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
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.
access the summit of Mt. Healy from either ridge if you do enough rock
of ridge to the left of the one I hiked
switchbacks a lot above tree line; now I'm facing east again as I near
of the overlook, facing Nenana Canyon and the mountains east of it
ascent to the "End of Maintained Trail" sign
"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.
HIKING ON THE RIDGE
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
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:
you go on the ridge, the higher you get and the rockier the terrain
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
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."
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.
The summit of Mt. Healy is
somewhere under the clouds in the distant center of this photo.
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 page: more photos from the trail and one
last drive scenic drive to Savage River
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the ultra Lab
© 2012 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil