While Jim and I were walking through the campground this morning after
we got set up in our site, we met a fella who'd been out hiking along the riverbed.
He told us about the shallow but fast water running through the main
river channel, a ridge with high vantage points, the big pile of bear
scat he saw . . . and the grizzly bear he spotted across the
river, less than a quarter mile from our campground!
This is the only pile of bear
scat I found today, and it was a big one full
of red and orange berries! For
perspective, my shoes are a men's size 10.
That both intrigued and concerned me.
Intrigue won out, however, and
I kept my plan of hiking along the riverbed after lunch. Believe me, I
kept my eyes open for bears the entire way! They could be nearby in the
trees along either side of the river.
I didn't cross it today but
might on another hike so I can get to one of the ridges to the west:
Jim can't hike much so he rode his bike out about eight miles on the
park road past the Igloo tent campground and back for a round trip of
16+ miles from our campsite.
We both enjoyed our hike/bike ride. I'll begin here with some
information about Jim's ride and photos he took.
JIM'S BIKE RIDE FROM MP 29 TO 37 ON THE PARK ROAD
Jim's really been looking forward to riding the dirt sections of the
park road past Savage River because there is much less traffic from
there (MP 15) to the end of the road at Kantishna (MP 92).
As you'd expect, the farther we go into the wilderness, the fewer buses
and people we'll encounter on the road and trails.
The photos in this
section are ones he took on his bike ride. He doesn't like to bother with
a camera, especially when he's on his bike, so he took many fewer
pictures than I
did while hiking.
The road parallels closely to the
river for about two miles west of our campground.
In the center of the photo, down
on the riverbed, two people are walking. I was there a little later.
Bridge over the broad riverbed a
couple miles past our campground
Jim said this section of the road was in excellent condition --
somewhat damp so no dust, smooth, wide enough for park shuttle and tour
buses to pass easily -- and there weren’t any hills too steep to
climb where he rode.
This is the park road map showing the section he covered this
He really enjoyed the scenery and quietness.
So did I. All I could hear was the river water flowing past me, even though I was
paralleling the roadway to the west only a few hundred feet (you can't
see the river very well on the map above).
Here are three more
photos Jim took along the road:
While we were outside
today neither of us heard any planes or helicopters, although I think our Denali
flight-seeing plane flew over this area a couple days ago.
Aircraft were frequent and
rather noisy over Riley Creek Campground near the park entrance. I didn't notice them
much on any of my hikes in that area and, like railroads and other
irritations that are sometimes near campgrounds, we got used to the air
traffic noise fairly quickly at Riley Creek.
The difference out here is amazing, though. Quiet, quiet, quiet.
MY HIKE ALONG THE RIVER CORRIDOR
Our campground is
aptly named because it's so close to the Teklanika River. Some of the
sites are very close to the riverbed:
Fortunately, the river is pretty low this time of year or that camper
might get wet.
I'm glad our site is a little farther from the rocks because I like the woods and a
little stream to walk Cody near the camper:
This is our "back yard."
This afternoon I hiked south (upstream) over the sand and rocks for 2˝ miles from our
campsite to the bridge where the park road crosses the broad river bed.
Then I walked a little
farther south along the river, turned around, and decided to hike back to our campground
on the road so I could see the deck at the Teklanika rest area where I saw people
standing earlier when I was a hundred feet or more below them on the riverbed:
I zoomed in to get this picture of my audience. I
even known they were there if someone hadn't yelled
hello to me.
My total mileage was about five miles. I'll show photos of all that in a minute.
As I started up the road from the bridge Jim yelled at me. As described
above, he’d ridden eight miles west on the park road and was returning
to the campground when he saw me.
talked for a couple minutes, took pictures of each other, and continued
back to our campground separately. We still had about two miles to go
from the bridge to our site.
It was interesting to look down where I'd been walking but I much
preferred hiking next to the river more than on the road.
WALKING IN THE RIVERBED
I liked hiking slowly in the riverbed, although the rocks were a
little hard on my knees and ankles.
It helped that I had both trekking poles. I wore my lightweight Asics
trail running shoes because they drain well and I knew I’d probably get
them wet (I did, but wouldn’t have had to). I would have been better off
in my sturdier low-cut Merrill hiking shoes.
I also went slowly to enjoy the scenery (haven't walked on a braided
riverbed before), to look for bears and other critters (didn’t see
any), and to inspect the flowers and rocks.
I think this is Alaska cotton AKA cotton grass
I had fun trying to spot unusual rocks. There is quite a variety in the
riverbed, picked up and carried down here by snowmelt and rainwater from high in
the Alaska Range. Next spring many of these rocks will probably end up
farther downstream somewhere.
I like the interesting lines running through these rocks, which are each about eight or
nine inches long:
I noted that some of the aspens are already turning gold and there are more and
more red leaves on plants that used to be green:
Summer sure is short up here!
Continued on the
next page (too many pictures for one page).
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the ultra Lab
© 2012 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil