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Continued from the previous page.


The colors were brighter and more varied the higher I climbed, probably because the foliage gets more sunshine where there are fewer trees.

Here is a sampling of photos as I climbed higher toward the ridge, which is in the tundra:




Some of the high trail is narrow, with a steep slope on either side.

I hiked on the ridge to the right. I don't think there is a trail on the ridge to the left.
You can access the summit of Mt. Healy from either ridge if you do enough rock scrambling.

Better view of ridge to the left of the one I hiked

The trail switchbacks a lot above tree line; now I'm facing east again as I near Healy Overlook.

Lower part of the overlook, facing Nenana Canyon and the mountains east of it

Short final ascent to the "End of Maintained Trail" sign

Location of "End of Maintained Trail" sign;  it should say "Just Keep Going Along the Ridge"  
on the trail to the right.  It's easier hiking, with different views, than the trail to the overlook!

The overlook is 3,450 feet elevation. The summit of Mt. Healy is 5,700 feet.

Along the first mile of the undulating ridge you're in the tundra with mostly very low-growing plants at about 3,400-3,600 feet elevation. Past a mile the ridge gets higher and higher until you're mostly in rocks with few plants.


I went about one-half mile out on the ridge before turning around. The fall colors were magnificent in every direction and I took lots more pictures.

It continued to amaze me how different everything looked from just four weeks earlier :

There are fine views from the ridge down into Nenana Canyon to the south (above) and east (below).

The next three photos are looking mostly ahead (north) as I hiked outbound:



The farther you go on the ridge, the higher you get and the rockier the terrain becomes.

The ridge to the west, which also leads to the summit of Mt. Healy, is very colorful right now, too. Here are a couple views of it from different angles:


Last time I was up on the ridge I went outbound for over a mile before turning around.

Today I had plenty of time to hike even farther but I cut it short so I didn't get hypothermic. I wasn't dressed adequately for the cold temperature, wet/damp air, and gusty blasts of wind.

Above and below:  When I looked back toward the valley to the south
I sometimes couldn't tell if it was raining or if the sun was shining through the clouds.

While I was on my way up the wet trail, still in the trees and shrubs, I could feel some very light rain but it didn’t last long. On the ridge I could feel some sleet.

Just three or four hundred feet above me it was snowing! The highest parts of Mt. Healy were under clouds most of the time. When they cleared I could see fresh snow that had just fallen (photo on previous page). It wasn’t there when I started a couple hours earlier!

That was "cool."

The summit of Mt. Healy is somewhere under the clouds in the distant center of this photo.

I was wearing a lightweight fleece jacket under my water-resistant Marmot jacket. I should have worn tights under my lightweight convertible pants. My core was warm in the wind on the ridge -- as long as I kept moving -- but my legs and hands got very cold.

My fingers almost got too numb to operate my camera or unzip my pack, despite wearing two pairs of gloves (lightweight running gloves and bike gloves, which give me a better grip on my trekking poles).

Heading back down sometimes means going UP the undulating ridge trail.

What a kaleidoscope of colors!!

Approaching Healy Overlook on the ridge;  the Nenana River is in the background to the left.

While I was on the ridge I talked with a guy coming down from a higher point. He told me it was at least 10 F. colder where he’d been hiking higher up.

That news also dissuaded me from climbing higher along the ridge.

Continued on the next pagemore photos from the trail and one last drive scenic drive to Savage River

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