As spring marches into Alaska the longer days and warmer weather give opportunity for some spectacular riding. Visiting a glacier is always a cool experience and seeing reports online of trips people were making fuelled my interest to get out for myself.
Amanda has had a busy work schedule and it seems if she isn't working has been sick with whatever plague Fiona brought home from school. I haven't been hit nearly as badly so I seized my opportunity on Sunday while Amanda and Fiona rested.
The plan was to head out early and visit Skookum Glacier, this tends to be a lot quieter than Spencer which is in the next valley over. The main reason for this as far as I can tell is it's not as spectacular.
It was a last minute decision to take this trip and many of my friends had been out on the Saturday to see the glaciers but I did manage to convince Ryan and Oscar to join me.
We arrived at the Placer river parking pullout around 08:15 and by 08:25 we were rolling out to head for the Glacier.
It was a pretty cold start at around 8F and got colder as we pedalled out along the river.
|Heading out towards the river.|
After around 30min of riding we turned left on a snow machine trail to head out towards Skookum Glacier. We followed the trail all the way to the glacier and arrived around 1hr 20min after setting out.
|The first part of Skookum we arrived at.|
At the face of the glacier we rode around until we found some interesting features. We were not disappointed.
|I see Ryan|
|Cool ice feature|
|my bike leaning|
Ryan got some great photos of Oscar and I, see all his photos here
|riding into the massive cave|
|Look at us we are so insignificant|
After exploring here for a little while we headed up for a little riding on top of the glacier. The sun was just coming over the mountains and it had warmed up significantly. It is still a little early for crust riding but there was a little bit to be had. Oscar and I rode around whilst Ryan got some snaps.
|heading up on snow machine trails|
|the ever amazing crust riding|
|Having a wheelie good time.|
My photos of the same area
|Ryan heading up|
|Up we go|
|Oscars on crust you can see where we are |
punching through in the background.
The crust was a little punchy so we called it a day and headed back towards the vehicles.
|Back down the valley|
On the way we passed some of Oscars neighbors and as we hit the Placier river we stopped to talk with some people to give directions. It was still early and Oscar and I hadn't been out to Spencer. Ryan suggested that Oscar and I head out and check it out. Oscar and I decided that it was a great idea. Although neither of us had been there before we had directions from Ryan and a great highway of bike tracks to follow.
|Spencer sign, at least we know we are going the right way.|
|There she is...|
|crossing the lake|
|still crossing the lake|
The thing with riding in Alaska is, everything is big and further away than you think. Riding across the lake took around 10min.
Spencer Glacier really took my breath away. We didn't explore as much as some others have done. Here are some shots of what we saw.
|I believe this is called the Cathedral|
|It's pretty big|
|more blue ice|
|the face of the glacier|
|carefully leaning bikes|
|blue crack and blue sky|
|more of that blue ice|
|more blue ice|
|The two of us|
After looking around we headed back a slightly different way which took us under two bridges and thus no crossing of the railway tracks.
|Bye Spencer Glacier you were fun|
|Catching up with friends on the way out|
|The last section from the river to the road.|
It took Oscar and I around 1 hour to ride back from the glacier. Last weekend the trails were fast, who knows how they will be this week.
All in all doubling up on the glacier trip was a blast. If you can only go to one I would recommend Spencer however if you have the chance Skookum is well worth a visit.