Finally, some hiking

After the snow thwarted hiking day, we had one last day to get in a walk. As we didn’t have any bus tickets booked (and I wasn’t going to go on another 4 hour bus trip to be greeted with snow again) we had to stay within the first 15 miles of the road. So it was off to the Savage River.

Unlike other National Parks there’s very few marked trails in Denali. In fact they encourage you to find your own trail – follow a water course, hike up a ridge. As long as you can see and make it back to the park road you’ll be fine. Savage River however has a few marked out trails and we decided to do one of these ones instead of finding our own way. So off on the Savage Alpine Trail we went.

The trail started with a climb and as we got higher it soon became clear that yes, we were heading into snow again. We could make out the trail through the snow from a distance away, so it looked okay weather wise, a look through binoculars confirmed so.

So we pushed on. Seemingly all the elevation gain was at the start which worked up a sweat, I had to shed my beanie because I was too warm and couldn’t be bothered removing my rain jacket so decided to shed heat via my head instead. Getting into the snow area though I had to put it on again as it got cold. Clouds were blowing through the pass bringing with it falling snow.

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Savage Alpine Trail
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Argh, snow. Can you spot the trail?

Walking along the pass M tells me to come over and look at something. So I catch up and look… a bear print. Wait multiple bear prints. It looks like a mother bear and her cubs has been through the area recently. The prints were still clearly visible so we reckon the bears must have been through in the last few hours. So it was time to talk loudly as there was no knowing where they were. On the up note, looking at the prints they seemed to have gone off down hill.

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There’s a bear or two somewhere…

We hit a peak and it was time for a couple of quick photos before we quickly kept walking. Mainly because it was very cold. I wasn’t wearing any gloves either so my hands were going red from the wind and cold. Dropping over the side of the pass was a lot warmer, with no wind. It was nice seeing the spring flowers flowering in the snow. Plants must have a hard life up in the harsh weather climate.

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I think this is a Pink Plume?

Finishing off at the Savage River campground we walked the 2 miles back following the road. There was a shuttle but it only came every 2 hours. Plus we needed to get up our miles. We haven’t done much walking so far and we’re heading to Kenai Fjords in a few days where I want to hike the Harding Icefield Trail.

Right now we’re back in Anchorage for the night before heading to Seward tomorrow. On the way back though we made a bit of a detour to head to Talkeetna for lunch. Had to get the last Denali stamp from the ranger station there. After the snow and freezing weather here, we’re now in a bit of a hot streak. Blue skies, mid twenties the mountains were out and visible today. Got some nice views of the mountain from the Talkeetna River and from a viewpoint near town.

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Denali view from Talkeetna River
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Denali from roadside viewpoint

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