Tag Archives: McCarthy

trail and stream

While reminiscing over pictures from Alaska I stumbled across these two images.  I think the similarities are pretty striking.  Most apparent is the S curve of the trail and the stream as they meet the vanishing point.  Also, in each image a dark mass fills the left of the frame.  As a further coincidence, the shots were taken in immediate succession of one another on the same day.  I love a good coincidence, so I thought I would share.


Everyone and their dogs

The toughest dog in Alaska (see earlier post for explanation), Tank the terrier, has remained vigilant all summer long.  Night and day the streets of McCarthy are safe under the watchful eye of this dog.  With the nearest law enforcement located hours away in Glen Allen, it’s important to have a local presence of order.  Here are some pictures of Tank on patrol.

See the criminal tresspassers run in fear.  Terriers are renowned for their incredible strength.  The log Tank is hauling weighs twice as much as he does.

Moments after this picture was taken, the daring and careless man suffered a broken arm.

Tank may be the toughest dog around, but the coolest dog is Gus.  Gus is a blue heeler owned by a couple from Arkansas.  Although Gus doesn’t look big, he weighs like 70 pounds.  He’s dense, like dark matter or certain kinds of brownies.  His dense status doesn’t stop him from performing astonishing acrobatic feats.  Here are two pictures of Gus in turbo frisbee anti-gravity mode.  Also pictured is Tazzy, the most beatific Zen border collie in existence.

Peavine Cabins

Greetings from Peavine cabin.  That’s me on the porch waving to you.  The camera is on a ten second self timer.  I produced this picture in one take, but nearly broke my ankle running from the tripod to the camera.  Actually, I didn’t hurt my ankle in any way.  I just had to run really fast through a dry creekbed, which presented the possibility of ankle injury.  Which is all a convoluted way to say, hey, look at this cool picture of me on the porch at a cabin.  Dig?

Here’s another view of the cabin with the alpine glow illuminating the ridgeline.  Whimsical, isn’t it?  This cabin is one of two free public use cabins maintained by the Park Service at the Peavine area.  In late August I spent a few nights by myself out at the cabin.

Well, maybe I wasn’t entirely by myself.  Here are some recent claw marks on the front of the door.  What could’ve done that?

This is the other cabin that sleeps eight people.  For a few days a bizarre rainbow storm ascended on the valley.

In the ridges behind the cabins there are a few waterfalls.  Here’s another self-timer shot, this time over dangerous slippery rocks.  Next equipment purchase: shutter remote.

Now that I’ve used captions throughout this post I feel committed to them.  Consistency!  Here are some mountains in Alaska.  Oooo . . . . Ahhhh . . . .

Looking down on the Chitistone River.

Hiking up a rock slide.  Interesting fact:  In the full-length Simpsons Movie, the family escapes to Alaska.  I know this because my co-worker is watching the movie on the other side of the room.

In case there’s any ambiguity, this is a picture of trees.  These are trees featured on a blog that’s grudgingly created by some guy out in Alaska for the purpose of sharing pictures of trees and mountains with his friends and family.  So, enjoy the trees for a moment.

The lighting at dusk in this picture is symbolic of the ending of the blog post.  The swirling ethereal clouds suggest the impermanence of natural beauty and, by extension, the importance of documentation through photography and blogging.  The dynamic play between light and shadow also speaks of the inherent nonsense that comes with providing captions for pictures online, especially on a blog created by someone in Alaska who takes a lot of pictures.  This picture is actually of the mountaintops up river from the Peavine area.  I took about a hundred similar shots while waiting for the plane to pick me up.  Conclusion: Good times!

Impressions on almost hiking Erie Mine

The hike to Erie Mine has a bad reputation.  A few years ago someone attempted to hike up to the bunkhouse and got what mountain people call “cliffed out”.  That’s the human equivalent to a cat climbing a tree and not being able to get down.  Very steep rock walls can be like that.  A person can hoist themselves up, but then realize with dread there’s no getting down.  The unlucky hiker a few years ago got to spend a night at hotel Erie, perched on the rocks until morning when a helicopter team performed an evacuation.

The fact that someone had to be heli evacuated is testament to the challenges of hiking Erie.  For one, it’s steep.  Secondly, there’s no established trail.  Ask half a dozen people who’ve hiked it, you’ll get half a dozen versions of convoluted directions.  You might even get a crudely drawn map, as I did.  The directions will also come with certain disclaimers.  Don’t hike it alone.  Avoid the tram line terrain.  Always stay to the right.  Take a left at the giant rock shaped like a bear’s head?  etc.

So I set out a few weeks ago to explore the Erie Mine.  To get to the base of the mine, before all the “fun” vertical climbing, a person must walk out about 3 miles on the Root Glacier Trail.  Then start the nerve shredding catwalk climb up the ridge before the tram line.  Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess.

Being that I hiked alone I took my sweet time, pausing before advancing anything even remotely precipitous.  I found out immediately that I didn’t quite LIKE the terrain.  Maybe I’m too much of a flatlander, but the steepness of this terrain weirded me out: quaking knees, machine gun heart beat, vertigo.  I climbed up until I was parallel with the bunkhouse, but obviously on the wrong gulch, ridge, whatever, and then turned around.  I’m pretty sure I was hiking on a game trail, but then again, maybe not.

So, all the talk is true.  Erie Mine is steep.  It shouldn’t be hiked alone.  The route is an enigma.  Plan of attack for next time – go with someone who has hiked to the bunkhouse before.  Here are some pictures from the Erie Mine adventure.

campsite along the Root Glacier trail

looking down on the glacier

the Stairway Icefall

the bunkhouse