Alaska’s been throwing all kinds of surprises my way.
First, winter seemed to last forever and it was still snowing into late May earlier this year.
And now? It’s the first time in, again possibly decades, that they’ve had a Halloween without snow. Not even a flake. Granted we have had a couple of itty-bitty snowfalls, but nothing that lasted.
I, for one, am totally fine with that. And had I been my 10-year-old self I would’ve rejoiced in the fact that I would finally have the opportunity to show off my costume for once and not have it bundled underneath layers and layers of warm clothing (it always seemed to either be super-duper cold or be snowing in Colorado on Halloween).
But alas, I’m no longer a 10-year old. And kids no longer trick-or-treat door to door, anyway. It’s kind of a sad thing to me, actually. But I digress…
The Beautifulness of Fall In Alaska
This time last year Tristan and I were exploring New England during its prime leaf-peeping season. I just checked my old posts and apparently I was feeling lazy and didn’t write anything up about the fall colors. I did, however, put together a post on 10 touristy things to do in Boston. Touring Fenway Stadium is on there, by the way, and I think our visit just might’ve been a good-luck charm for the Boston Red Sox. For those of you who are fans, you’re welcome.
I thought the leaves were pretty in the states we visited, mainly from Massachusetts northward, but Alaska was pretty damned nice, too, I gotta say.
We were lucky enough to be still hiking without snow most of October and the fall leaves were peaking and then fading away during this time.
Hiking to Eagle & Symphony Lakes
One of the last hikes we did was the South Fork Valley Trail to Eagle and Symphony Lakes near Eagle River, Alaska.
At 6 miles one way it was one of the longer hikes we’ve done this year and it felt it, too. Nearly the entire trail was practically a creek bed so we spent much of the time attempting to (and mostly successfully) dodging the frigid water with our porous and totally unsuitable tennis shoes.
The day started out quite overcast and I was wondering if it would remain that way.
But lucky us! Blue sky and patchy white clouds took over and brightened up the brush and our day.
What a view, eh? Those mountains are where we were headed.
This is the run off from the glacially-colored Eagle Lake.
If you have the time, more appropriate footwear than we did and like wide-open walks (it wasn’t so much a hike as it was a walk), then I’d definitely recommend this trek.
Visiting Whittier & Hiking to Portage Glacier & Lake
Whittier is a weird little town. It’s isolated from most places because you can only get there via a tunnel or by boat on Prince William Sound.
It’s only a little over an hour to get there from Anchorage but it feels like it’s a world away. The tunnel costs $12 round-trip and once you get to Whittier there’s not a whole helluva lot to do. But one thing you can do is go for a hike.
The one we chose was the Portage Pass Trail that takes you up, over and back down to Portage Lake with (potential) views of the glacier.
We chose a particularly cloudy day, which happens to be the norm, and weren’t quite sure what kind of views we’d have. We decided to chance it anyway.
The top of the trail before heading down towards the glacier was going in and out of the clouds, but we were lucky and got glimpses of the glacier. It was a pretty cool sight.
We got down to the lake, snapped some photos and turned around. When we got to the top this time, though, it was completely socked in. The view had disappeared and had we started the hike about 30 minutes later we would’ve seen nothing but white.
As the bird flies, Hope is quite close to Anchorage to the south and is maybe 15 miles away. But to actually get there by car, it’s about 85 miles away. And so this is the first time I’ve ever been.
The town itself is tiny and since the peak tourist season is over, I guess everyone left because it feels a bit like a ghost town. I don’t know how but they actually have a library for all 10 of its residents (okay, 192 residents as of the 2010 census) but they do. Good for them.
The views are pretty, though, across Turnagain Arm.
We haven’t gotten much snow but when we were out exploring one day, we were caught by surprise by all the frost covering everything near Turnagain Pass. We got out to snap some photos of the nifty-looking frost and I thought I’d share one of my feet amongst the prickly blades of grass.
The beauty of Mother Nature never ceases to amaze me and I love zooming in on all of her details.
A Walk Near Matanuska River
About an hour’s drive north of Anchorage is Palmer. We ventured out there one day and took a stroll along the Matanuska River.
Look how cute our little Nani is (even though the quality of the iPhone photo leaves much to be desired). :)
‘Til Next Time…
I hope this month has treated you well and wherever you are in the world, I wish you the best. :)