August 6th, 2001
After Peter's first night in Alaska, which we spent at the foot of Flattop Mountain in Anchorage, we head downtown to get more food supplies. Beside driving there isn't much to do today and so Peter has some time for acclimatization, well, not too much though ;-)) For the following days we have planned several mountain bike trips of which to first one leads us southwards again. We stop in Portage for a nice break at Portage lake where we sit in the sun and watch the melting icebergs.
In the afternoon we arrive at the Granite Creek campground where we pitch our tents. All around us there are high mountain ridges, a great panorama.
In bright sun we clean up the van and pick that stuff that we need for the bike trip tomorrow. The bikes are being maintained and later that day we go for a swim in the icy little creek that flows just behind our tents and cools our beer ;-)) We all relax a bit, write letters or explore the surroundings. In the evening we have a delicious supper and some awesome beers.
August 7th, 2001
After a short breakfast we get started. A few hundred eters down the highway (on a special bike lane !!) we hit the starting point for the Johnston Pass Trail.
For the better part the trail runs as a single trail, only from time to time it broadens a bit. In the following hours it leads us through a marvellous landscape, past little lakes, over (and through) small creeks.
In many places the trail is allmost overgrown and we have to find our way through dense green. Sometimes, when we rush downhill and one can't see anything of the ground anymore because of all the plants, we only hope to miss all those potholes and rocks. But who brakes, loses ;-)) About halfway we take our lunch break at a small lake where we have to fight those little black flies.
After an hour we get startet again and some time later we cross a small stream in the woods. Simon signals us to stop and we have a look on what's in the water. Big red Sockeye salmon spawns here. The fish are already exhausted by their migration upstream and we can pick them out of the water without any hurry.
Unfortunately - as a passing hiker tells us - at that point they have lost their great taste already and so we decide not to take one for supper ;-)) We bike on and after 6.5 hours and 41 km we get back to the highway. I catch a ride back to the campground and an hour later I pick up the others. This afternnon we are glad that our camp is already set...
August 8th, 2001
Today another bike trip is planned, this time we want to bike 50 km around Cooper Mountain on the Russian Lakes trail.
The weather today is nice, with some really sunny parts. Our trip starts in the morning close to Hentons Lodge. Here again the hiking trail narrows down to a superp single trail.
For the first part it runs along a mountain slope from where we have a fantastic view over the valley and the other mountain ridges.
Beside some overgrown parts we have to conquer some steeper slopes as well. Furthermore the trail changes into a riverbed what brings some fun additionally.
Around noon we have our lunch break at a small hut.
In the afternoon and after 40 km we get onto a gravel road where Bine catches a ride. While she gets the van we ride on. About an hour later Bine pick us up and we head back. On our way back to Anchorage we go for a swim in Kenai lake to wash off all that dirt of the day. Later on we have supper at the Prince William sound and in the evening we head to Flattop Mountain again.
August 9th, 2001
After we checked e-mails, made some phone calls and got some more food we drive to Eklutna lake, where we want to go for another bike trip, this time for two days.
After everything is packed we start on the very easy trail (gravel road for the better part) along the lake.
After about 20 km we get to the place where we planned to set camp. We avoid the mosquito-contaminated woods and pitch our tents in the dry glacial river bed.
The view around is just great, surround by high mountain ridges the sun does not reach the ground anymore, but at least we have glance on the Eklutna glacier. After the camp is set we ride on for a while to get closer to the glacier.
Unfortunately the trail ends after only few kilomters. From here on we can only hike and then we even have to stop completely after another hundred meters. From here on one would have to have sturdy hiking boots and some more equipment to cross the glacial flowing off. We aren't keen on getting any closer, firstly we ar all hungry, secondly we will see many other glaciers for sure. In the camp we have some meat with vegetables. After supper we sit around the fire and talk for a while.
August 10th, 2001
The next morning brings lots more sunshine and in no time we are back at the van. Again we go for a swim in the lake before we head northwards. In Walisa we stop for e-mails, phone calls and bike spare parts and the drive on to Denali state park. In drizzling rain we pitch our tents, our mood is in danger of hitting the ground. Our plan to hike the Kesugi ridge and have a look on 6193 m high Mt. McKinley in the next three days makes no sense in fog and clouds anymore.
Only because of the selfmade, selfbaked pizza with cheezy crust preserves us from lamenting about nothing ;-))