Reflections Lake.

Hike 10/52. This was a new one for me. Just north of Anchorage, we left early one afternoon to go and see what we could see. It was a beautiful sunny day and we parked at Rabbit Slough. Having just got a bow and thinking about hunting sometime, I spent a little too long following rabbit tracks, but didn’t see any animals.

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The day was gorgeous and I couldn’t stop taking pictures. There were moose tracks all over the place. Also, there were lots of trails from people snowshoeing.

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It was cold and it made the scenery even more spectacular.

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From Rabbit Slough, we headed to Reflections Lake and spent the rest of the afternoon there. Even with the water frozen, it was a beautiful spot.Screen Shot 2017-02-05 at 7.36.20 AM.pngThe sun was amazing poking through the trees. Seeing our breath and feeling the sting of the cold air made me really appreciate the warmth of our house and a good cup of tea.Screen Shot 2017-02-05 at 7.36.34 AM.pngScreen Shot 2017-02-05 at 7.36.52 AM.pngI even found a tree that had been decorated just for me.Screen Shot 2017-02-05 at 7.37.11 AM.png

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Near the house.

Great Horned Owl. This one was sitting above a decapitated and disemboweled rabbit. Unlike other owl species, both male and female Great Horned Owls sing. I love being able to see this down the street from our house.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 6.34.15 AMFireweed is a common sight here in Alaska. The name Fireweed derives from the species’ abundance as a coloniser on burnt sites after forest fires. Its tendency to quickly colonize open areas with little competition, such as sites of forest fires and forest clearings, makes it a clear example of a pioneer species. Plants grow and flower as long as there is open space and plenty of light. As trees and brush grow larger the plants die out, but the seeds remain viable in the soil seed bank for many years; when a new fire or other disturbance occurs that opens up the ground to light again, the seeds germinate. Some areas with heavy seed counts in the soil can, after burning, be covered with pure dense stands of this species and when in flower the landscape is turned into fields of color.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 6.34.39 AMThe dogs. We love them. Sometimes, they listen to us.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 6.35.01 AM

Ocean View.

There is a common thing told to people moving to Anchorage. Avoid any neighborhoods with “view” in the name. Mountain View is dangerous, don’t move to Fairview, Oceanview, well you probably can’t afford Oceanview. The same could be said for Goldenview, or that Goldenview is too far south. Oceanview is our new favorite place to hang out. We can walk to a beach that has been covered in snow lately. The sunsets are amazing. There are usually as many moose as there are people we don’t know.

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Lando leading the way to the beach.

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Amanda found the perfect tree to take a picture of.

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The dogs loved sitting on giant pieces of ice that float to shore at high tide.

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Skijoring.

Skijoring with a dog is a sport in which a dog (or dogs) assist a cross-country skier. One to three dogs are commonly used. The cross-country skier provides power with skis and poles, and the dog adds additional power by running and pulling. The skier wears a skijoring harness, the dog wears a sled dog harness, and the two are connected by a length of rope. There are no reins or other signaling devices to control the dog; the dog must be motivated by its own desire to run, and respond to the owner’s voice for direction.Wiki.

Hiking Falls Creek.

I am sure that there are more hidden, or untouched, or beautiful hikes in Alaska. This hike happens to be about 10 minutes from our house. We are checking these off as often as we can. Once again, we got out of the house late so we were looking for a short hike. This one is only about 3 miles each way. Seemed like no problem.Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 6.19.48 PMRight at the trailhead, there is a beautiful waterfall. We followed the creek uphill. And farther uphill. Up, up, up. After about 3/4 of a mile, I was doubting this decision.

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 6.21.08 PMAt the lower elevations, there were trees. Some were even green still. Fall sure does come early here.Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 6.21.22 PMSorry, not sorry about my panorama addiction.

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 6.21.35 PMEventually, we broke out of the trees and could see some blue skies.

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As we looked back we could see Turnagain Arm (WikiUpon reaching the head of Cook Inlet, Bligh was of the opinion that both Knik Arm and Turnagain Arm were the mouths of rivers and not the opening to the Northwest Passage. Under Cook’s orders Bligh organized a party to travel up Knik Arm, which quickly returned to report Knik Arm indeed led only to a river.

Afterwards a second party was dispatched up Turnagain Arm and it too returned to report only a river lay ahead. As a result of this frustration the second body of water was given the disingenuous name “Turn Again”. Early maps label Turnagain Arm as the “Turnagain River”.) Turnagain Arm eventually disappeared behind us.

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 6.22.12 PMAs we gained elevation, the temperatures dropped. It became very obvious that even on this nice day, it wasn’t getting too warm. Luckily we were hot from walking uphill constantly.Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 6.22.26 PMWe saw snow ahead, but didn’t know how much. We knew we were headed towards a lake.Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 6.22.45 PMTurns out that it was quite a bit of snow for 3100 feet in elevation.Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 6.20.10 PMThe lake, however, was not what we expected!Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 6.20.29 PM

Mason Lake – Ira Spring trail

A few future nurses headed out to explore on our spring break. We were fresh from school and recently completed an ACLS course. Feeling like being outside, I took the dogs (Obi’s first hike), and we met at the trailhead. It starts off easily enough through the trees.Mason Lake TrailNot long after that, the views really expand and the hiking gets a little more strenuous. It was nice to be sweating in the sunshine when we should be knee deep in snow. It was still March after all.Ira Spring PanoramaIra Spring Memorial TrailWhen we first arrived at the lake, it was mesmerizing. I love the alpine lakes. The water was calm, clear and looked good for fishing (which is always on the back of my mind). We were amazed that there was no snow to be seen. It wouldn’t have been surprising if the lake had ice on it this time of year.Mason LakeI couldn’t stop taking pictures. Panoramas were almost as popular as selfies this day.Mason Lake, Washington.

I am not afraid to admit that I was given a selfie stick and I used it. The BSB (blue shirt boys) were in full effect on this hike.Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 5.45.48 PMThanks as always to my hiking companions that show up and don’t complain. Also, if you hike in Washington State, you probably know about WTA, but if not, check them out as they have more information than you will know what to do with. Become a member.Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 5.49.07 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 5.48.35 PM