As promised, approximately 2 months ago (clearly i’m slow with the follow through). I would be sharing my different hiking/fishing adventures with all of you while at home in Alaska for the summer months. I am now here to rectify this by beginning my Hiking Alaska series with 3 hikes that I did before leaving for Prince William sound.
This beautiful hike is located about 30 minutes out of Soldotna driving towards Cooper Landing in that awkward space that I suppose could be labeled outer Sterling. Regardless, it’s a beautiful and very easy hike that leads to the Fuller Lakes. We hiked it in May. As you can see from the photos there was still a lot of snow. This hike is far better later on in the summer so as to avoid soaking feet.
Verdict: GREAT hike for family/friends
Best time of Year: July-August
Other Considerations: Lots of grizzly/black bear sightings along this trail. A smart hiker would have either a gun or bear spray of some sort. Also a lot of “mountain men” make summer hunting camps up here. Beware of those too ; )
If you are in Homer and love to hike this is a can’t miss! The location is a bit difficult to get to but luckily the ferry, the Danny J, (tickets easily purchased on the Homer Spit) can take you to the beginning of the Saddle Trail or to Glacier Spit. If you ask the ferry driver to take you to Grewingk Glacier they will know exactly what you are talking about. This glacier is simply stunning and sits across Kachemak Bay from the town of Homer. The hike from Glacier Spit is a very easy and flat endeavor that you could also easily take strollers on. For a more difficult but still relatively easy hike begin at the Saddle Trail side which begins with a sharp incline and then leveling out. I started on the Saddle Trail end looking for a bit more cardio.
We hiked in Late May. You can see that the lake still is a bit frozen but the trail had almost no snow on it and the drainage is excellent resulting in relatively little mud.
Verdict: great hike for kids! Flat coming in from glacier spit and the glacier is stunning. Difficulty: Easy from the Glacier Spit end and easy-moderate from the Saddle Trail. Either way its a very short hike round trip being around 3 miles.
Best time of year: May-September
Other Considerations: Parts of the trail may be slightly muddy if going in early spring so be prepared for that.
Hope Point Ridge.
I have been wanting to do this hike for years and FINALLY was able to do it this June. Rookie hikers beware! This is not for the faint of heart. It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever accomplished but you REALLY have to work for it. Once arriving into Hope it gets confusing. My trail book informed me to go to Porcupine Campground however, the beginning of this trail has been moved to the brand new trail head by Alaska Department of Fish and Game so follow those signs. There is tons of parking and bathrooms (yippee!) There are two trailheads here follow the sign for Hope Point. It begins with a luxurious half mile limited incline along a creek. Do not let this fool you. Soon you will be going sharply, and I mean sharply upwards. Parts of this hike I felt as if I was scaling a building whilst desperately grasping for branches. It was hard and I was sweaty chugging water from the 3 Nalgenes I had packed. Do not let this deter you. The view of both Hope, Cooper Landing, Turnagain Arm, and on a clear day Denali are unbelievable. It was the most awe worthy perspective of some of my favorite parts of Alaska ever. In total the hike was around 8 miles round trip with a large part of it being straight up. Once however, you reach Hope Point it is at your own discretion how far along the ridge you want to traverse. We went all the way up to where the mountain goats were. (Might as well!) Here’s some pictures of what you are working for to inspire you to take on the challenge:
Verdict: VERY difficult but well worth it. I would ABSOLUTELY do it again.
Best time of year: June-September
Other Considerations: Bring LOTS of water. There are no fresh streams after the creek at the bottom. I brought 3 nalgenes and drank them all. Also, Hope has a reputation for bear problems and we kept anticipating seeing some. However, we didn’t. I would still be on the lookout. There are tons of mountain goats though have your camera ready!