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Old 10-11-2011, 11:22 AM   #91
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Crow Pass with the Rat Dog (Part 3)

On the way down, we headed to the other route, down by the waterfall. But first we found a nice little flat grassy spot on the side of the steep hill next to the steam and above the waterfall, to relax in for a while. Then, after a bit, we headed down to the waterfall.






























There is some old, left over mining equipment up there too. It’s pretty common for these parts. Even these days, further down Crow Creek, there is quite a bit of mining activity. Especially with today’s high gold prices.
























After a couple more shots of the surrounding beauty, we headed back to the truck to pick up the little sister in Anchorage.







Not a bad 10-mile hike, not bad at all.
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Old 10-11-2011, 01:26 PM   #92
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Amazing photos. Have a request...

Going through all of your photos brought back some very pleasant memories of my first trip to Alaska on an old KLR650 afew years back. Excellent account and amazing photos.

Here is my request:Anyway you could scrounge up a Google Map of your route and stops? There are quite a few spots that you made it to that I didn't and would love to next summer.No worries, if you can't; it can be quite a task to try remember every road and trail.

Thank you.
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Old 10-11-2011, 03:43 PM   #93
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Great stuff,

thanks for the heads up Klay...
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Old 10-12-2011, 02:01 AM   #94
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Wonderful ride report and like many have said, great photos!

Glad your KLR helped contribute to your having so much fun and seeing so much more while you were up here.

Thanks again for sharing, Mark H.
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Old 10-12-2011, 10:09 PM   #95
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Thanks everyone!

TrailX – Thanks a million, I am glad to help bring back some fond memories. For this trip, I never planned anything out. I talked to some people and know some guys that rented KLRs and caused some havoc up there for a week or two, but never ever really looked at the map until I was there. All I had was a piece of paper with a couple places written down. One thing about it, is there are only 10 roads, or so, in the state so finding things is not too tough. I mostly just used my road atlas and kept my eyes peeled, if I saw a turnoff I went until it ended or was forced to turn around. I had my GPS, but mostly neglected to use it, I didn’t even have the Alaska map successfully loaded on it. I was looking for what files I did have, but I think I forgot to save them before we whipped it clean for Baja last year, unfortunately. I have been trying to do a decent job of explaining where to find things however if you, or any of you, want any more specifics feel free to PM me. I will be more than happy to help in any way I can.

nwgs – Greatly appreciated and you are welcome! I had a blast on the way back down the PacNW too….

AKDuc – Thank you, thank you, thank you, and you are welcome…the KLR was perfect up there. It really did help me explore much more of the vastness of Alaska. The crazy thing is how little is accessible by road. It would be an amazing place to live and sledding (snow machines) would be awesome in the winter. I am very happy that you are enjoying this little report so far, I still have most of the riding to come. I almost thought about skipping or condensing the hiking, but it is also shows a different side I think.
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:08 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by Z_HARSH View Post
I have been trying to do a decent job of explaining where to find things however if you, or any of you, want any more specifics feel free to PM me. I will be more than happy to help in any way I can.
Z_Harsh: You are absolutely right there really are only 10 roads in the entire state - I think I took 8 of them at some point or another . Your account of the trip has been very descriptive and helpful and I will definitely take you up picking your brain further as I get closer to my trip. Thank you so much.
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Old 10-17-2011, 10:51 PM   #97
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Sounds great TrailX, give me some lead time though, I don't always log in.








OK, I need to get through this hiking crap and get to the good stuff, thank you for bearing with me....
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Old 10-17-2011, 10:59 PM   #98
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Caines Head (part 1)

From there, I headed into Anchorage to stock up on necessities, propane, water, food and the like, and then met up with the little sister, Valerie. She was on her last year of pharmacy school and was able to pick where she wanted to do her 6-week rotations. For some reason she chose Anchorage, Alaska, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Salt Lake City, Utah (for the ski season) to work in. One of mom’s friends at church used to live in Anchorage and asked around, and just so happened to have a friend with a finished downstairs apartment in their house who offered to let Val stay there for free. His name was Chuck, and at the ripe, young age of 82, this guy was a true Alaskan. He and his wife moved up there in their 20s and he made his living by running a sign shop. Apparently, he did most of the neon signs in the city. He now tends to his wife who is suffering from dementia, but still takes the motorhome out once and a while, and always has a project in the garage. Hearing his stories about legendary fish, bear hunts, and 500-mile boating trips down the Yukon was truly wonderful though. His love for life was amazing.



Anyways, Val had a week before she started her job at the pharmacy in Alaska Regional Hospital, so we discussed our options. We basically had 2 options, north to Denali or south to the Kenai. Being from Colorado and 18 hours from the closest beach, we decided to head south. She is into hiking, and so I had a few things in mind. We decided to start by heading to Seward and go check out Caines Head: http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/re...railsystem.pdf




On Caines Head there is an old abandoned fort from World War II way out on the point, set there to protect the valuable deep-sea port in Seward. To get to it, there is an 6.5 mile (10.5 km) hike up the tidal flats that can only be done during low tides. There are a few cabins that can be rented and most people usually do an overnight excursion, if they hike in and out. Otherwise, you can rent a boat or a boat taxi to take you one direction. I already had a handy little tide booklet that showed us the fluctuations, and low tide would be at 8:24 the next morning. That meant we had to head out around 6:30 we figured.



We loaded up the truck after a run to the store, and headed south along the beautiful Turnagain Arm, then turned off to Seward. Since we had to hit the trail early, we didn’t want to be out on the pull-outs off the Exit Glacier because it was too far. There was a little dirt road off to the right, at the beginning of town, but it went out to some old bunkers, had an odd feeling to it, and for some reason didn’t look like a good place to camp for the night. So, we bit the bullet and paid for a campsite. The next morning we woke early, ate some breakfast, drove to the patrolled no camping parking lot, grabbed our already packed backpacks, and hit the trail.































The path was easy at first, climbed a little bit of an incline, then back down, sometimes close to bay, sometimes in the thick forest. Then it came down and crossed a river outlet into the sea. There used to be a bridge, but the violent melt off took it out so you had to wade the river. We looked around; there was a pool of dying salmon just flopping around in their black and white scales, but nowhere inland to cross so the decision was easy. We headed out in the tidal flats to find a better place. Neither of us felt like a waste to chest deep water crossing to start the day, and the rivers spread out and shallow up as they meet the tidal flats. We walked and walked, out to the sea, and finally found a place to cross, wading barefoot across the calf-deep water, no biggie at all.









From there it was a long ways up the shore. If you miss-timed it, things would not be pretty. Most of the shoreline is too steep to climb out if the water came in, and swimming is not an ideal option either. Walking over the shoreline was a difficult task too. It is all off chamber, sloped one direction, and slick as snot. The jagged rocks were green with the slimy moss and hard to keep from slipping on. The Rat Dog didn’t enjoy those sections, but some were simply spectacular in the early light.































Occasionally the trail would jet into the thick canopy for a moment and cross a little creek.








Then go back out to the shore, next to a little waterfall.









But, it was beautiful none the less, no matter where it decided to go.



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Old 10-17-2011, 11:33 PM   #99
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Wow! Stunning, NOW I want to go to Alaska.
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Old 10-19-2011, 08:49 AM   #100
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Thanks EJ, you won't regret it, it was way more than I ever expected. Just hope for blue skies, or maybe go later in the summer. I don't know, but we got lucky on weather.
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Old 10-19-2011, 08:58 AM   #101
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Caines Head (part 2)

After a long and slow trek up the shore, we made it to the first remnants.







Then the trail headed into the forest and up a hill, gaining a couple hundred feet f elevation providing some more million- dollar views.


















Soon we were at the old bunker. I happened to have my flashlight and we went exploring. It was not very big, maybe 4 rooms and some hallways, but walking around it felt like walking around in a video game. I felt like I was in a Halo map.










From the outside there was not too much to see.









It was built into the hill top and covered in vegetation with only a couple cement patches at the top.









But, there was a nice area to sit and look over the bay on one side.









Behind a little ledge, up on top of the barracks, I stumbled across a geocache, so we opened it up for a peek inside, nothing too exciting though.



We were taking our time and relaxing, eating our packed food and letting our feet cool down. We had to wait for the next low tide before we could hike out (12.5 hours after the first) so we had some time.


After a long rest, we decided to head to the South Beach. It was cool how close the trail got the sheer cliff; with the thick vegetation, you could hardly tell it was right there.








We came out on South Beach and sat down for a little while.










Then took the loop back, cutting inland. It was really cool hiking back there. You could tell that few people took the path by how overgrown with moss it was. There were sections where you simply followed the orange ribbons tied in trees. There were also several log bridges, made of one or two laid over lengthwise and flattened on the top with a few grooves cut in for traction. Some didn’t look too sturdy, I gave a couple a bit of a test bounce, if you will, to check the strength. It is hard to describe the feeling back there; it felt like hiking through an enchanted forest, or almost like another world, with the moss glowing green.


















Chuwe, the Rat was having a blast, scurrying right across the logs but was happy to get a chance to relax here and there too.








After a long day on the feet, we headed back up the beach, with the sunrise on the way out and sunset on the way back. The creek crossing on the way back wasn’t a problem though, we weren’t too worried about wet feet at that point.






20 miles is a lot of hiking for one day. (32k)

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Old 10-23-2011, 08:59 PM   #102
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More Fish’n

On our way into Seward a couple days prior, I rolled down my window and the switch broke, just the up side, and automatically retracted the driver’s side window back into the door. The switch just popped out of the door, I didn’t have to pull off the panel, so I pulled it out and called up the Ford dealership in Soldotna to see if they could order one in. Sure enough, they could have one in shipped in a day or two. So, after the hike we pulled off the Exit Glacier road and crashed out, then woke up and headed down to Homer again, after a quick stop in Soldotna to see the Ford dealership.



In the mean time, Dad was getting his 220k mile (350,000 km) transmission replaced in Anchorage. He found a guy that was branching off from his farter’s transition shop and starting his own, with all the set-up to hoist up my pop’s Ford E350 15-passenger van converted into a camper and time to fit it in. The guy happened to have a perfect match for the trany laying around and worked till eight that night to get it replaced the next day. After the test drive they headed down to Homer to meet up.



They met up with Val and I at the dealership in Soldotna, we all stocked up on some more supplies, and then headed south to set up camp back at my favorite spot, Whiskey Gulch. Val decided she wanted to go halibut fishing too, so we called and made reservations with Bob again. She paid for me this time, for being the nice brother and carting her around like that.






































This time on the charter, a dad and kid on the boat decided they didn’t want to keep their fish, so I was quick to volunteer to help take some of the extra. Val doesn’t really like fish either so I came out with 30 lbs or so. Rather than paying to ship it back, I decided to just pack it in dry ice and keep it with me, after giving some to my parents of course. This became somewhat of an issue later on.


After the charter, the four of us went out to lunch and then headed back to camp, after showing them the Salty Dog. Val wanted to do a bit more fishing, we had the licenses for the day, so we headed over to The Bait Shop. Its little hole-in-the- wall fishing store right off the road, and we asked the guy what the hot set-up was on the Anchor River. Unfortunately, the owner was out, running his own charter, but his buddy there knew a whole lot more than we did and was more than willing to help. He was a great guy. He set us up with some Super Bait, some yellow mesh to tie the bait in, a few weights, and another lure for good measure. After teaching me how to tie on the bate sack, we set off. I was determined to catch a Silver Salmon.



We headed out the little path, by the Anchor River campground, and followed it ‘till we were right by where it let out into the sea. I set up Val’s fishing rod like the guy at the shop told me and then set up mine. We were there for a while, watching the fly-fishermen pull them in quite regularly, casting and casting out our bait repeatedly. At one point, Val cast it over, across the river and up on the bank on the other side. One of the other anglers noticed and came over, saying: “What’s this? A damsel in distress!!! let me help”. He then untangled the lour and reeled it in. He took one look at the set-up, saw the weights, and laughed: “What are you trying to do? Knock the fish out?” Then went over to his tackle box and changed her line up. After Val came up with nothing several times, he changed it up for her again, and again, and again. She said she would have given up a long time before she did but he was so excited to help, she couldn’t.







He was awesome, so into helping the lil sis catch a salmon. But, she never did. I actually caught something though, a steelhead, there was a ban on catching them unfortunately so I had to promptly throw it back though. Bruce, our new buddy, ended up giving us the silver he caught though, that was nice of him. He said he lived right by the bridge and came there every day, plus, his freezer was already full he noted. I stayed late, well past dark, pushing 10 or 11 I think, but could never catch one of my own. I kept thinking about the definition of insanity, casting and casting and casting some more, bate on one fishing pole and the lure on the other. Doing the same thing over and over and over again, expecting different results.








At least the sunset was another amazing one.
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:39 PM   #103
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Run-Ins and Scouting

After a long day of fishing, we hung out by the ocean for a while. We packed up the truck moseyed around the beach, but the Rat decided that a rotting bird carcass smelled like the perfect thing to roll in. So, I decided that the perfect rewarded was a bath in the sea. While he was jumping into the ocean and swimming back to me, trying to get the suds off, I heard what I thought sounded like a KLR ride up. After we were done, I took the Rat back and locked him in the truck.


Sure enough, an old KLR with full luggage, looking like it had been on the road for months was parked in the beach parking lot, with the owner sitting back propped on the kickstand with his feet on the handlebars. I’d like to see a KTM owner try that one. I went over and we started bs’n, more than anything I was stoked to see another rider, my age, who looked like they could hang. It is always better to have a riding buddy, and not just anybody will do. I talked him into meeting up at Clam Gulch, maybe 60 miles (100k) north. We arranged to meet up, down on the beach and I shared my plan to scout out to the north.


We pulled out and headed north a ways. Then pulled onto the beach, staying on the hard-pack and found a little spot right next to the path onto the beach, just big and flat enough to park my truck. There wasn’t much room to maneuver without getting into the deep sand, which I didn’t want to risk with the truck. I popped the top on the camper and unloaded the bike, and then he rode through.

Photobucket

Apparently he had already been there for a bit, he stopped for a quick second, then gunned it through the super soft sand at the top, he looked like he knew what he was doing. Then he made way for an old single-wide left out there for decades, rotting and rusting away, perched up on pylons above the beach. After he put down his panniers and set up his tent, we went for a bit of a ride.

Photobucket

I gunned it and quickly sped up to a good cursing speed, maybe 50 mph (80 kmh), there weren’t any real obstacles in the way and the rocks were small and consistent. It took him a little bit, but soon he got the hang of it and off we went. Standing up and slamming all your weight on one peg, then the next, while blurpping the throttle, weaving back and forth over the virgin beach is about as cool of a feeling as you can get on a bike. Although, I have to say it is definitely much more fun on the DRZ (E of course).


We stopped a few times, I warned him about the salt water and told him about the little starting in 2nd trick, keeping the butt on the far back of the seat, and just getting up speed quickly, and we had a blast railing it down the beach.


I wish I would have taken some pictures of the ride, but we were riding in the twilight so the light was bad and we were having too much fun to stop.


In too little time, we were at Kasilof, cut off by the river. We played around on the sandy 2-tracks down by the beach and then headed into the little town. We found a bar, who, also just so happened to have a hose out back. After a quick rinse of the bikes, we went in and got a couple drinks. After sharing notes and chatted about this and that, he told me he was Running from Root-beer, looking for the Sun at Night, and Missing Adventures, or something like that. He was a cool cat, a true rambler indeed, not real sure what his next move was going to be. I think he was talking about some cute redhead in Anchorage too. If I recall correctly I told him he should go to Mexico. Not sure though, that’s what I thought I remembered, but either way, after a bit we headed back to camp and called it a night.


The tide came up pretty far that nigh and I was glad I parked where I did. I was a little worried about Alex, but his bike looked fine in the morning. You could definitely see that the water was only a foot away form tis tires though.


I don’t think he was up when Val and I headed out. We discussed our options and she decided she wanted to go see Lake Tustumena, I guess she had seen it on a map.


We wondered up one dirt road, and then the next, and figured out that they were all just a dead ends to some houses. We stopped and asked a couple people and they kind of gave us a funny look. Looking back, I probably should have inquired more, but they pointed us back saying they thought you could get there up the road a little ways. But a little ways is 30 miles in Alaska.


Finally we stumbled onto Tunstumena Lake Road, out of Kasilaf, and found a boat ramp on a big river. But the lake was still 20 miles (32k) up river. There were a few decent little camp sights and we decided to park it up and go for a little hike.


Photobucket


And then my trusty little camera decided to start acting up.

Photobucket





Photobucket


So I turned it off and back on again, and it started working again. There was just a little, overgrown path and the damp undergrowth was soaking our legs so we didn’t hike for too long.


Photobucket





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Photobucket


Then we headed back to the truck and drove twords the beach. I wanted to try and find as many beach access points as I could, for future exploration.


We went into Kalifornsky.


Photobucket





alt="Photobucket">


Then into The City of Kenai, and stumbled around a bit, but it looked a little too hoytie toytie. Then we headed up to Salamatof, across Texico Lane and Conoco Road, and stumbled into the Captain Cook National Recreation Area. We were haning out in the parking lot, putting together some food and a local came up so we started chatting. We talked about this and that, how people run away up here to get away from their rap sheet, and then she mentioned she had an ATV. She proceeded to tell me about a cool ride they do out of there, where you have to check the tide and if you hit it right you can make a 35 mile one way ride up the beach, before it dead ends. You had to watch it though, because in the summer there are no other ways out. So I took notes and then snapped a few pictures of just another Alaskan sunset.


Photobucket






Photobucket
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Old 11-08-2011, 09:05 AM   #104
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Glacier Tourists

Mom wanted to do the 14 Glacier Tour, or something like that, for a family outing so Val and I headed up to Whittier to meet up with the parents. We had to wait in line for a while so the train could go through. The tunnel is actually owned by the railroad and so you had to pay them a toll and they only open it up in each direction for the cars a couple times a day.

The trip through the tunnel was drippy with little rocks falling off the ceiling without warning. It’s probably a good thing they require motorcycles to wear helmets. Personally, I have never been one for making people wear helmets; I mean our planet just overtook 7 billion people, if someone wants to volunteer for a higher probability in participating in population control, then more power to ‘em I say, but it is probably a good thing in this instance. It would be a little bit of an exciting ride through on a bike I suspect, with the wet slick train tracks, potholes, and rocks on the ground and drips form the ceiling throughout the tunnel, following a long line of traffic.

When Val and I met up with the parents and Mom was pretty down. Like the local saying goes, it was definitely $h!ttier in Whittier. All rainy and overcast, we were kind of bummed thinking the tour may be a bust. But the tickets were already paid for, so we herded into line and walked the plank down to the boat. I was pretty apprehensive about the whole ordeal at first, but, Ranger Rick was pretty cool. He was talking about all kinds of different facts and trivia while we set out. Then they served fish and chips for dinner (halibut of course) as we motored through the Price William Sound. The bar was good too.

Due to the consistent rain and lack of visibility they changed up the plan and decided short change us a few glaciers since we wouldn’t be able to get a glimpse of them, and get a bit more up close and personal than usual with another instead.





I was a bit surprised at how they motored through all the ice chunks, like they were nothing.





We sat there in the bay, watching the glacier calving (chunks break off) and observed the harbor seals, tourist, and golden eagles frolic in their natural habitat.






(the little white dots are golden eagles, or actually, maybe they were just the golden eagle food, I forgot)

Then, on the way back we couldn’t resist a few family pics for the Christmas cards.



We headed back up to Anchorage; I dropped off the sis, took one of my few showers of the trip, restocked on supplies, and then I evaluated my options. I had several days until Tina flew back into Anchorage; I just had to figure out how to spend them, hmmmmm. What to do, hmmmmm indeed.
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Old 11-14-2011, 09:53 PM   #105
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not quite there yet
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