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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Alaska’s Rainforest‏

August 27th, 2009 · 2 Comments

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On my first day in Alaska to visit my friend John it rained all day. So we hiked in the rainforest. Nothing could have been more fitting.

We drove 34 miles southeast from John’s condo in Anchorage to Girdwood, where we hiked the Winner Creek Trail, a five-mile roundtrip in the Chugach National Forest. This is the northern tip of the North American coastal rainforest. It’s lush and lovely.

Red Flowers in the Rainforest

Devil's Club Flowers in the Rainforest

In particular I saw more mushrooms of all sorts than I had seen in my whole life.

Rainforest Mushrooms

Rainforest Mushrooms

 

Two Mushrooms

Two Mushrooms

 

The Beautiful but Deadly Amanita

The Beautiful but Deadly Amanita

John came to Alaska two months ago to serve as senior pastor of the United Methodist Church in Anchorage. I came to Alaska at 10 p.m. last night after a five-hour flight from Denver. The last two or three hours of the flight showed me the longest sunset of my life as we flew into the sun.

The stream we hiked along, Winner Creek, probably gets it name from the Iditarod Trail. I hope that the famous dog sled race doesn’t have to cross this gorge:

Winner Creek Gorge

Winner Creek Gorge

We hiked to the “hand tram” on the trail, where we had to pull a rope to get across Glacier River. We went even though at the beginning of the trail we had seen a sign that the hand tram was out of order because the “haul rope needs to be replaced.” But it looked safe enough to me, and John pulled me.

Then I pulled John:

Then I pulled John:

John on the Hand Tram

John on the Hand Tram

Close Up of John on the Hand Tram

Close Up of John on the Hand Tram

We completed the day by hiking a couple of miles to Byron Glacier just before we got to where the ships come in at Whittier, were we had a delicious fresh fish dinner.

Cruise Ship Docked at Whittier

Cruise Ship Docked at Whittier

I couldn’t have had a better or more appropriate introduction to Alaska.

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Posted in: Alaska, Hiking

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Gretchen // Aug 27, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    How were the bugs?

  • 2 David Mendosa // Aug 28, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Dear Gretchen,

    The bugs are almost non-existent here in Alaska. Surprisingly. Not a single mosquito. This is LATE in Alaska’s summer.

    Best regards,

    David

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