Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nancy Lakes Cruising

Having tested the conditions around Nancy Lakes (just off the Parks Highway North of Wasilla) the previous weekend, I decided to go for a longer skate ski on the snow-machine trails around the Nancy Lakes State Park area on Sunday, March 27th, 2011. 

The total trip, outlined below, was just over 30 miles.  Skiing on the snow machine trails works great and there are not that many snow machiners this time of the year.

I skied the Nancy Lakes Parkway from the winter access at mp 2.2 to the end of the road at mp 6.6, then followed the summer trail to Red Shirt Lake.  From there I skied across Red Shirt Lake, Cow lake, West and East Butterfly Lakes, Bucklet Lake #1, Candlestick Lake, Echo Ponds Nos 1, 2 & 3, Lynx Lake, Little Frazer Lake, Charr Lake, Owl Lake, James Lake, Chicken Lake, Big & Little Noluck Lakes, and Tanaina Lake, before finishing back along the Nancy Lakes Parkway to the trailhead.

Skiing the lakes area can definitely be recommended.  Especially this time of the year when most of the snow machiners have gone home.  It is almost like crust skiing.  And there are almost endless trails in the area.

Looking South across Red Shirt Lake.  Superb skiing.

Connector trail to Big Lake trail system South of Cow Lake.  Most of the trails are very wide and great for skating.  Some of the Nancy Lakes portages are single track which makes for a nice change.  Perhaps some day we could do the Oosik Classic ski race here!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Indian to Arctic

On the spur of the moment and with a good weather forecast, Per Arne and I decided on Friday evening to ski the Arctic to Indian trail the next day.  To simplify the logistics, Per Arne started at the Arctic (North) end and I skied from the Indian (South) end.  We met at the middle and exchanged car keys. 

I have done the Arctic to Indian traverse many times before, but always as touring with a group of people.  This time I decided to make it a workout.  Going fairly light but with back-country skies, I used 3:45 on the roughly 20 mile traverse.  Rode Multigrade wax gave good grip all the way except the last hills up to the Arctic Valley trailhead.  A blue-bell day, about 25 degrees F at the start, and 2 inches of fresh powder at the pass made it a fantastic traverse.

Map of the Arctic to Indian traverse

Looking up Indian valley early in the morning.  The mountain in the mist is Avalanche Peak.

View of Turnagain Arm from high in the Indian Valley.

Powerline Pass with Homocide Peak on the left and Avalanche Peak on the right.  One of my favorite crust-ski gully is the right-hand gully leading down from the low-point on Powerline Pass.

Halfway across I met up with Per Arne for a brief rest stop and exchange of car-keys.