One gorgeous evening, a 2 mile hike (one-way) from camp and some more photos that I had been hoping for some time now to make. Lucky me!
We just trekked from Skolai Pass, in Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve, to ‘Wolverine‘, a landing strip high above the Chitistone Valley, over the relatively popular ‘Goat Trail‘. This is a classic hike, and one I try to make every summer. Before I talk about it further, I’ll qualify what I mean by ‘popular’ here.
Probably not 50 people hike this route each year, more likely 40, at most. Consider, for example, that nearly TWO THOUSAND people venture to hike the entire Appalachian Trail each year, and one starts to see that the word ‘popular‘ is entirely contextual. I only say ‘popular‘ here because so few people hike anywhere else in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park.
We had a real mix of weather on this trip, so I was SUPER lucky to grab such a gorgeous evening here at this location. the clouds dissipated throughout the course of the day, which we spent backpacking across the Goat Trail, a steep sloping scree-sided series of ravines, traversed by a meandering myriad sheep and goat trails; hitting the correct ones makes a huge difference on how easy the traverse is. The ‘wrong’ ones can easily be impassable for people, especially those carrying heavy backpacks.
As we enjoyed dinner on a ridge high above the Chitistone River, the evening grew more and more lovely, and I knew I had to make the walk down toward the river for some photography, the University Range to the south of us glowing in the late Alaska light. I don’t know exactly how far it was from camp to my final objective, but it’s probably over 2 miles, and quite a few feet of altitude. The walk down took close to an hour and the return, after sunset, was a bit of a mission. on the whole, though, well worth the effort. I’d long wanted to get some shots from this locale, and couldn’t let such an opportunity pass me by.
I shot some photos of Chitistone Falls, as well as this unnamed gorge that enters into the Chitistone just downstream from the falls. The University Range, featuring Mt Bona (16 421′) and Mt Churchill (15 ‘) to the south provide a classic mountain backdrop. I managed to grab some images of those awesome mountains later in the evening, purple with rich alpenglow. I’ll post one in a few days.
Possibly the oddest thing about this evening walk was the wildlife I ran into. High above treeline, barely in brush line, I saw a porcupine. Too cool.