This page details a trip back to Alaska I took in August 2000 to visit my brother, some other friends, and to do some biking & hiking.
Recently, Alaska residents began a campaign to rid the state of the "full of half-crazed
mountain men" reputation they currently possess. To this end they have passed a local ordonnance
which effectively bans all facial hair, especially beards of ZZ-Top-like proportions. However, due
to the intense lobbying of the last remaining 1890's gold prospector Peter "Skoots" McCallister, a special
exception was made for facial hair worn in the "high-bar" configuration. The high-bar is a style also
known as the "gunfighter," the "civil war captain," and the "clean chin." Not wanting to offend the locals,
I took steps to bring my own beard into compliance. The original beard is shown to the left; mouse over
for the updated "High Bar" look. (This requires Java support. If you have no Java, then you get no High-Bar.
Why not take this opportunity to upgrade and join the millennium?)
With all the hiking & biking planned for the week, I figured I should start fueling up
on some high-power food. I also needed to rid my fridge of all perishables that might start
smelling funny while I was away. Then, while looking through my fridge, I noticed a half-carton of eggs that were only
three weeks past the expiration date. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and fixed myself a hearty
six egg omelette.
Matanuska Glacier is about a two-hour drive north of Anchorage (give or take an hour, depending
on the number of blue hairs in RVs blocking the highway). The entrance is controlled by some guy
wise enough to buy up the land that gives the only access to the glacier, so you have to pay a toll
to get into what is essentially a public park. Somewhat annoying, but the scenery is worth it.
Here we see a giant crevasse carved by run-off from the glacier.
A small depression, about the size and shape a large boot print, but much deeper. If you stuck your
arm all the way in, your fingertips would touch solid ice on the bottom, but you'd be up to your
elbow in *COLD* water. The perfect stashing place for bourbon.
A clear lake in the middle of the glacier, very scenic, very cold. It's only about
a half a mile from the trail head, but glacier hiking tends to go very slow. Bring some snacks and some
shades, the glare's pretty bad.
The gang in front of the above mentioned lake. Left to right it's my Brother, Tom K., my bad self,
Looking out to the bottom of the glacier. From this angle the layers of grit and stone in the ice
give it an appearance not unlike fudge ripple ice cream. The taste of the glacier, however, is much
closer to that of ice with layers of grit and stone in it. Do not be fooled by this underhanded trickery
on the part of mother nature. Sneaky bitch.
We took a quick bike ride up Resurrection Pass to spend the night in a cabin.
The trail is south of Anchorage in Chugach Forest. It's a steep
climb followed by some rolling terrain, and once the climb is finished there's a great view of
this here waterfall.
A lake about 20 yards from the cabin, a source of good scenery and very cold water with which
to clean the mud off yourself and your gear.
Making camp at our cabin. In general, there wasn't much wildlife to be seen on the trail, but
see if you can spot the bird hiding in this picture.
We had some mechanical issues on the way down. Notice the less-than ideal
curvature of the wheel, and the significant angle between where the wheel is pointed and where
the handlebar is pointed. Not good. In this photo Brian surveys the damage whilst Tom looks
on with ennui.
Here Brian demonstrates his patented two-handed "Angry Monkey" rim-straightening technique.
Despite being totally whipped from the ride up, he was able to belt out enough good blows
to straighten things out, all without damaging the tire's nipple or stripping the threads. Sometimes
you have to improvise when out in the bush. In minutes the bike was back in action, minus
a front brake. On the right, Tom K. surveys the wreckage, while in the background Tom looks on with
A shot of the trail on the way out. The bulk of the trail was less wooded and more muddy
than this photo would otherwise indicate.
At the bottom of the trail, my brother was so happy to be finished he literally exploded.
The debris of his bike & gear can be seen in the foreground. After going through his stuff looking
for loose change, we hot-wired his truck and made tracks for the bar.
The crew on top of some mountain looking out over Anchorage. Left to right it's
my brother Tom, Brian, Tom K. and myself.