Sunday, June 10, 2018

Getting Out: Prospect Heights Trail Toward Wolverine Peak

Easy access to Alaska is the reason I live here.  But we've been spending a lot of time getting the house back to 'nice' - freshly painted, new front steps that aren't cracking and threatening come apart, and shedding stuff that's collected over the years.  Mostly we're down to stuff that has sentimental value.  Things that are connected to people we like or remind of us when we were one place or another.

But it was just too nice today and I'm determined to get my money's worth for the State Parks Pass on both cars this year - that means about 20 trips would cover the $5 parking fee at most state park parking lots.  

So even though it's Sunday, we headed for Prospect Heights trailhead to go up the Wolverine Peak trail.  I wanted to get to the rock just above treeline that's been a landmark in family pictures since we started hiking Anchorage - our first full summer 1978.   
The parking lot, which is more than double the size since we got here, was crowded, but with a few spaces when we got there about 12:30pm.  

This is the south fork of Campbell Creek from the bridge.  This creek then wanders through the Campbell Tract, south of Tudor to Campbell Creek Park, then on past the Arctic Roadrunner to Taku Creek and on west to the Inlet.  And it wanders through various posts in this blog as I post pictures from the trail along the creek.  But it's much wilder here on the mountain headed down to flatter terrain.

J stopped at the fork in the trail where you decide between Near Peak and Wolverine Peak.  I wanted to get up to "the rock."  I'm guessing the rock is roughly 3 miles in, from the fork, starting to get much steeper.

My sense is that this rock used to be up above all the brushy area, pretty much out on its own in the tundra.  But in this picture you can see the brushy stuff going well past the rock on the left.  When we got home I went looking through early photo albums looking for this same picture.  I'm sure there are a number of them somewhere.  What I found was a picture of the rock, May 1979 looking up toward Wolverine Peak.

It's pretty much tundra around the rock, though the right side (left side on the previous picture) is cut off.  I did also take a picture today looking up, but from from the rock or a little above it.

I used a wide angle lens for the picture today, so it look a bit more stretched out, but it's essentially the same picture (but without the rock).  Trees and brush have crept up the mountain as the climate has warmed since the 1979 picture.  I can't say when in May the top picture was, but things hadn't greened yet and there was a lot more snow.  The little guy is in shorts, so I'm guessing it was later in May rather than earlier.  Some now used to last most, if not all the summer, on the mountains.  And we used to hike through snow patches on the way up to Wolverine Peak.  Here it is early June - and we had a relative late (for recent years) spring - and there's not much snow left.

And the Labrador tea flowers were beginning to bloom.

Hiking uses different muscles than biking.  I can feel them.  I need to do this much more often.

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