Denali AKA Mt. McKinley


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Continued from the previous page.


Several little paths lead to the top of Kelgaya Point, 1.25 miles from the trailhead. The scenery was drop-dead gorgeous from there, making the effort on the gnarly trail through the forest worth it to me.

I could finally see the peaks of all the mountains to the south, east, and north, some with glaciers:

L-R:  Mt. Riley, Haines, Mt. Ripinsky, Chilkoot Inlet to Chilkoot Lake, Lynn Canal to Skagway


The water in Portage Cove and Kelgaya Bay was a beautiful turquoise color and I could see the town of Haines in the distance.

I climbed up to the top of the point (about 30 feet above the water) and walked 360 degrees around it to see farther south to Battery Point but didn't walk all the way to it. What I could see is called False Battery Point on the Garmin GPS track, not the actual point that's out of view from Kelgaya Point:


It was very scenic none-the-less!

I noted an interesting phenomenon from Kelgaya Point that is also visible from trails on Mt. Riley and Mt. Ripinsky. There is a distinct demarcation between the water in Lynn Canal and Portage Cove. The cove is a beautiful glacial blue, while the canal is cement gray:

The line is very interesting, and similar to the two rivers that merge at Whitecourt, AB.

I dropped down to water level between the points and got closer to the false point, then turned back north toward Haines and walked along the shoreline to the trail up into the forest:



The hike over the gnarly sections back to the trailhead was easier going uphill. I knew what to expect that time, and I got through it faster. I had enough energy after the hike to ride my bike up to Chilkoot Lake again, a roundtrip distance from the campground of about 22 miles.


I enjoyed the views from this trail so much yesterday that Jim decided to go with me this afternoon. We took both dogs with us the second time.  

I was surprised Jim wanted to go after I described the trail as gnarly. I hadn't planned on a second hike out there. He'd read the description of the trail in our literature, which said it was "gentle." As you can see from the photos on both pages of this entry, half the trail we hiked is anything but gentle through the forest!

I believe there used to be a partially paved, lower trail along the shoreline that was easier to hike but it was seriously damaged and closed. I could see some trail-building equipment and supplies in one place along the upper trail.

In addition, there is a sign where the upper trail drops to the coast that says a trail is under construction and not to be used yet:


Even though there is half a mile of rocky-rooty and sometimes-steep sections, I was game to go back again today with Jim.

Soon after we got to the gnarly part he wanted to turn around. Ha!

I convinced him it was worth it to go on, and he agreed a few minutes later that the views from the point and cove were worth the effort. We could tell the clouds were gradually decreasing and it was fairly nice when we got down to the water.

Jim headed there first so he could throw sticks for Casey to retrieve:


Casey always has fun swimming out to get sticks. Cody does, too, but not if Casey is present. He knows he can't out-swim his little sister!

We could see the tops of most of the surrounding mountains while we were at Kelgaya Point and by the time we got done with the hike and back into town we had great views everywhere.


We walked toward Kelgaya Point along the shoreline and explored the point like I did yesterday.

I noticed these succulent sea plants on the north side of Kelgaya Point yesterday but didn't walk out to inspect them more closely until today with Jim:


They reminded us of some thin, balloon-like plants we saw at the Bay of Fundy in the Canadian Maritimes last summer.

I got some good pictures of Jim and the dogs when we took a break on the rocky point:




Total distance of each of our two hikes was about 2.6 miles, rather short distances for us but abbreviated because there were so many other things we wanted to do both days. Out and back to Battery Point is at least four miles, more if you explore a little bit. I don't know if you can follow the shoreline south of Battery Point.

If you want a longer hike, you can take the trail up the east side of Mt. Riley to its summit and either hike out and back or up and over to the trailhead on Mud Bay Road. We passed the start of that narrow, even more gnarly-looking trail about half a mile along the Battery Point Trail.

The Battery Point trailhead is located at the end of narrow, hilly Beach Road about a mile from downtown Haines. The parking lot is small with minimal room to turn around -- or park. Don't take anything larger than a pickup truck out there.

Next entryhike on the other side of Mt. Riley from Mud Bay Road

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