Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Alaska Day 6 - Iditarod Trail and Butte

Another beautiful day in Alaska.  The weather has been incredible so far, clear skies, temperatures in the low 30's to highs in the 50's during the day.  Only problem with that is the snow is quickly melting.  Although snow/rain is called for all next week so we'll see what happens.

Our first stop today was the Iditarod Trail Headquarters in Wasilla.
I asked lots of questions and received lots of answers.  We watched a short movie about the mushers and their teams the conditions, and places the trails go through.  We looked around the gift shop (of course there is a gift shop) and bought a post card.  Really interesting, especially since I saw the start of the Iditarod 16 years ago when we were in Anchorage.  The main thing I noticed all those years ago was the size of the dogs were much smaller than I imagined.  Those dogs can run (a team of 12-16) 125 miles, sleep 3-4 hours and run another 125 miles.  For 10 days in a row.
I just need a little snow...oh, and some dogs, I don't think Sugar could do it by herself.

The youth leader at the Church told us we should go to the Butte.  Just outside Palmer, a half hour drive away, it was a good hike and beautiful views.  Only thing he didn't say was how steep it was.  Hiking I can do, steep, not so well. 

But I started up anyway, it just took me a while longer than it took the kids.  John stayed with me, I don't know if he was breathing as hard as me or was just going slow to make sure I was okay.  We would stop along the way to get a glimpse of the view, and to rest our legs.

And then look at how far we still had to go...

So then we'd start to climb again.  And rest again to look at the view again.

The reindeer farm below

The Glacier we'll drive to tomorrow.

Then see how far we still had to go...

Ryan waited for us, but Ian was gone from site, and you can see Kamryn the mountain goat...

 So we continued until we finally made it to the top!  And I have photos to prove it.

886 feet high, and we started at sea level,  This might make our Christmas card photo this year.

The Knik River

We spent some time looking around and enjoying the views (letting our legs rest), and even doing a puzzle cache, and finding a benchmark.  Then to face to trip down, it was easier than I thought it would be even with the loose rocks and dust (that was like the kind you see in the moon landing film, you step and it puffs up around your feet and covers everything with dust)

Though not everyone would make it back down the mountain

My favorite, pinecones

Almost down, of course Kamryn and Ian were way ahead of us
At the bottom we saw a family unloading a trailer with 2 goats, whom they put backpacks on.  They explained they were in training as pack goats, they are pets and will follow them along the trails like dogs, and when they are fully grown they will be able to carry a 3rd of their full weight (200lbs for a male).  They go camping and have the goats pack in their supplies.  Doesn't happen in FL much.

We took a quick drive by the reindeer farm on the way out and got to see them through the fence, even some males doing battle, and some babies.

And one last view of the Butte on our way out.

Tomorrow we'll get up early, drive to Denali, then onto Fairbanks where we'll spend the night and then repeat the trip going back to Big Lake.

Oh, one last thing, we found Sarah Palin's house.

This was as close as we could get


  1. The views are absolutely breathtaking!!!! But I have to admit, the last picture really excited me! Can't believe you actually got that close to Sarah's house!!!! Sorry, I just have so much respect for her and her stance on life!
    Have to admit, I'm jealous, and would love to be along for the ride with all that beauty to enjoy. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. What a blessing for you to share your trip with us.Thank you for the beautiful pictures and commentary.


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