity this afternoon meant a lovely morning sleep in and a few snacks for breakfast/lunch. We’re getting used to one ‘proper’ meal a day and remain never truly hungry.

2pm saw us in the North Hall waiting with a few others for the outings – playing who was going on which outing; Horse drawn coach or wilderness hike.

Sean picked me up and five others for our wilderness hike. Shortly after, Kerry was picked up by her horse drawn carriage for her tour.

horses

 

A half hour drive to collect our outdoors gear as we needed – overpants, dry boots, walking poles. I chose the latter. Rain was possible but I felt well prepared in my Bibbulmun Track gear – thermal bottoms x 1 and top x 2 plus the Mountain Designs hiking jacket that has seen a few tracks in its time. Beanie and gloves in my pack just in case. Sean also gave us a snack pack.

img_7166

It would have been enough for a whole days hike, not just a short walk. I enjoyed the nice granny smith apple and the tiny twists – am yet to tackle the Sweet and Salty Mix, the reindeer meat or the tube with a product likely to resemble cheese.

I DID appreciate this was a proper trail through the forest with minimal board walks, and plenty of proper mud and normal things of the forest.

img_7108

img_7112

img_7129

Signs of a fat wheeled pushbike on the trail too

Soon we came across an enormous dam created by generations of industrious beavers. The wall is several metres high, and their home, called a lodge. Great spot.

img_7124

img_7115

img_7121

img_7117

Managed to get a few snaps of a fast moving squirrel. We’d seen a mushrooms described by the guide as hallucinogenic by the guide, and squirrel was seen with some in its mouth. It was a very active squirrel, apparently itchy as anything and quite likely off its face on mushrooms!

img_7125

img_7114

Climbing up into the area with less trees, our views of the Alaska Range became more stunning. Tiny glimpses of the great mountain called Denali, not to be confused with the aptly named Mt Deception which at 10,000ft looks big. Once can only imagine the size of Denali at 20,000ft.

img_7159

Denali on the left, Deception on the right. A glacier feeding a river in between.

img_7160

A nice BIG landscape. The locals were amazed at the variety of colours. ummm. Okay. I guess.

We turned around at a creek and had our snack overlooking this huge vista, and a couple in camouflage gear walked out of the bush, walking cross country, carrying significant weaponry. Hunters apparently. A strange sight for Aussies.

More strolling down the hill in the increasing drizzle, and into the van for the half hour drive back. In the failing light around 7:45pm, Sean spied three bears and did a quick turnaround. One large mother bear and two cubs grazing by the road, she clearly wanted to get them across the road. One was reluctant and to see her cajole them across, her looking left and right, us having the hazard lights on – fantastic experience.

img_7168

img_7169

[embedyt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXSCXbDQqlA[/embedyt]

Kerry had a pleasant carriage ride, more gold panning, found a black rose like flower and had a great afternoon.

Tomorrow is a transit run from the Mt Kinley Lodge, to Talkeetna and then onto the train for a ride down Whittier to board the Star Princess. Wifi will be difficult so it might be a  while until you hear from us again.