Part 2: Gakona Glacier Part 1


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The Trip

We stayed up later than we should have and the Fireball whiskey was flowing.  But, we got up with the sun and prepared to go out on the snowmobiles.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

The morning sun highlighted the mountains beyond Summit Lake which were visible from the upper deck at the cabin.

We had to get a briefing on the use of the avalanche locating beacons.  We each had to wear one.

I was trying my GoPro camera for the first time.  Except for the pronounced fisheye effect and the short battery life, it worked ok.  I mounted it on my helmet and the visor is visible in the bottom center of the photo above.

We headed out into the newbee training area where I proceeded to roll my snowmobile over me.  In the process, I happened to be underneath the machine and it put a metal skeg from one of the front skis into my left tibia just below the knee.  It did not hurt too much at the time, but the day was early.

Dan led us to a steep hill that ended in a creek bottom that parallels the road.  This turned out to be a really bad path as each of us got stuck in the deep snow and we would sink to our nipples with each step.  It took more than an hour to get across the alder patch.  Before we started into the canyon, we spotted two moose in the brush below.

From the crest of the hill, the road was easily visible.  The road heads south to Paxson and then to Valdez.

From the ridges we could see Summit Lake below.

I am a novice snowmobiler and rolled a second time.  But in this case, I was able to get clear of the machine and was not trapped underneath.

These machines are over 400 lbs and it takes some doing to flip them over.  And, if the snow is soft or has a crust, you will sink when you put your back into the task making things much, much more difficult.

The helmet mounted GoPro was a great idea while it worked.  The battery life is short, but it did allow the ability to take photos via the remote control dongle

Another frozen lake in the distance.

We stopped on a peak close to Wolverine Mountain for lunch.

The peak provided a great view of the Alaska range.  This range is the home of the Gakona Glacier.

Lunch was heated in a special container that was bolted to the muffler.  The heat from the exhaust warmed our bear sausages.  The container is visible on the seat.

After lunch, we headed off the peak into the Gakona river drainage.  Roberto tried unsuccessfully to negotiate a side hill and rolled into the creek.  Roberto's helmet is visible as is the front of the ski.  He was not hurt.

Further down the side canyon we spotted another moose.

Down on the flats, we headed up the river drainage toward the glacier.

Further up the canyon we encountered yet another moose out feeding.

Rolling the ski on top of me was a very humbling, if not painful experience.  I was not sure of the scope of the injury as it was impractical to disrobe for an inspection.  So, we continued on.  From the bottom of the Gakona drainage, we headed upstream to the foot of the glacier.

Part 2 is the glacier itself and the ice caves.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2014, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.