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Showing posts from 2021

Celebrate the New Year with a Hike to Barbara Falls!

The hike to Barbara Falls (also known as South Fork Falls*) can be done in any season. The frozen winter (silent) falls can be as spectacular as the noisy summer falls. There are several ways to get to this 60 foot beauty in Eagle River, Alaska. The easiest and shortest way is to drive to the gate at the bottom of Ken Logan Circle. Then walk about a half-mile on old roads from the end of Ken Logan Circle (in a neighborhood off Hiland Road.)   Please respect private property. Depending on your route to the falls, you may be walking in a right-of-way  on or near private property. Short Route:  Take the Glenn Highway about 10 miles north to Eagle River Loop and exit toward the mountains. Turn right at the first light onto Hiland Road. Continue uphill about 3.3 miles and turn left onto River View Drive into a neighborhood. Veer left as it becomes Waterfall Drive, then follow until it dead-ends into River Park Drive. Continue right to Ken Logan Circle. Most of the circle is signed off-lim

Hike More in 2022...

We all know hiking is good for both mind and body as this article points out - Five Ways Hiking Is Good for You . The New Year is almost here so make a resolution to "don" your hiking boots and hit the trails more in 2022. To get you started, here's a list of Alaska hiking groups compiled from various Facebook posts 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 (or post a comment) and I will include. 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. Women Who Hike Alaska - https://www.facebook.com/groups/284961021989141/ Hike Like A Woman Alaska: Typically women only, but may host “f

Hike to "The Perch" (Winter)

Here's a lovely winter hike... Why I Like This Hike:   This section of the Historic Iditarod Trail starts from the Eagle River Nature Center (ERNC) and makes for a splendid hike any time of  year especially in the winter after a fresh snowfall. The well-established trail is truly an all-season hike with potential for wildlife viewing and doable for all skill levels. Background : The Historic Iditarod (aka Crow Pass) Trail which spans the Girdwood Valley to Eagle River is considered one of the best trails to hike in the Chugach mountain range because it offers such diversity including glaciers, waterfalls and wildlife. Not only a great hiking/backpacking route, it's also an historic portion of the Iditarod Trail that led from Seward to mines in the Interior. A bit of trivia not known by many is that this trail was rebuilt in the 1970s with girl scout labor. Moose on trail near ERNC How to Get There:   For driving directions to the trailhead at the ERNC go to the   E

Lower Eagle River or River Woods Trail (All Season Hike)

The Lower Eagle River trail (also called the River Woods Trail) runs along the Eagle River in Chugach State Park and it's just minutes from downtown Eagle River. Why I Like This Hike:  This is truly an all-season trail that can be hiked all times of the year including winter.  It's an easy walk that offers convenient access with intermittent views of surrounding mountains and opportunity for wildlife viewing. Due to the flat terrain and accessibility, it's a pleasant hike in any season and suitable for all skill levels including kids and elderly. Note: during the winter months temperatures along this river trail can be 10 to 15 degrees colder so dress accordingly. How to Get There: The trailhead can be accessed from the south side of the Briggs Bridge off the Eagle River Loop Road where there is pubic parking and a boat launch. Google Maps - Briggs Bridge Access The Nitty-Gritty:  From the Briggs Bridge access, the lower Eagle River trail goes east through birch and spruce

Easy Moose Sausage Recipe

For all the successful moose hunters out there, here is the easiest homemade sausage recipe I have tried. It's very tasty and easy to make.  It also makes a great snack on the trail. Easiest Moose Sausage Recipe 1 pound ground pork (or pork sausage) 4 pounds ground moose (or venison, caribou etc.) 1 Tbsp mustard seed 1 tsp liquid smoke 1 tsp garlic powder 2 tsp ground pepper 1 tsp lemon juice 1 tsp cayenne pepper 2 Tbsp brown sugar 1/2 tsp onion powder 2-1/2 Tbsp Morton Tender Quick 1 cup cold water 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (optional) 3-5 slices of jalapeno (optional) Directions: Mix all ingredients well in a glass mixing bowl. Put in refrigerator for 3-5 days to cure (depending on how much you want the meat to cure.) Mix every day. On the final curing day (3rd to 5th) day divide meat into 5 equal portions and roll each into a cylinder. Then wrap each roll in aluminum foil, ensuring that the foil’s shiny side faces inward. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

The Canadian Papers - "Smoke and Mirrors?"

Canadian hypothetical risk assessments have been and are being used as a basis for banning pack llamas on public lands by various government agencies. Do they "pass muster" and are they based on science? Let's take a closer look. It was stated during the August 5, 2021 BLM Virtual Meeting by BLM biologist (Jim Herriges) that BLM’s decision to prohibit pack llamas is based on Canadian hypothetical “Risk Assessments.”  I’d like to point out that the authors of these Canadian papers state (1) “…there is insufficient data available to clearly assess the role of camelids as a source of disease at this time…..” and (2) “Risks from camelids to wildlife in British Columbia remain hypothetical after this risk assessment, as no direct evidence was found to implicate camelids as sources of significant diseases in wildlife in BC or elsewhere.”  So by their own admission, the authors conclude camelid disease transmission is hypothetical and based on conjecture (not science) Furthermor

Hike to Eagle & Symphony Lakes

Fall Colors Along the River (Symphony Lake) About 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. Google Directions  (Eagle Lake & boulder field in the foreground)  The trail to Eagle and Symphony Lakes starts from the South Fork parking lot.  It has become  extremely popular and the parking lot fills quickly even on weekday

Attention Llama Owners & Supporters - Comments Needed!

The comment period ended August 20, 2021. Check back here for updates.  ***Thanks to all who made comments!*** The Alaska Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is proposing to restrict/prohibit the use of pack llamas in the Eastern Interior Resource Management Area (EI–RMA) based on a perceived disease threat to wild sheep through their Travel Management Plans (TMPs) for the Steese and White Mountain subunits which are currently open for public comment. The TMPs are part of the proposed rule making process that take their direction from a planning document BLM approved in 2016 called the Eastern Interior-Resource Management Plan (EI-RMP). This EI-RMP (planning document) prohibits/restricts pack llamas in the Steese and White Mountains subunits of the BLM-Eastern Interior Management Area based on an unsubstantiated disease threat to wild sheep. Consequently, we are asking for an amendment to the 2016 BLM approved Eastern Interior RMP (planning document) because this will also be necessary to

Hike to Williwaw Lakes and Long Lake

Walrus Lake (Uppermost Williwaw Lake) Overview: The hike to Williwaw Lakes is one of the most beautiful in Alaska's Chugach State Park. This trek which is a short drive from downtown Anchorage, offers a variety of options including day hikes, overnight or multiday adventures so you can make it as easy or difficult as you want. (In the winter, it is also a popular ski trail and can usually be hiked to the lower Williwaw Lake depending on snow conditions.) The trek takes the hiker through alpine tundra amid a variety of alpine flowers, grassy meadows and scrub hemlock. The pristine alpine lakes are situated in a mountainous valley above Anchorage at the base of craggy Mount Williwaw (elev. 5,445 ft.). If you make it to the upper lakes, you will be rewarded with stunning views of surrounding mountains and possible wildlife viewing of dall sheep, moose, coyotes, fox, and various waterfowl. There are plenty of camping opportunities around the Williwaw Lakes (as well as Long Lake if you

Celebrate Llamas!

“Humming Along With Llamas” A conversation with previous President of GALA and current Llama Promotion Committee Chair, Dr. Jane Hamilton-Merritt Why is National Llama Appreciation day June 21? Over the centuries the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere has been celebrated as a time of re-uniting with and appreciating the natural world. The summer solstice and the appreciation of llamas is a natural and historical fit. Our summer solstice is the winter solstice in the Andes, ancestral home of our llamas. The Andean June solstice celebration continues today with traditional recognition of the power of the natural world, including attention to llamas. ​ What better symbol to acknowledge our summer solstice than to honor and appreciate llamas, one of the world’s oldest surviving animals. And to recognize the gentle nature of these animals who are often referred to as “old souls” as they seem to understand so much about human nature. More here:   LLAMA APPRECIATION DAY June

Llama Beans - What are they good for?

What are llama beans? "Llama beans" or “Alpaca Beans” are the droppings / poop / manure produced by these animals. These droppings do look like brown beans so that's where the name comes from. Alpaca or Llama Beans can be used to enhance your soil and produce superior flowers and gardens and are considered to be environmentally friendly. What are llama beans good for?  As per  Home Guides  by Gemma Craig-  How to Use Llama Manure Llama beans or llama manure "is used as a potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous-rich organic fertilizer in gardens and flowerbeds. Unlike fertilizer sprays and sticks, llama manure is earthy-friendly, and reduces your carbon footprint by recycling a part of nature; it has the added benefit of being odor-free. You can either gather llama manure yourself from your own llamas, or order it from a llama farm, then use it as-is to improve your soil and provide plants with much-needed nutrients. Shovel llama manure into a bucket, then moisten the man

Hike to Heritage Falls, Icicle Creek and Beyond

  View of Eagle River Above the Perch Overview:  The Historic Iditarod (aka Crow Pass) Trail which spans the Girdwood Valley to Eagle River is considered one of the  best trails to hike in the Chugach mountain range because it offers such diversity including glaciers, waterfalls and wildlife. It’s not only a quintessential hiking/backpacking route but an historic portion of the Iditarod Trail that led from Seward to mines in the Interior. It was (reportedly) rebuilt in the 1970s with girl scout labor.  This section of the Historic Iditarod Trail starts from the Eagle River Nature Center (ERNC) and makes for a versatile spring, early summer hike or overnight.  Driving directions to the ERNC :  ERNC Driving Directions Why I Like This Hike: It's a lovely all-season hike (or overnight) suitable for most skill levels. You can make this trek as easy or challenging as you want. If you want a shorter less demanding hike, just make your end point the Perch (mile 4.0), Heritage Falls (mile 5