Teklanika Rest Stop Tundra Hike

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With the idea of hiking some relatively flat terrain because Tamiko’s foot and back where bothering her, we planed to walk up-stream on the Teklanika River bed. However, we couldn’t cross the first feeder stream without getting wet so we opted for another nearby hike instead.

I believe this is Eskimo Potato. The roots can be eaten.

This is Eskimo Potato. The roots are eatable.

The flowers are really starting to come out now. These are called Blue Bells for obvious reason.

The flowers are really starting to come out now. These are called Blue Bells for obvious reason.

Looking south up river towards the Alaska Range and the glacier's that feed it.

Looking south up river towards the Alaska Range and the glacier’s that feed it.

Looking north. You can see a clear feeder stream flowing into the main channel.  The more snow that melts, the higher and faster the river gets, the more silt is picked up. They call these "braided" rivers.

Looking north. You can see a clear feeder stream flowing into the main channel. The more snow that melts, the higher and faster the river gets and more silt is picked up. The rivers here are called “braided” rivers.

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It the beginning at least, there were mostly paths affording a little easier travel but offer no straight line to our destination.

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The tundra is so deep and spongy in some areas you sink down a foot or more with every step. It’s like walking on a foam mattress. http://youtu.be/-T5ANhWNZxk

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Off in the distance this little hole in the clouds was the only blue sky we saw all day. We were hopeful but it never came our way.

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Don’t know what it is, there are so many beautiful flowers around. Lots of them are come out now. I’m looking forward to the bright red Fire weed that grows every where. It’s growing now but hasn’t bloomed out just yet.

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We’re starting to climb the hill. The road and river are about a mile or so behind us, then the mountains you see in the distance on the other side of that.

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Our next destination is the highest point in the right of this picture. As we go up the hill, thankfully the tundra gets thinner and smaller. By this time the tundra has lost its charm, It’s not so much fun walking through it any more. Glad to see it go away.

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I made it to the two rocky outcrops on the top. That little lime green dot is Tomiko on her way up.

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You can see Tamiko in front of the tree on her way up. This is looking north. On the way back after continuing farther in, then turning north, we came back through the spruce forest you see to the right on the most direct path back to the road.

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The twin rocky outcrops was our first destination but the higher peak is behind us at the beginning of the ridge we plan to hike north, following it to where it turns left and drops down back to the river at the Teklanika Camp Ground, which is in the right hand part of this picture.

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A pretty cool rock, wonder how long ago it split in two. The ridge to the right is the one we plan to travel on north to the camp ground.

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We are elated to have made it to this peak, a milestone. I made a short panoramic video here. However, I’m a little worried because there is a forty mile per hour wind here, I can imagine it is a lot higher up on the ridge we want to go to, which is up wind from where we are. It is a higher peak and blocking some of the wind we are feeling now. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0dVA_dInm8&feature=youtu.be

 

 

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Almost looks like a peace sign.

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More pretty flowers and my ever enthusiastic hiking buddy. Undaunted we stop here for lunch and plan on hiking across some more tundra over to a slop which will take us up to the ridge.

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Crossing over some wet tundra, small streams, and pockets of water which leads up a long sloop we will have to go up through some willow and more tundra. We find out that if walking through tundra is tough, doing it up hill is a lot worse. At this point I’m thinking, hiking through deep sand would be easier!
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Anyone that knows me, knows that once I set a goal I don’t give up easily, only after everything has been tried and then only in the face of impossible odds. OK, at this point I’m seriously considering it. It’s about 3:00, we still have a long way to go to the top of the ridge which probably has a sixty mile per hour wind or better, the distance we have to go to the camp ground is three or four times what we have already traveled and we still have a good bit of uphill tundra to traverse. I am still only considering it at this point mind you!

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Hay look! More pretty flowers. Waiting for my hiking buddy to catch up. Think I’ll meditate for a while.

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More pretty flowers. Are there yet?

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At this point reality has finally set in, there are no more pretty flowers and the enchanted magic of tundra has gone. Deciding it’s time to call it a day and head for home I turn back and make it to a little hill. Tamiko still following behind. If you look close you can see her in this picture, a little green speck near the middle, upper left.

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Instead of going laterally back the way we came, it would be shorter to head straight back to the road but that involves going down hill through a section of spruce forest, a “drainage” area. Yet another new experience. The tundra isn’t quite as bad here, drier with little paths that make it a little easier but then there are sections of willows, tall thick brush to push aside. It’s a little more unnerving in that we can’t see aheadĀ  and can’t tell how far it is until we will get out of this stuff or know where the closest exit point is.

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It’s easy to appreciate the beauty of purely natural forest, the diversity of nature until you have to walk through it. Then it renders a whole new perspective! I still love it though. Hope we get out of here alive.

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Halleluiah! We made it out of the spruce forest. Now all we have to do is cross a mile or two of wet tundra and a section of willows to get back to the road in the upper left of this picture and we’re home free. I rounded the lake in order to get to the grass on the far side thinking it would be easier to walk through but found that it was a water-logged area, so it’s tundra all the way. Up the next little hill, I take another meditation and wait for my fearless hiking partner to arrive. Just joking thought, I do appreciate how much tougher it is for her. Being shorter it’s a lot harder hiking through this stuff. our original plan was to do the flat even river bed because her foot and back were hurting. This couldn’t have been worse. I twisted my knee too but luckily no real damage, just a little tight and it makes a clicking sound when I straighten it.

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This is either a Ptarmigan or a Grouse. They look a lot alike.

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The little guy was so nice to jump up on a log, turn and bob his head for me for a couple of minutes. Tamiko got to see him too.

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What a good feeling it was to finally make it back to the road. If nothing else we both agreed on one thing, we are never going to do that again. The hiking stats from my phone app. are, 4.37 miles in 6:46 at an average speed of .65 mph. We hiked about two more miles earlier from down by the river to the road where we started this Tundra Trek-a-thon.

One thing for sure, we know what it’s like to walk through deep tundra, it is not easy and nothing we plan on doing again if ever for a long time!

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Chena Hot Springs Plung and Frairbanks Shopping with Tamiko

After we met some friends who came up on the bus from Denali and did some mad shopping for all the essentials, food, beer, wine toiletries we found a nice little Thai restaurant. Right across the street is the neat little restaurant full of interesting pictures and Alaskan history. It’s owned by the on of the last governor of Alaskan Territory.

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