Thursday, September 13, 2018

Great Day For A Long Ride To A Short Hike - Bodenburg Butte

With all this sunny dry weather I've been wanting to get out in the woods, but there were meetings and various chores that got in the way.  But today it was nice once again and we had nothing to interfere.

I wanted to go to Hatcher Pass, but talked myself into Bodenburg Butte - a hike I'd never been on.  All these years, it just never was a destination.  Hatcher Pass seemed like a more spectacular location.  I heard the views were good, and it's only a 3 mile round trip - though half of the hike is up.  So we got onto the Old Glenn Highway just before the Knik River.   Haven't been on that road for a long time either.

Even though I'd read the directions saying to go past Bodenburg Loop as we approached from the south, I turned there anyway.  Oh well.  This got to the south trail that was not recommended.  But since I don't think I've ever been on the loop, it was good to see.

Here's the Butte from the south.

A sign about a third of the way up - where we stopped to eat lunch - explained the geology:

I guess reading this is a bit of an eye exercise.  It says:
"Bodenburg Butte is an example of a Roche Moutennee, a French word describing a rock formation created by a passing glacier.  During the last ice age, the Knik Glacier moved through this valley, shaping the landscape that you see today.  As the frozen river of ice flowed through the area, it carried away tons of softer rock, carving out a valley.  The knob of much harder bedrock that was unmoved by the glacier's advance is what we know today as the Butte." 

This is looking up from the lunch spot.  I was trying to figure out where the trail was when I heard a familiar, but bizarre croaking/cackling sound.  There were lots of trees above, but for a moment I could see a flock of Sandhill cranes flying way above.

Soon I saw our way up.   First wooden stairs.

Then they changed to wood with earth packed in and  cable replaced the wooden handrails

This really is the most unAlaskan hike I can think of in Alaska.  It's a hump not a mountain.  It's in a rural area with farms and houses all around it.  And it has stairs.  A sign at the top said there are 505 steps.  That's not counting the unstaired trail.  But my knees said thank you.

And soon we were at the top and there were wonderful views in every direction.   Here's looking south.  I was near that white roof in the lower right when I took the top picture of the whole Butte from below.  There's even a reindeer farm down there.

And to the east is the Knik Glacier and the braided Knik River that flows from it.

And then I saw something moving down below.  I think it's a juvenile bald eagle - the head and tail feathers are white yet.

And it did lazy circles up on the warm, calm air.

Until it was above me.  

Needless to say, the trip down took much less time than going up.  Altogether, with a lazy lunch and some time enjoying the views on top, it was about two hours.  I'm guessing this is Palmer and Wasilla's version of Flattop.  But it's a lot easier to get great views.  As you can see it was a mostly sunny day, but the air wasn't particularly clear and sharp.  

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