Alaska 2
  New Zealand

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.

Here you'll find preparations for the trip up north, hiking around Matanuska glacier, and a bike trip up Resurrection Pass.

Preparation AK

 what was I thinking? [Yashica T4S]

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?)

That's good eatin'! [Yashica T4S]

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

Big honkin' crevasse. [Yashica T4S]

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.

You put your BEEEAMM in there. [Yashica T4S]

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.

Fancy a dip? [Yashica T4S]

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.

Punks. All of 'em. [Yashica T4S]

The gang in front of the above mentioned lake. Left to right it's my Brother, Tom K., my bad self, and Brian.

 [Yashica T4S]

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.

Resurrection Pass

Waterfall along Resurrection Pass [Yashica T4S]

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.

Lake near the cabin [Yashica T4S]

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 & gestures [Yashica T4S]

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.

This just doesn't look right. [Yashica T4S]

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.

Quick trail fix. [Yashica T4S]

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 continued ennui.

The bike trail [Yashica T4S]

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.

Debris at the finish line [Yashica T4S]

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.

Bunch o' ne'r-do-wells [Yashica T4S]

The crew on top of some mountain looking out over Anchorage. Left to right it's my brother Tom, Brian, Tom K. and myself.

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