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First moose in the yard. It probably won’t be the last. These were taken right out the window next to Dan’s office.
Last Sunday, Amy had her first full day off since she started working her two jobs, so we had a chance to get outside and enjoy the great Alaska outdoors for the first time since moving here. We spent the day hiking in the Chugach Mountains with our new housemate Eric.
Parking at the Glen Alps Trailhead, the three of us hiked up and over the ridge below Little O’Malley Peak, across a large flat expanse called The Football Field, and over to a pass that leads down towards the Willowah Lakes. Although it’s just outside of Anchorage, and quite low in elevation, compared to Colorado, the terrain here is pure alpine and it is as ruggedly beautiful and appealing as any mountain area. The accessibility to this kind of terrain is quite literally one of the main reasons that we moved up here.
As is easily discernible by the photos, the snow has started to fall here at the higher elevations. Although we’ve had none in down in town yet, the tops of the peaks have received a healthy dusting and we were easily tromping through five or six inches during our hike. Although by the date, Fall has just started here, in reality, it has been in full swing for weeks, which means that winter is not far off. It’s actually been in the 30’s some mornings, but it seems as if the wet weather is finally behind us. As of late, the sun has been out every day and we’ve seen some really beautiful sunsets over Cook Inlet.
Of course, being Autumn, means that the moose are getting more ornery and more grumpy, especially the males. We saw three moose right at the beginning of the hike, and then as we were hiking back down a long valley on the way back, we came across three more, including one particularly large male with a rather big rack who startled us as we came around a corner.
We immediately turned around and backtracked, but he kept following us up the trail, so we did the smart thing. We ran away.
The moose was very uncooperative, and we were forced to take a rather wet moose detour through a wet, boggy patch of tundra, and at one point, Amy went up to her thigh in mud. Dan was about to ready his camera for what surely have been a great show, but then Amy called out, “Hey guys, I’m stuck!” so Dan did the chivalrous thing and helped her out of the mud, while a young male with tiny antlers eyed us with his ears back. In return, Amy later promised to get caught again in mud another time so that Dan can get the shot.
Eventually, we made it safely back to the trail, and when we climbed back up the valley to the trailhead, we were greeted with an amazing view of Alaska’s Big Three: Denali, Foraker and Hunter, the three tallest mountains in the Alaska Range. It’s not often when you get such a clear view of them all the way from Anchorage, but when you do, you can see just how impressively massive Denali is.