Sunday, March 26, 2017

Snow Machining - Valdez Alaska

Have you ever thought of Snow Machining in Valdez, Alaska?  No, well you should. 2017 was a lower than normal snow year so the snow looks a bit sparse in the pictures.  Normal snow years the snow is still very good, even in late spring the snow is ridable and the scenery can't be beaten. The temps hover around 20 plus degrees and the sun rises at 7:30 am and sets around 8:30 pm this time of year.  It's a great time of year to get out and do some backcountry riding.  These pictures are of Solomon Lake in Valdez, Alaska and a ridge knows as the "Hogsback". 

Always make sure you ride with someone who is experienced as this area is not for novice riders.  Also, it is always a good idea to bring a locator beacon or the Garmin inReach Explorer+ or Garmin inReach SE+ both have locator capabilities and allow you to broadcast your location and signal an SOS if needed or send a text asking for help. 

If you are lucky this time of year you will run across animal tracks like, bear, wolf, moose and other small animals as they also inhabit the high country and are active in the spring.

Solomon Lake, AK

Solomon Lake is a Reservoir in Valdez-CordovaAlaska. It has an elevation of 709 meters or 2,326 feet.

Degrees Minutes Seconds:
Latitude: 61-04'24'' N Longitude: 146-18'06'' W   

Decimal Degrees: 
Latitude: 61.0733333 Longitude: -146.3016667

Above Valdez looking across the lake
 Along the Hogsback
More from the Hogsback

Alaska has many, many glaciers 1000's of them have no name. You can see a glacier in this picture; it's towards the back of this picture.

Dangerous Dave grabbing a little air with the "Summer Sucks" racing team on his 800 Renegade.  
 Maniac Mike also from the "Summer Sucks" racing team grabbing air on his 900 M1. 

These are some very large wolf tracks.  This goes to show you that even the predators of Alaska will travel the higher routes to hunt for food.  Always be on the lookout for wildlife, and never approach it.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A couple of pictures from the area.

Here is just a quick post to share a couple of pictures from just down the road from our house. We take it for granted sometimes of what a beautiful place we live in.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Snowmaching near Eureka Alaska

What wonderful day to go for a snowmachine ride. Yes I called it a snowmachine. That is what they are called up here in Alaska, if you say snowmobile you might hear a few snickers and people calling you a cheechako (new comer to Alaska).

We started off down in the heavy fog off the Glenn Highway, within minutes the fog created a heavy layer of frost on the goggles and made it almost impossible to see. It took about 4 miles hunkered down behind the windshield just peeking over, with no goggles to get out of the fog. My eyebrows had about a half an inch of frost when we finally stopped. We had decided to go into the Bellanger Pass area that we had explored this summer on the ATV's (see previous post). Wow what a difference a few months and 4-6 feet of snow make. Totally a different place! The best part is with a snowmachine you can go almost any place you want and maybe a few you shouldn't. I guess it depends on what you call safe.

We rode around 45 miles in about 6 hours, snow was a little bare for this time of year but enough to enjoy the ride. We even saw an igloo someone made.

After the photos is a short video before the camera battery died. The good snow was of course after the battery died on my camera.

 Igloo - Yes we do live in them :o)

Fog down in a valley
 Fog down in the valley we rode up from.

Brian doing a little showing off
 Brian doing a little more showing off.

Beautiful views
Love the views

A video of the day before the camera battery ran out.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Eklutna Trailrace

A short afternoon drive over to the Eklutna Trailrace gave us an opportunity for some nice pictures.

Here is a map of the location.

The Eklutna Hydroelectric Project tailrace is located approximately 34 miles northeast of Anchorage near Mile 3.5 of the Old Glenn Highway. The site provides a recreational fishery that was originally supported by coho, sockeye, and chum salmon returning to the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association's (CIAA) hatchery located at the head of the tailrace. The private nonprofit hatchery was operational from 1981 through 1998. The sport fishery is confined to the approximately one-half mile long tailrace which extends from the Old Glenn Highway downstream to its confluence with the Knik River. Currently, the fishery is supported by hatchery coho and chinook salmon that are reared at the ADF&G Fort Richardson Hatchery and released into the tailrace. Coho salmon smolts have been stocked into the tailrace annually since 1998. Chinook salmon smolts were first stocked in May 2002, which has provided a chinook salmon fishery that began in the spring of 2004. Salmon originating from the drainages of the Knik and Matanuska rivers are also harvested at the confluence of the tailrace and the Knik River.

The first Eklutna hydroelectric power plant began servicing Anchorage in 1929. Today, the Eklutna
Power Plant provides approximately three percent of the area’s energy requirements.

Here are some pictures of the area.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Eureka, Alaska Bellanger Pass ATV/UTV Ride and Hunt

Dave and I took the ATV's and the Toy Hauler and headed up to Eureka, Alaska out to Bellanger Pass area it is about 2 hours NE of Palmer (80 miles) and on your way to Glennallen (due west about 60 miles).  It has some beautiful scenery and 100's of trails to explore on an ATV/UTV or Moose buggy.  In the winter it is awesome snow machining/snowmobiling but in the fall the colors are breath taking.

We went out with friends and brought the gun along since Moose, Bear, Caribou and Wolf hunting was open.  There are some nice moose, black bear, grizzly bear, caribou and wolves out there if you have the patience and time to hunt them.  You can road hunt some of them but the best hunting is to use the ATV/UTV to get back in there and then take a walk and bring the spotting scope.  If you wait you can see the whole Alaska animal kingdom go bye, it is truly amazing.

We headed out with some friends to find some adventure, did some mudding, some rock climbing, fossil hunting, and yep a little pushing of the ATV's.  We went on some trails that I would NEVER recommend to a novice and would only recommend to some experienced ATV'ers and make sure you have a buddy.  You may need a push or a pull at times.  There are some great trails for kids and adults alike it just depends on what kind of ATVing you want to do. If you like mud and creek crossings and like to ride the ridge lines this is definitely the place for you.  It was myself, my husband and a couple of his buddies, and let me tell you ladies, don't ever let a man tell you it is too difficult, it just depends on your determination. If your a mud loving woman, who is tough as nails then you will be fine.  If you think shopping at the mall and getting a pedi is a rough day then you had best just stay back at camp lol.

So off we went, I think the guys were rather impressed that I didn't wimp out and even though I needed a little nudge every now and then, I didn't give up and kept up with them.  The only reason I needed help was because I am on a 2000 Arctic Cat and the clearance is not nearly as high as their 2007 Arctic Cat, 2010 Polaris and even the 2003 Suzuki King Quad.  I have the sport suspension so the ride is softer but it also makes me drag bottom in some of the more rutted out areas.

We explored an old mining site, saw some pretty interesting relics of the past and just some beautiful scenery. You can find some pretty neat fossils in some of the areas, which always manages to amaze me that life must have been so different here in Alaska 1000's of years ago.

We went about 18 miles and that is when we ran into a minor problem or major problem depending on how you look at it.  We had stopped at the top of a hill over looking a valley deciding which trail to choose, we picked one and headed out.  About half way into the trail I started to notice this little line in the dirt.  I started looking ahead and noticed some liquid coming out of the 2007 Arctic Cat, it took me a few minutes to realize "holy crap" that is OIL, not water !! We caught up to our buddy, he shut off the machine and then WHAM all the oil came out, NOT GOOD!  We discovered that he lost his oil plug. After cleaning up the oil from the ground with a portable spill kit, we thought, hmmm I wonder if we can find that plug.  So as you could imagine it would be like looking for a needle in a hay stack, but with a little luck we found it.  We discovered that the threads on the oil pan itself was stripped and we were amazed that it hadn't come out sooner.  So we let the machine cool down and with a little suggestion from the "woman" of the group we used a zip lock bag, wrapped it around the plug and put the plug back in there and it held tight.  We didn't have enough oil on us so we had to tow our buddy back.  Now here is the funny part.... earlier in the adventure the Arctic Cat owners were joking we better bring a tow strap with a Polaris in the party as we would probably have to tow him home.  So the jokes on us, the Arctic Cat was pulled 18 miles home through hills, valleys, streams and mud by, yep the Polaris lol.  Here are some pictures from the trip.  Even with the minor incident we still had a good time.

Hint, click on the pictures they are much better in a larger view. :o)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mushrooms galore

Just thought I would try the mobile app for blogger. Here is a picture of a neat looking mushroom I saw today.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Anniversary camping trip near Lake Leila

Jen and I finally got a chance for a camping trip. It worked out nicely with our anniversary. I am lucky to have such a great wife, that likes to go camping on our anniversary!

We only had a couple of nights so we headed out Friday evening and made it to our spot by 9:30 pm. We just pick a spot to boondoc, as we are not much for campgrounds. It had been raining back in Palmer so we were delighted to see the partly cloudy skies. No aurora, but still a nice evening.

Overnight a few rain showers moved in and made for some nice sleeping conditions. Saturday morning we awoke to a little light drizzle and some fog. It wasn't too bad so we took a small atv ride to explore some new country. Here is a map and some pictures of the loop we rode.

There was an abandon mining sled along the trail. I can only can imagine where it has been. The area has a lot of old mining trails to explore. It is very easy from here to access the Belanger Pass, Squaw Lake and the Alfred creek trail.

By afternoon the fog lifted and the rain had stopped. We gathered some firewood for a fire and headed back to camp.

The old faithful suzuki 300 with over 5k miles ran well. I was worried as it has been through a few tough times here lately. Last fall it ran well over 20 miles on little to no oil mixed with water. Tough little machines.

The blue berries were out in full force. Everywhere you looked there were plenty of berries. Lots of people pick blue berries in Alaska, and this weekend was no different. We saw a lot picking berries close to the road.

I threw some steaks on the grill. Jen made a few items to go with them. As you can see by the picture she overloaded our plates (no complaints here). Not sure either one of us was able to finish a quarter of our meal. The Henry Weinhards went down smooth though.

Sunday morning was another beautiful morning in this great state of Alaska. We hiked up to take a few pictures of the scenery. It's always hard to believe that so many people spend so much money to visit Alaska, and I live here everyday.