Here’s another image from the Harry’s Gulch section of the Bremner Mines to Tebay Lakes trip we did in August. This is Svetlana, or Sveta, as she hiked past me on the ridgeline. We decided a little further on that we were a tad high, and the sidehilling was a little slow, so we descended to easier walking down along the valley floor. A good decision, but I’m sure glad we spent time up high too – great views back east through the Chugach Mountains.
You can see the fall color already started, with the fireweed a bright red; this by mid-August. You can also the typical sky we had all trip long (just about) – lots of flat grey clouds. Fortunately, it wasn’t too wet, after our first couple of days.
This kind of hiking you see is deceptively hard. Firstly, the slope is steeper than it appears, so it’s hard on the ankles. Secondly, the grass and vegetation cover make it slippery, particularly when it’s slightly wet – as it was here. Thirdly, the brush cover means you don’t always see the ground you’re stepping on – which can catch you off guard. Fourth, a heavy pack can easily swing a little on the back and your balance is gone – many folks suggest side-hilling the hardest facet of off-trail hiking in Alaska. It can really slow you down – sometimes just a little higher or a little lower on the hillside can make the walking WAY easier, and mean the difference between covering several miles and twisting an ankle and going nowhere. Sveta handled this with aplomb, as did everyone on the route – even the guide!