2015  HIKING, CYCLING,

& RV TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Denali AKA Mt. McKinley

 

   
 
Runtrails' Web Journal
 
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   MT. HEALY HIKE, p. 2

 FRIDAY, JULY 24

 
 

Continued from the previous page.

ALONG THE RIDGE

Once I got above most of the trees the views were as magnificent as I remember from hiking up there three times in 2012. The only disappointment was not being able to see Denali because of clouds.

I hiked over a mile along the undulating, rocky ridge, going another quarter mile farther this time than on my previous hikes.

Here are some of the rock features and scenic views from the ridge:

 


View SE to Nenana Canyon and the river valley


I was surprised to see fireweeds up in the tundra! All the other plants are very low.

 

 

Above and below:  There are several fun ascents/descents up and over rocky mini-peaks.

 

Above and below:  approaching the last rocky prominence where I turned around

 

The trail continues a little farther past that rocky promontory. I didn't climb all the way to the top of the rocks because another hiker was already up there. I also knew it would be difficult for me to get back down the loose rocks without falling.

If you want to do more distance, including more rock scrambling, you can keep going beyond that formation, down to a pass, and climb up to the even higher ridge and peaks of Mt. Healy to the west. I haven't seen a trail on those slopes but it would be nearly impossible to get lost up there.

SCENES FROM THE DESCENT

The next group of photos shows the trail and views on the way back down to the overlook:

 

Because of steep sections with loose rocks I walked cross-country below the trail for about half a mile:


Those two hikers are on part of the trail I avoided on the way down.

That helped me avoid sliding on loose rocks and I got to see some different wildflowers and colorful rocks before returning to the trail down to the overlook.


It wasn't all down on the return . . .

 

 

 

 

 

I went out about four miles for a total of about eight miles. Elevation ranged from 1,836-4,249 feet. My GPS said the total gain and loss was a little over 5,300 feet. Total time was about five hours with all my stops to take photos, enjoy the views, pick blueberries, and eat a Clif bar on a high rock.

FLORA & FAUNA

I carried bear spray but there were enough other hikers coming and going that I didn't need to worry about bears.

The only critters I saw were cute little Arctic ground squirrels up on the ridge:


"I'm busy building a nest but I'll look cute so maybe this nice lady
will give me a snack . . ."  (Nope, the nice lady didn't.)

The fireweed is at or past peak. I think most flowers are earlier this year than in 2012 because the winter was milder and shorter this time. Other flowers are also in bloom, like white yarrow and yellow cinquefoil.

I liked this delicate pink and yellow flower but don't know what it is:

Most of the lupines and wild roses have stopped blooming in this area. There are rose hips along the lower part of the Healy Overlook Trail now:

What surprised me most was seeing several different deciduous plants that are beginning to change colors already -- gold, orange, or red:

 

 

 

 

We'll be back in late August to see the stunning fall colors again. That was such a treat in Denali three years ago.

Jim took a rest day from cycling but did take Casey for a couple bike rides in and near the campground. He relaxed, walked the dogs, spent time on the computer, and did some household chores while I was gone.

Next entryMt. Margaret hike above the Savage River

Happy trails,

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

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2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil

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