Continued from the previous page.
THROUGH THE "BALLFIELD" & "GULLY"
After reaching the saddle I was surprised to find a high, wide alpine
valley rising gradually to the south and east.
Now I kind of know why they call the broad plateau the Ballfield:
The trail is to the right. A narrow creek flows
through the gully; it was mostly dry today.
The very rocky trail curved below the jagged ridgeline of O'Malley Peak
for another 1.7 miles
to the overlook above the lakes:.
I was high enough to look back and get views of the city and Cook
Inlet along most of this high trail:
There were very few flowers on any part of this hike but some patches
of little red leaves here and there in the tundra to give it some extra
As I approached the overlook I had several choices -- descend
steeply on a trail that goes down to the Williwaw Lakes (left arrow in
next photo), climb the jagged rocks to my right on O'Malley Peak, or
go up the slope on my right a little ways to observe the valley below
and the peaks around me.
I chose the latter, but did climb a
little higher to the right than in this picture:
Arrow left = trail that descends to Williwaw Lakes;
I went up the slope to the right ~ 200 feet.
Here are some of the views down to Black Lake (black??), the
Williwaw valley, another high alpine lake at the end of the valley,
and surrounding peaks:
Williwaw Lakes down in the valley
Black Lake looks glacier-blue to me! I couldn't see
it from the valley several days ago.
Ditto for this high alpine lake at the end of the
valley -- too high to see from Williwaw Lakes level.
Rocky slope I climbed to get these photos
Looking other direction to mountains and valley
north and east
I descended from the rocky slope a little different way (off-trail) and
discovered Deep Lake nearby:
It's smaller than Black Lake but perhaps deeper at full pond as the snow
Because the trail through the tundra was so rocky I took a detour
off-trail where it was a little smoother on my way back to the saddle
below Little O'Malley's summit:
I was in a bit of a hurry on the way down because I could see some
gray clouds forming and didn't want to get caught in a storm up there.
I kept my eye on the sky the whole time I was above treeline. On the
way up to the pass Jim called to warn me about a nasty thunderstorm in
Palmer that was headed south. Up on the broad tundra I had 360-degree
visibility and didn't see storm clouds in my vicinity until I got to the
overlook above Black Lake.
After I turned around I could see a storm over Cook Inlet. I was too
far away to hear any thunder:
Fortunately, it never did rain while I was hiking. I took a few
minutes at the saddle to climb up Little O'Malley a bit but didn't go to
the highest point:
On the way down the steep slope to the Middle Fork Trail
I indulged in a few ripe blueberries, then returned to the Glen Alps parking
Looking back up to the O'Malley peaks from the
valley, I could see that the sky was more clear in that direction:
I was disappointed to not see any moose this time. On my way up to the
tundra two groups of hikers coming down from O'Malley told me they'd
seen a handsome bull moose a few minutes earlier but he was gone when I
All I saw were arctic ground squirrels.
They're cute, but
nothing to write home about.
GLEN ALPS OVERLOOK
By the time I got back to the truck the sky was more clear over the
Anchorage Bowl. I still had some energy so I decided to walk around the
short overlook trail loop next to the parking area:
Ascending to the overlook
Above and below: views of
the O'Malley peaks and other nearby mountains
The storm over Cook Inlet moved on.
TRIPLE TREAT HIKE STATS
My high point was about 3,834 feet at the Black Lake overlook, the low
point about 1,986 feet at the creek. Total elevation gain and loss on
the three trails was 5,270 feet. Total distance was 8.72 miles.
Total time was 4:40 hours plus a couple rest breaks.
Next entry: more pretty alpine lakes --
S. Fork Eagle River Trail to Symphony and Eagle Lakes
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup
© 2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil