Denali AKA Mt. McKinley


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"Nestled among 7,000-foot peaks, the Eagle River Nature Center offers a variety of   
programs and activities for the general public, as well as a cabin and two yurts
for rent. Ten miles of trail are maintained throughout the year for  
public use and guided nature walks are given seasonally."
~ Chugach State Park brochure

Although there were a lot of clouds this morning -- all day, over the Chugach Range -- the valley cleared up by late morning and it was mostly sunny the rest of the day in Anchorage and at JBER. Temps were quite pleasant in the upper 60s F.

Eagle River Nature Center in the Chugach Mtns. this morning -- overcast, but at least it wasn't raining.

View of the Chugach Range from JBER in late afternoon -- sunny down here, cloudy in the mountains.

No rain = time to get outside!


We took the dogs and drove to the Eagle River Nature Center late in the morning. This is a non-profit educational and interpretive facility located in the northern section of Chugach State Park, with lots of acres to enjoy wildlife and varied scenery.

In addition to a visitor center, there are also several trails through the forests, wetlands, and along the river. I first hiked here on June 29 with Cody and wanted to show some of the trails to Jim.


Along the scenic twelve-mile long Eagle River Road we saw a brown black bear come up to the guard rail on our side, then turn around and run back into the woods -- smart bear. It happened too fast to get a picture but we were happy to see a bear from the safety of our truck.

This nature preserve is very popular and the parking lot fills up quickly, even on weekdays. We lucked out today; it was only half full when we arrived. The narrow road to a lower lot is closed due to some construction so parking is even more limited than it was a month ago.

We paid our $5 day use fee and then hiked the Rodak Nature Trail with both dogs. Even though the clouds were low over the surrounding mountains we had good views of the creeks and ponds in the valley:



There were a lot of pretty red and orange clustered berries we haven't seen so far this summer:


I remember them from along the Coastal Trail three years ago.

The fireweeds and cow parsnips are mostly done blooming now. Wild geraniums and monkshood are still going strong. Some leaves are turning red already, and berries and rose hips abound.

Wild geranium


Rose hips

Jim went back to the truck with Cody after a mile and spent more time in the nature center looking at the exhibits. I took Casey another mile on a different trail but didn't go all the way to the river this time. Casey found some delicious ripe red raspberries along the trail. It's hilarious to watch her sniff out those berries! We ate a few but left most for the birds and bears.

Two days ago someone sighted a black bear along the Albert Loop near the trail intersection where I turned around today but we didn't see any bears or moose in the park today.


After a late lunch the sun was out and I had to get outside again to take advantage of it.

I talked Jim into riding the Campbell Creek bike trail with me. We drove to the parking area at the NW corner of the Far North Bicentennial Park on MLK, Jr. Drive and started our ride there (same place we started three years ago).

There has been news of brown bear sightings along Campbell Creek, upstream as well as deeper within the Bicentennial Park than we rode today. We did see three bright red salmon in the creek less than a mile from where we began but didn't see any more after that -- and no bears.

We had our bear spray, just in case. There were a lot of people on the trail for a weekday, I thought, which might have kept the bears in hiding.

Several interpretive panels at creek bridges and decks give information about the salmon, etc.

Above and below:  two of several nice bridges on the bike path that cross Campbell Creek


Old food cache along the trail; some people still use these
to keep food away from bears and other hungry critters.

This trail isn't marked much better than it was three years ago. We still had trouble at several trail intersections determining which way to go. There are numerous short access points from neighborhoods.

The good thing is that the path under the Seward Hwy. has been completed. Three years ago there was a lot of construction in that area and we had to cross the busy four-lane road after making a detour on side streets. There is still a problem east of there at busy Lake Otis Pkwy., however. Outbound we finally found the correct detour to the south, then north. Inbound we just walked our bikes across the closest access to the other side.

Some of the trail is nicely shaded through forests . . .

. . . and some is more open and sunny.

We rode a total of 14 miles with several stops outbound to look into the creek for salmon.

There are numerous creek crossings and the path runs close to the water most of the time. There are also some very pretty lakes, parks, and forested areas.






The path goes by some houses, apartments, and businesses, too. It's a nice path but could use better signage for visitors.

We got more exercise after supper. I walked the dogs separately around the campground and Jim took Casey on the bike to play ball at a nice grassy location where there aren't too many people or dogs she'd want to greet while off-leash. She's still too friendly and impulsive!

Next entrynature photos from Potter Marsh, another good place to spot wildlife

Happy trails,

"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