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"One thing to remember about an adventure is that if it turns out the  
way you expect it to, it has not been an adventure at all."
~ Kim Fay, author of the novel The Map of Lost Memories

We woke up to another beautiful sunny morning. The prediction was for a cloudy day, however, so we figured we'd better get going early for some outside activities.

My activity of choice was another hike up in the Chugach Mountains east of Anchorage. In the next entry I'll explain why I chose to do that instead of attend the Arctic Thunder Air Show at JBER. That was Jim's preference of how to spend the day.

Lush lupines on the south face of Mt. Gordon Lyon, above the South Fork Eagle River Valley

As you'll see, however, I did get to enjoy some of the air show -- from high up in Arctic Valley and not down on the base. But I'm getting ahead of myself . . .


Although my legs were still a little tired I didnít want to waste a mostly-sunny day inside. I took Cody up to the Arctic Valley-Rendezvous trailhead at the Alpenglow Ski Area again (my fourth time there) for a relatively challenging hike.

I did a little over five miles and basically made up the route as I went along. Even though I began at the same trailhead as I have three times previously, the first half of my hike was on new trail to me.

#1 = south shoulder of Mt. Gordon Lyon.  #2 = Rendezvous Peak.
#3 = saddle between Rendezvous Peak and Little Teton Mtn. (#4).

Did I say "trail?" Some of it was cross-country and that was fun.

I began at about 2,600 feet elevation at the trailhead and walked up the wide dirt road above the ski area buildings. After about ľ mile I crossed Toklat Creek on a wooden bridge and walked up a narrow trail on the other side of it:

I could still see the main trail on the northwest side of Rendezvous Peak most of the way up to the saddle between Rendezvous and Mt. Gordon Lyon, which became my goal halfway up the slope.

My original plan was to follow the creek to its source before the saddle, then go right (south) toward Rendezvous Ridge again.

Curiosity got the best of me, howver.

Top arrow is Mt. Gordon Lyon. Left arrow is the trail I started on. Right arrow is main trail I came down.

There was a long ridge to my left (north) that I've never seen over. You can see it in the photos above.

I knew what was on the other side -- the town of Eagle River, the north and south Eagle River valleys, Knik Arm, and beyond -- but I hadn't seen all that from the perspective of being high on a mountain ridge, just from the Glenn Highway. Why not just go up there and get a different view?

The first part of the route was on a real trail, although much more narrow than the main trail on the other side of the creek. I loved all the pretty flowers. Each time I come up here, there are more flowers in bloom:

Looking back where I hiked up from trailhead

Wild blue geraniums, cream-colored Indian paintbrush, white Alaska spirea, and purple asters

Looking north toward ridgeline

I decided to go cross-country up a drainage area to the ridge on the north:

There were some faint animal trails but I mostly just picked my way through the grass and flowers on one side, then the other, of the little stream coming down the drainage.

I just generally aimed for the rock formations at the top of the ridge:


From below it appeared that I could hike east on the ridge to Mount Gordon Lyon (elev. 4,134 feet) and then down (south) to the saddle between Gordon Lyon and Rendezvous (elevation 3,468 feet).

I was able to do that but I took a circuitous route to see various views along the ridge and the summit of Gordon Lyon. I also found my own route down to the saddle because the established trail is too steep for me and has loose rocks.

Can't get lost up here:  there's familiar Rendezvous Peak to the south.

Looking back down the drainage I climbed

The views from that ridge allowed me to see Knik Arm, the town of Eagle River, the serpentine north branch of Eagle River, the Flats, and northern Chugach Mountains in a different perspective than Iíve seen previously.

I really enjoyed the colorful rock formations and the spectacular panoramic views as I walked east toward the summit of Gordon Lyon:



Above and below:  views of Knik Arm and The Flats

When I got high enough I could see back west to the old Nike-Hercules missile site on what is now called Site Summit. I've seen it from the saddle between Rendezvous and Little Teton but this was closer and a different perspective:


Here's another view back to the west from a fire ring on the ridge:

The decommissioned missile installation is on the right, the parking area at the trailhead is in the center, and the Anchorage Bowl and Cook Inlet are in the distance.

The next six photos are approaching my goal peak, Mt. Gordon Lyon. Elevation at the rocky summit is about 4,134 feet (different maps and websites have different elevations):

The tundra looks smoother than it really is but it's easy to walk up here with no trails.

I could see down to the town of Eagle River as I approached the summit.

View NW toward Knik Arm and Cook Inlet

Above and below:  Cody and I had the craggy summit of Mt. Gordon Lyon to ourselves


What a sweet boy:  Cody will happily follow me anywhere.

Continued on the next page . . . too many scenic photos for one page!

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the ultra Lab

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© 2012 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil