Snowshoes would have been nice today. We hiked the Byron Glacier Trail today, which, according to our hike book, is a moderate hike with generally good conditions. Is four to five feet of snow on the trail “good conditions” in Alaska?
There were a two sections of the trail with no snow– sections about five yards long. The remainder of the trail was deep in snow, which thankfully was fairly firmly packed, so that we only sank in a few inches most of the time. I managed to stay more or less on the surface, but Steve sank through to his hip once. Despite the snow, however, it was a wonderful hike. The blue of the glacier was so BLUE (the photo doesn’t do it justice). The mountains on either side were stunning, and all the more so with a juvenile eagle soaring over them and finally landing somewhere on a mountainside.
I was fascinated by the creek flowing from the glacier, with its distinctly gray water. When I sat on a rock in the middle of a snowfield to paint, from time to time I heard a loud gurgling sound moving toward me. I think it was water working its way along deep under the snow, then rushing around the base of my rock.
|Me painting Byron Glacier
After hiking to Byron Glacier and also stopping for a walk at the Moose Flats Day Use Area (where I identified my first Orange-crowned Warbler), we drove to Hope and hiked along the Gull Rock Trail in the lush green of ferns and trees for a while. There we saw our first Varied Thrushes– a male and female. What gorgeous birds! We kept hearing Varied Thrushes throughout that hike.
|Stephen on the Gull Rock Trail
At one point in our drive south from Anchorage I saw a Loon and pulled off to look more closely. While there we also saw a pair of American Wigeons and then a beautiful pair of Barrow’s Goldeneyes– another first for me.
|American Wigeon (male)
|Barrow’s Goldeneye (male)
Now, after driving along a road sandwiched between the side of a mountain on one side and Resurrection Bay on the other we are settled for the night in a tiny cabin on Lowell’s Point, our heads filled with images of birds, mountains, and snow covered peaks.
New birds for my life list today: Barrow’s Goldeye, Mew Gull, Orange-crowned Warbler, Varied Thrush, Red-necked Grebe