(FAKE) Alaskan Adventure Ride

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Z_HARSH, May 3, 2011.

  1. mikem9

    mikem9 Wanderer

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
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    1,272
    Location:
    North Georgia
    Amazing Photos!!
    #81
  2. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
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    Denver
    mikem9, thank you thank you thank you, they are not bad for a "cheap" camera, thanks for tuning in!
    #82
  3. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
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5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> Well, I am sorry to say it, but I am going to make my last post on this one momentarily. I still have a ton of odds and ends to tie up before we head off for our honeymoon and I will probably not get back to this until after the first snow flies, especially if you live up there. Either way, I am about to put this one on pause, but first, I just want to say thank you to everyone that has checked this little report out. It has been a blast and the vast majority of the riding is yet to come, and I will get back to it.
    #83
  4. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    We drove into Anchorage and made our way to the airport, I have to say I was pretty bummed out. I understood she had things to take care of and was OK with it, but at the same point I wished she would have been able to stay.





    I dropped her off at Alaska Airlines and headed down the Turnagain Arm. It was getting to be that time of the day again, the time when the sky starts singing for an hour. It was another beautiful one, so I pulled over to watch it. I walked down buy the water and sat for a while.





    Then I noticed the train was coming so I crossed back and whipped out my camera from its standard spot, the front pocket of my hiking pants (or riding pants). The train passed like a passageway into another chapter. It was somber, but I still had the Rat Dog with me and he is OK I guess. And, I still had my bike, or as Tina calls it, my other Asian.




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    #84
  5. Animo

    Animo Been n00b awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    5,619
    Location:
    Playa del Carmen
    Absolutely beautiful :thumb
    #85
  6. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    OK, back to reality. We had an awesome wedding; the food at the reception at New Saigon was amazing. Wes Webber, [FONT=&quot]The original adventure riders (and bikes!)[/FONT] author and long time riding buddy did an awesome job on the wedding photography, at a great price - contactable through ADVrider:deal

    Now, we are back from our honeymoon, touring around the Balkans and Alps on my new and currently for sale (in Sofia) &#8217;89 TransAlp 600. We did 7000 KMs and had a blast moving form mountains to beaches and back. My original plan was to do the Euro ride report live, finish it up and then come back to this. But, I quickly realized that live reports are great when you are traveling solo and there are many long lonely nights, but on a honeymoon it is hard to find the time and there are more important things to attend to.

    So, I will finish what I started, then look at doing a Euro report. Thanks for hanging in there and thanks for reading, I will get a real post up here shortly.
    #86
  7. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    Supa12 Pilot, thanks a million! I'm glad to have you reading.
    #87
  8. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    The Rat Dog and I headed back to our go-to spot up by Girdwood to meet up with the parents after taking in the sunset by the train tracks.


    The next morning I hung out with the parents and we headed into Girdwood and ate at The Bake Shop. It was a recommended stop in one of my mom’s books or magazines so we hunted it out. The food is excellent there and probably one of our favorite of the trip with a great breakfast menu. Then we went over to the Alyeska Ski Resort and hiked the little boardwalk trail towards the Crow Creek road on a little section of the historic Iditarod Trail. It was a little tame, compared to what I had grown accustom to in Alaska but that is how my mom likes it. Then the path descended to the river and there was a cool little box cart big enough for a couple people to pull themselves across the river.


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    Then after the little hike, I decided to go for a short 200 mile afternoon ride down to Hope to poke around. It was just the next town down off the turnoff, but in Alaska nothing is close. Well, that is maybe not exactly it, instead, the definition of close is just different. I probably should have taken more pictures in Hope but I was having too much fun riding, I found this little dirt cutoff threw the woods and rode it a couple times, and cranked it on up and back on the 20 mile or so dirt road that ends in a hiking trail. It was a good ride and I was a little concerned about running out of gas on the way back.

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    #88
  9. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    The next day, the Rat and I decided to go for a hike since I had already ridden most all the roads in the near vicinity and I needed to stick close to pick up the sis that evening. The Rat is actually a more experienced hiker than myself, believe it or not. I have yet to bag a 14er, not something to be extremely proud of as a native Coloradoan, but I guess I was just too busy riding dirtbikes at 12,000 ft instead. The Rat on the other hand, has bagged two 14ers. The hawks were even circling him at one point and he just stared back, squinted his eyes, and showed them his under-bight.

    <a href="http://s1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff439/Z_HARSH/ALASKA/?action=view&amp;current=P1020907-1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff439/Z_HARSH/ALASKA/P1020907-1.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    We drove up to the end of the road and started hiking up that morning. It is a popular route that people backpack on 2-3 day hikes with huts in the middle at 24 miles total (one way) ending near Eagle River. The Rat and I were keeping a good pace and we passed quite a few backpackers and hikers on the way up. You could take either a few switchbacks and then a shelf trail or an alternate route by the creek and waterfall. We took the switchbacks and shelf, figuring that it would be the quickest way to the pass.


    Part of the way up it came out to a little pond and a hut or 2. We stopped for a bite to eat, snacking on the beef jerky I brought along (for me, not the Rat mind you) and took a short rest by the lake, then headed out. Nothing caught my eye enough to take a picture, so we headed on. We had to zigzag back and forth across a tiny little stream and finally we made the pass, what I was shooting for.


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    After I snapped a quick picture of the sign, I looked around trying to figure out what to do next. Not too excited about continuing on, I spotted something off to the right. A little further, up the trail and across the bolder field, I saw a glowing blue glacier, just sitting there begging us to come visit. There was no trail, but heck, this is Alaska so no trails necessary so we set off to investigate.


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    The going was a bit tough, hopping from boulder to boulder. There were a couple little cliffs in the way that we had to navigate around, but soon we were there.


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    #89
  10. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    With the cloudy sky, the glaciers were a brilliant blue. It is crazy how much the color changes with the sun. The Rat and I just stood there, in awe of the ancient ice, dripping, cracking and crumbling before us.



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    We would have hung out there longer, but a German couple saw us and decided to come take a closer look at the glacier too. It kind of diminished the serenity though, so we headed back down.
    #90
  11. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    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.


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    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.




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

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    Not a bad 10-mile hike, not bad at all.
    #91
  12. TrailX

    TrailX Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    16
    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.
    #92
  13. nwgs

    nwgs solarfied

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    37,829
    Location:
    anywhere and everywhere
    Great stuff,

    thanks for the heads up Klay...:clap
    #93
  14. AKDuc

    AKDuc Alaska Born Ducatisti

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,762
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
    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.
    #94
  15. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    TrailX &#8211; 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&#8217;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 &#8211; Greatly appreciated and you are welcome! I had a blast on the way back down the PacNW too&#8230;.

    AKDuc &#8211; Thank you, thank you, thank you, and you are welcome&#8230;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.
    #95
  16. TrailX

    TrailX Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    16
    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 :D. 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.
    #96
  17. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    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....
    #97
  18. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    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/resurrectionbaytrailsystem.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.



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    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.




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    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.



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



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




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



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    #98
  19. EJ_92606

    EJ_92606 Rider

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,792
    Wow! Stunning, NOW I want to go to Alaska.
    #99
  20. Z_HARSH

    Z_HARSH Like margarine?

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    496
    Location:
    Denver
    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.