On Saturday morning we headed again for hiking, this time nearby, to Chena River Recreational Area. There we followed first the Angel Creek trail by walking for about 10 miles (16 km). It was driven by snow machines so it was easy to walk on.
After the trail ended and we put the snowshoes on and headed to forest. The snow was almost up until our waist in some places and generally very deep, but we were lucky to find moose trails and on those it was easier to walk.
We figured out why many trails in Alaska are called “moose trails”! It was kind of nice just follow a wild trail, we were in their kingdom.
We had a backpack and attached to that was a sled that we used to carry our food, water and mattresses. It was sure hard to pull the sled in deep snow!
After about 1,5 miles of snowshoeing and following the Angel Creek in a valley, it was time to start climbing since we wanted to sleep in a Chena Dome trail shelter.
Chena Dome trail is about 30 miles long “summit trail” that makes a loop and follows summits surrounding Angel Creek. It is known to be quite hard trail and mainly for summer time. But we wanted to see the landscape from the hills!
And for that we had to climb a pretty steep wall that was 500 m high. At some points you just kept sliding backwards with you snowshoes, it was just so steep. And we had to be extra careful because of the avalanche risk that was obvious on those slopes. So no shouting, though at some points it was hard not to yell.
It took a lot of sweat and a hint of tears to get us to the summit, but again, it was worth it. Just breathtaking view! We saw the hills, the mountains surrounding them and even the Alaska range at the distance. Just perfect!
After a small lunch break we followed the summits and walked about one mile to the shelter.
The shelter was, well, a protection from wind and snow but also full of small holes in walls and a big one in the floor. But at least we were in. We spent the last hours drying ourselves and our gear. For dinner we had some hot soup and pumpkin cookies. Then it was time to sleep. And we both had a pretty good night, though for Julien, who slept on the floor, it was a bit cold at first.
Morning was again chilly so we packed our gear fast, ate some breakfast cookies and bars and start walking back.
We headed down to the valley straight from the shelter and the snow was carrying us occasionally, more Piia than Julien. The morning was beautiful, we saw the fog fading as the sun was shining.
Snow on the slopes that we were walking along was making some scary avalanche starting noises, so had to be careful again.
Finally we managed to get back to the trail and then finally home. Tired and happy, again.
Check the amazing video about our trip!
For Easter dinner we enjoyed some caribou meat and vegetables with Scott, Kerry and the girls and their friends Sandra, Todd and Keith. For desert we ate some blueberry bread and also blueberry cheesecake. What a way to end a great weekend! At 9 we were ready for bed and our muscles let us know we had done some sweating. No better feeling than that! :)