Thursday, June 30, 2011

Savage River and Horseshoe Lake Hikes

There are several short trails in the vicinity of Riley Creek near the entrance to the Park.  We wanted to do several of these short trails and as it happened a Ranger led hike to Horseshoe Lake worked into our schedule well.  We had gotten several recommendations for the Savage River hike, as well.

Savage River trail is at mile 15--the point on the park road where private vehicles cannot go beyond.  On the south side of the bridge there is a large parking lot and the trail begins here.  It’s an easy hike along the river bank for one mile.  There is a footbridge for hikers to cross the river for the mile return hike along the opposite bank.

We made plans to do this hike on Tuesday.  As it turned out it was raining, but we are mighty hikers and went anyway.  By the time we got back to the car, we were mighty wet.  Tony and Diana went with us so instead of being discouraged by the rain and low-hanging clouds, we concentrated on the river and wildflowers at our feet and had a great time.  Of course, we took so much time with the flowers we turned an hour hike into two.

Making a clothing adjustment
This is a beautiful place to hike.  For the more courageous souls, one could continue on along the river bank on an unmaintained trail for another mile and a half to another footbridge over the river.  We’ll save that for another time, if we’re ever here again.

Footbridge across the river
Wednesday, Tony, Diana, Gene, and I joined a Ranger for a hike to Horseshoe Lake.  Ranger led hikes are generally very slow paced, stopping often to investigate or explore flowers, trees, wildlife, natural history, or whatever.  The hike to Horseshoe Lake is a popular one and there were nearly 40 folks gathered on the porch at the Visitor Center.  The Ranger felt like that was too many for one group so he recruited another Ranger and split us up into two smaller groups.  We went with Ranger Stephanie.

Each Ranger makes their hike unique to their own interests.  Stephanie is really into wildflowers and somewhat of an expert.  Holy cow, was it a great hike.  In order not to be constantly in the way or waiting on the other group, she took us along the Taiga Trail for the first portion of our hike.  This trail was also on our list so we were glad to get to do it with a ranger.

We were fortunate to be at Horseshoe Lake at the same time a moose was having lunch.  She didn’t seem to mind us being there and because she wasn’t bothered, Stephanie let us make our photos from the bank which was a whole lot closer than the 25 yards people are supposed to stay from these animals.  Of course, Stephanie kept a very close eye on the moose and as the moose started to come closer to the bank where we were, she made us leave.  All the animals have right of way here.

After lunch, we attended a presentation on wolves at the Visitor Center.  Very informative and also presented by Stephanie.

With the hike and the presentation we were just worn out and nothing could perk us up but ice cream.  Lucky for us they sell ice cream at the snack bar.

We’ve spent today mostly relaxing and getting ready to leave tomorrow morning.  There is still more Alaska to see, so we need to move on along.

Gene is looking for a fleece vest as his souvenir from Alaska.  He hasn’t been able to find what he wants in the gift shops in the Park so this afternoon we drove over to “glitter gulch” to the touristy gift shops there.  They had plenty of T-shirts, shot glasses, coffee mugs, and stuffed moose, but no fleece vest.  At least, none in his size and the color he wants.  The search will continue down the road.

For one last look at this beautiful park, we drove out the park road.  It’s been very cloudy with periods of rain all day today, so there were no last views of the mountain.  The wildlife seemed to be tucked away some place dry as well.  We saw one moose and a caribou willing to get wet.

We stopped by Savage Cabin on our way.  This small cabin was built as a cook cabin for the road crew during the 1930s.  There are several of these cabins along the road and they are still used today.  This particular cabin is open to the public during summer months with an interpreter on hand to answer questions.  The other cabins are used by law enforcement rangers who patrol the park.  One of our bus drivers mentioned that one of the cabins is used by an artist in residence.  During winter months the park is patrolled by rangers on dog sled.  These cabins are used then as shelter for the ranger and his dog team.

Well, how ‘bout that--I’m all caught up.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for tagging along.

No comments:

Post a Comment