Last weekend we participated in the Anchorage DoG Jog. We got to know a new trail that is normally closed to dogs during winter (xc skiers only) and definitely bear country during summer. Hundreds of people ran/walked this trail during this event, so bears were not an issue that day.
There was lots of bear “evidence” everywhere.
A good reminder of bear country safety:
1. Travel in large groups
2. Make noise (our doggies wear bells in their leashes). Most of the time bears will want to avoid you, they just need to hear you.
3. Avoid food in the trails. If you are to bring a snack avoid smelly stuff. You might be OK with packaged stuff such as an energy bar, but bring a zip lock to carry your garbage.
4. Carry bear spray and check the wind direction before using it.
Girdwood is just a short drive from Anchorage. During winter, this is one of our favorite spots for downhill skiing. Being so familiar with the mountain, we decided to try hiking the ~2.5 mile (~3000 ft elevation) this summer. It was a hot day and we were very naive thinking we were ready for it. Fortunately, we found the Nordic Ski trail system in the area. This trail system was built through the rain forest and there are gorgeous views everywhere.
We did the 5K ski trail which allows dogs only during summer. The trail is wide and hilly at some points. I thought this was a great choice for a hot sunny day, because the trees kept it cooler than everywhere else. Additionally there is a creek perfect for a cooling down break.
We all had a great time and it was great to see the dogs run free and get excited every time they heard a squirrel.
One of the truly Alaskan experiences is salmon “dipnetting”. Every year thousands of Alaskan residents dip their fishing nets at the mouth of the Kenai river and get massive quantities of salmon. The season only lasts ~3 weeks and it is a spectacle.
Wearing chest waders, people will stand in the cold water for hours holding heavy nets as the tide raises.
They are everywhere!
Four wheelers are needed to travel in the beach, thousands of tents and quads pop up, turning the beach into the second largest city in Alaska!
This year the Snowieners got to experience it all!
Alaska’s most well-known wildflower is the fireweed. It starts to bloom in undisturbed land in early summer. Patches of fireweed can be seen growing all over the Alaska roads and fields. Unlike other flowers, fireweed blooms from the bottom up. Alaskans think of the fireweed blooming as an indication of the progress of summer. Petals open over the course of several weeks and when it reaches the top, Alaskans associate it with the end of summer.
I like to believe summer is a bit longer than a few weeks, but can’t help but think ‘Carpe diem’ as I admire the pinkish landscape…
Summit Lake is 2 miles and 800 feet of elevation from the Hatcher’s Pass Lodge. It was a cool (41F) and rainy day, but we wore our winter coats hiked around the lake. We ran into these four playful Labradors. They were swimming in the lake and I couldn’t help but stare.
So I decided to give it a try, but the water was too cold for me.