Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Denali K2 Aviation Tour Pics

While I am not a big fan of tours, the flight to Denali on K2 Aviation was the highlight of our Alaska vacation.    The weather cooperated and we had greats views of Mt. McKinley.  The scenery was stunning as you'll see below in the pictures of mountains, ridges and glaciers:

Alaska Hiking, Kayaking and Traveling Pictures

We spent 2 fabulous weeks Alaska in May of 2013.  A late snow this year, while concerning at first, turned out to be a great part of our trip.  Due to the late winter we were able to watch the Alaska landscape transform from winter to early summer almost overnight.  The difference in the scenery over the course of a week was phenomenal.  It was an amazing trip with such a great diversity of activities and camera worthy destinations.  Our stops included Anchorage, Seward, Talkeetna, Denali and many little towns and spots in between.  No reservations or formal plans, we just roamed the state spending time where we enjoyed most.

Here are a few pictures from our trip.  Check out a couple other posts on the blog for more as I get them posted.

Eagle River Nature Center in Alaska
Eagle River Nature Center.  Hiking near the entrance early in the day.

Hiking near Exit Glacier
Looking back towards the mountains at Exit Glacier in Seward, Alaska

Aialik Bay Picture
About to start kayaking in Aialik Bay
Portage Glacier picture in May
Portage Glacier near Anchorage

Glacier cutting through the mountains of Denali
Glacier cutting through the Denali mountains.  Our flight through the Denali on K2 Aviation was definitely a highlight.

Rock formations on Aialik Bay
Rock formations on Aialik Bay
Hiking in Kenai Wildlife Refuge
Hiking above the Kenai River in the Kenai Wildlife Refuge
Glacier landing in Denali national Park
Picture from our glacier landing in Denali National Park, Alaska
Denali National Park bull moose
Close up shot Bull Moose in Denali National Park
Mt. McKinley off in the distance
Fishing boat headed back into port in Seward, Alaska
Kayaking at Aialik Bay Glacier, Seward, Alaska

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Grand Gulch - Hiking and Pictures

While it's a bit of a haul from Tucson, we drove up towards Monument Valley and the Valley of the Gods area in January 2013 for a quick weekend.  We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Kayenta which ended up being a really nice hotel.  Even the restaurant in the hotel was pretty darn good.  I would definitely recommend it as a good place to stay if you are staying the area.

We left the hotel bright and early welcomed by brisk 15 degree temps.  Quick breakfast in Kayenta we were on our way.  We cruised through Monument Valley, stopping for a few quick shots on the way towards the Grand Gulch area.  It was pretty, but we wanted to hike and roam not be restricted since they don't allow unguided hiking in Monument Valley.

On 163 through Mexican Hat and then up route 261 for 25 or so miles we went.  Quite a twisty haul up the face of the cliff.  We parked at the Kane Gulch ranger station with not a person in sight for miles.  The snow was pretty thick and it made the hiking go a bit slower than usual.  But the weather was perfect and scenery superb.  As we picked up some distance the canyon continued to grow steeper and the scenery continually improving.  The snow was hit or miss and the hiking eased a bit as we went further in.  The snow and the ice really made the Grand Gulch area even more picturesque.

By the way, dogs are not allowed on this trail!

The area was amazing but the snow taxed us quite a bit.  We had hoped to make it to some of the ruins but about 3 hours in with only 4 miles or so behinds us we turned around.  It was a good call as we were all pretty tired when we made it back to the Kane Gulch ranger station.

A great area, we will definitely be back in the spring and do an overnight trip.  Enjoy the pictures:

Grand Gulch dog hiking
Max posing in Grand Gulch canyon

Katie hiking in Grand Gulch
Katie hiking in the Grand Gulch canyon

Overhang in Grand Gulch near Kane Gulch Range Station

Max looking into the canyon

Some cool ice formations in Grand Gulch Canyon

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tucson Mt. Lemmon Snow and Hiking Report - Jan 5 2013

Headed up from Tucson to the Catalina Highway and Mt. Lemmon today to try to find some snow.  It wasn't too hard!  I can't remember seeing snow so low in elevation on Mt. Lemmon before this long after a storm came through.  We went past Windy Point up to the Upper Green Mountain trail head with Max.  The crowds were pretty thick with lots of families up there having a good time in the snow.  Lots of people sledding all over the place as there was enough snow at any pullout above 7000ft or so.  We hiked around for a few and some areas were over a foot thick in new powder.  We should have headed up a bit further and did some skiing as the lift is definitely open.  Here are some pics for you:

Snow hiking up on Mt. Lemmon with the dog
Katie and Max hiking in the snow on Mt. lemmon

dog hiking in the snow on Mt. lemmon
Max our chocolate lab hiking in the snow in Tucson

Hiking in the snow in Tucson
Hiking Green Mountain Trail in the snow