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Hike to Eagle & Symphony Lakes

Fall Colors Along the River (Symphony Lake) Why This Hike: This hike through the South Fork Valley offers stunning views of Eagle and Symphony Lakes, tarns and valleys surrounded by rugged, glaciated mountains. During September and early October (until the first snowfall) you will have the added bonus of vibrant fall colors. This trail is considered easy and can usually be hiked well into winter depending on snow conditions.  Directions to the trailhead: Take the Eagle River Loop/Hiland Road exit off the Glenn Highway just past the weigh station. Turn right at the traffic light onto Hiland and continue about eight miles up the road. Take a right onto South Creek and follow it to West River Drive and take another right. The parking lot is on your left.   South Fork Valley Trailhead:  Google Driving Directions  (Eagle Lake & boulder field in the foreground)  The Nitty-Gritty: The trail to Eagle and Symphony Lakes starts from the South Fork parking lot.  It has become  extremely popu
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Alaskan Hiking Groups

Get out and enjoy Alaska's long summer days with a hike. To find a hiking buddy, here's a list of Alaska hiking groups compiled from various Facebook posts, meetup groups and websites. The groups range from easy family-friendly to more challenging for experienced hikers. Some welcome anyone; others are women only and are geared for various ability levels. I included website and/or Facebook links if available. If you know of others, just send me a message and I will include. FOR EVERYONE, VARIOUS ABILITIES Anchorage Trail Walkers   -   https://www.meetup.com/Anchorage-Trail-Walkers/ Website says: "We get out 2-3 times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the day, usually at 10am." Kenai Peninsula Outdoor club on Meetup  (Very active - open to all Alaska Outdoors   http://alaska-outdoors.org/?page_id=222 As per website, hosts 2 hikes on Monday and Thursday year around. FOR WOMEN, VARIOUS ABILITY LEVELS Alaskan Wild Women Hiking & Backpacking Grou

Did You Know (DYK) - Llamas Have Fighting Teeth?

Because llamas are herbivores, which means they eat exclusively plant materials such as grass, hay, shrubs - their teeth are mainly designed for crushing, grinding, and juicing their food. They do not feed on meat and other tough materials like nuts or shells.  Llamas use their teeth the same way goats, cows, camels and sheep do. They cut grass from the ground using their sharp-edged incisors and dental pad, tear them, and push them towards the cheek teeth or the grinding teeth to further be chewed. Llamas are not true ruminants but are “pseudo ruminants” even though they have a similar digestive system as that of ruminants. Like ruminants, llamas are often spotted chewing because they regurgitate their food and chew it repeatedly before digesting. Llamas and alpacas are camelids, and camelids do not have front teeth in their upper jaws. This is why when you take a closer look at a chewing llama, you will notice that only its lower jaw has visible teeth. In place of the upper front tee

Hike the Root Glacier - Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Why I Like This Hike: Non-technical glacier hike suitable for most skill levels with great views of Mt. Blackburn, Regal Mountain, and Donaho Peak. This trail is generally rated easy / intermediate due to its grade and creek crossings. You can safely hike the glacier on your own with micro-spikes (or take the glacier tour and they will provide crampons.) This is an incredible glacier hike and well worth it if you (and your vehicle) can survive the drive from Chitna, Google Maps Driving Directions -  Kennecott-McCarthy Directions to McCarthy Road & Kennecott Note: This trail departs from Kennecott Mill Town and you must access Kennecott from McCarthy by either walking the road between McCarthy and Kennecott (an extra 4.5 miles), taking the commercial shuttle, or riding a bike.  If you plan to take the shuttle (recommended) be sure to check the schedule as it operates seasonally.  According to the NPS website:  There are 3 shuttle companies providing services between the pedestria

FAQ - Do Llamas Attract Bears?

Bear Busters! "Do llamas attract bears?" This is a frequently asked question (FAQ), especially during the summer months. Bears have been known to attack llamas but our experience has been that llamas don't attract bears anymore than other pets or pack stock. In fact the llama's "alarm call" may act as a good deterrent for bears. Llamas are instinctively alert and aware of their surroundings, and usually draw attention to an intruder by making a startling "alarm call" when it senses danger. A llama is usually aware of a bear long before we can see or hear it and will let off their "alarm call" when the unwanted intruder is around. Click on the YouTube link to hear our Raul llama making an alarm call -  Llama Alarm Call   However, I would not recommend leaving llamas tied out unattended while camping. In that situation llamas would not be able to defend themselves from predators such as bears or even an aggressive dog. Even in

Rabbit Lake via Upper Canyon Rd.

Why I Like This Hike: This is a quintessential Alaskan hike, family friendly and suitable for most skill levels. It's about 4.4 miles to Rabbit Lake, a large beautiful alpine lake some 3,000 feet above sea level in the shadow of 5,000-foot Suicide peaks. Once at the lake, the hiker has a number of options including hiking, camping and climbing nearby peaks. This trek is a short drive from Anchorage and can be hiked in all seasons depending on weather. Google Driving Directions:   Rabbit Lake Trailhead This hike is extremely popular during the summer so be advised that parking can be very limited at the Upper Canyon Road trailhead.   Overview: There are two main routes to  Rabbit Lake , the easier is from Upper Canyon Road off DeArmoun. The longer and steeper route starts from the McHugh Creek trailhead. You can hike to Rabbit Lake in a day (out and back) from either trailhead or as a one-way "through" hike. This post will describe the day hike from the Upper Canyon Road t