Part 4: McLaren Lodge


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The Trip

We had a great night, but I was very, very sore the next morning.  The objective of the day was to head about 45 miles to McLaren Lodge and then return via the glacier route.

The photos below are what we saw.

There was much more bruising that I originally expected, but was happy to see that the impact  point was below my knee rather than on it.  The 2 scars are left over from a 1979 broken femur.  The lower scar is from the traction pin.  I am sure the bruise will get worse as time passes.

There was a small abrasion where the skeg of the ski impacted my tibia as we rolled down the hill.  Interestingly, there was swelling both above and below the insult location.  It took several days for the bruising to peak and it stretched from above my knee to the plantar surface of my foot.

After I got through feeling sorry for myself, we suited up and headed out to McLaren Lodge.  As we got higher on the ridge en-route to McLaren Lodge we got a nice view of the mountains to the north of Dan's cabin.

We did a stop for photos at an overlook point.

The glacier at the center of the photo above will be our objective for tomorrow.

To the northwest were some large peaks in the Alaska Range.

My GoPro allowed me to take snapshots while in motion.  Above, we are heading across Summit Lake.  I did not run the remote as it drained the battery far too fast.  So, that is my hand in the left of the photo above.

The higher ridges provided a dramatic view of our route.

Roberto shot this photo of me.  The GoPro makes me look like an space alien.

Other ranges were visible in the distance across the flats.

Our path followed the Denali Highway.

It was about 35 miles to McLaren Lodge.  When we arrived we crossed the McLaren river via a concrete bridge.  We had lunch at the lodge and filled up our gas tanks.

The thermometer at McLaren Lodge showed the outside temperature to be 19 degees at 1:42pm.

The McLaren Lodge has a Matt-Tacks upgrade to their pickup.

Roberto's long lens got us "close" to these moose.

After lunch, we headed north along the McLaren river, then east.  The first part of this path was actually groomed by the SnoCats at McLaren.

We needed to stop periodically for photos and bio-breaks.  Dressing in cold weather clothes makes simple tasks difficult.  These are the times when it is really nice to be a guy.

We turned east off the groomed path into the glaciers.

We climbed higher on the glacier and had to stay to the center of the valley due to the possibility of avalanches.

The surrounding peaks were rugged.

Our path will take us through the divide in the center of the photo.

Our path will be through the notch in the center of the photo.

We had several ridges left before our descent.

We finally crested out and started down into the next drainage.

We had a substantial distances to cover.

Finally we crossed the flats to get back to the Denali Highway.

There was a campground at Tangle River and the bridge crossed running water which was flowing fast enough to not freeze.

The Tangle River is small by Alaskan standard, but would be a major river by California standards.

We encountered a trio of cross country skiers on the Denali Highway.

The last crest before the downgrade to Summit Lake provided a nice end-of-day scene.

This was an easy day, but it was quite a long distance.  Our odometers showed that we traveled a total of 94 miles in a journey that took all day.  We ended our day back at the cabin with liquor and an awesome dinner of BBQ salmon filets.

Tomorrow, we head to the Gulkana Glacier to look it over.

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