Picnic table along the Coastal Trail in Kincaid Park,
with a view across Turnagain Arm to the upper Kenai Peninsula
THERE'S A MOOSE!
We finally saw the first moose near the top of the long uphill section
through Kincaid Park about a
quarter mile before we reached the ski center and stadium area:
a large female grazing alone just off the path.
I stopped to take three
pictures, almost as happy to rest my legs on that long hill as to see a moose (we've seen a lot
of moose in our time). Jim was just behind me and clearly saw her, too. She pretty much
From her body language we could tell she was OK with our presence so we
started riding our bikes past her slowly. She
was still there when we rode back down that hill about 15 minutes later.
Several other people had also passed by her without incident during that
Ironically, at a
kiosk in Kincaid Park about half a mile after we encountered this moose we
read a large interpretive panel re: moose and bear safety in
Anchorage. (The quote at the beginning of this page is from that sign.)
I mentioned in an
earlier entry that it's easy to find such safety information all over town.
Locals want visitors to enjoy viewing the resident wildlife without
getting stomped or mauled.
We turned around
inside Kincaid Park, probably the largest of Anchorage's numerous municipal
parks at 1,400 acres. It is full of rugged dirt trails for cycling,
hiking, running, and disc golf in the summer. About 40 miles of trails
are groomed for cross-country skiing in the winter.
We didn't go on any
of those dirt trails but enjoyed the views from a wooden deck overlooking Cook
A paved trail to the deck
is located near the Kincaid Outdoor Center, a large grassy picnic area,
and soccer fields:
MOUNTAIN VIEWS FROM THE COASTAL TRAIL
Although it was partly cloudy in the morning we had good views of
snow-clad/glaciated mountains in the volcanic range of mountains across
Cook Inlet to the southwest and to a closer mountain known as the
Sleeping Woman which is across the water just west of Anchorage.
The volcanic range is very distant in the photos here but when I enlarge them on my
computer screen I can see them pretty well:
Mts. Gerdine, Torgert, and Spurr are over 11,000 feet tall;
Redoubt and Iliamna are 10,000+ feet.
I took that photo from the hill above Point Woronzof.
The next picture is from the deck at Kincaid Park, where there are good
the volcanoes with your eyes, binoculars, or zoom camera lens on a clear
day. You can also see across Turnagain Arm to the
northern coastline of the Kenai Peninsula, which lies south of Anchorage:
On a really clear day you can reportedly see Mt. McKinley AKA Denali and
other mountains in the Alaska Range from
Earthquake Park or Point Woronzof but we couldn’t see them today. The Alaska Range,
which is northwest of Anchorage, was mostly under clouds from our vantage
I knew Jim wanted a good solid ride so I led with a pretty steady pace
for 11 miles southbound to Kincaid Park, where we turned around. I
didn't take many photos outbound.
Jim returned to the truck at a quick pace (less than an hour). I
returned at a leisurely pace, taking about twice as much time as he did
to take pictures, watch a mama duck and her nine babies (nine!) at
talk to some people, watch planes take off near the Point (they are very
low there, and come and go within a few minutes of each other),
watch the tide go out, look at a couple classy houses near the trail,
enjoy the flowers, and read interpretive signs about all kinds of things
-- how much international cargo passes through the airport, the
history of the estuary at Chester Creek that was destroyed in the 1964
earthquake, the lifecycle of salmon, all about the
planetary system (there's a "planet walk" along the greenway with signs
at distances between Mile 0 and Kincaid Park that are proportional to
the distances between the planets), and much more.
I also got to see a mama moose and her baby right on the trail between
Woronzof Point and Earthquake Park. They weren't there when Jim went through
several minutes before me.
wasn’t expecting them along this more populated part of the trail. I rounded a curve and
there they were:
Since the mom might be protective and defensive, I didn’t stop to take
their picture but rode very slowly past them and took a picture while
riding. I take the stomping warnings seriously.
Mom was nonchalant; the baby ran back into the woods. Both look skinnier in
the photo than in person. I warned several people walking toward me
about the moose so they didn't surprise them like I inadvertently did.
On the way back I noticed this intriguing little statue near the
I'll have to go back again to hunt for an explanatory plaque. I didn't
see anything re: who sculpted it, the title, or what she's doing
-- looking at a bug, perhaps?
Jim and I began our ride at a good time this morning (9 AM). The tide
was at or near its peak as we rode outbound so we got to see water close up the
first few miles when we had the most unobstructed views of the inlet.
On the way back the tide was lower, especially by the time I got done
(22˝ miles took me almost four hours – 1:40 hours out, 2:10 back). Then it was
interesting to see the “mud flats” and lots of birds searching for goodies that
had washed up.
earlier the tidewater was up almost to the trail. That's Point Woronzof
in the distance.
Numerous signs warn about the
dangers of walking out on the mud flats when the tide is out:
You'd think that would be intuitive but some people (and dogs) have drowned when they got mired in the
quicksand-like mud and couldn’t get out or rescued in time when the tide came in.
Besides the danger of the mud, the tide goes in and out very dramatically here, averaging 30-40 feet in
six hours. Turnagain Arm, on the south side of Anchorage, has one of the
highest tides on our continent, rising as high as 42 feet. Watching the
tides is a favorite activity of many residents and visitors in the area.
We haven’t seen a bore tide yet. Those are described as foaming walls of
tidal water up to six feet in height that can be dangerous to those who get caught in them
unexpectedly. They are fairly unique to this area and are caused when strong
tides surge into the rather narrow inlets of Knik Arm and Turnagain Arm.
You can pick up a booklet with detailed tidal charts (locations, times,
depth, etc.) at the visitor center in
Anchorage and other coastal towns in Alaska. It's fascinating to someone
like me who has never lived next to an ocean and doesn't visit them very
View of Anchorage and the mud flats as I returned
to the downtown area
Another reason beginning at 9 AM was good – there were many fewer people
on the path all the way down to Kincaid Park than there were on the way back,
especially as long as I took on the return.
I wouldn’t want to ride the trail on the weekend. There were too many
kids even on a weekday. None of the dogs were a problem and
most people kept to the right. Most of the people were in the five miles
between the Point and downtown, not in the wooded section south of the
Point to Kincaid Park where the trail isn't very close to the water.
We had a great time on the Coastal Trail today and plan to ride it again
before we leave Anchorage. If you have any athletic inclination at all,
we encourage you to walk, run, or cycle all or part of it.
Next entry: visiting Ship Creek and the Ulu Factory this
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the ultra Lab
© 2012 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil