Hiking the Reed Lakes Trail

A Morning Hike In Alaska

On Thursday morning Becky and I rolled out of bed early, driving up Hatchers Pass to Archangel Valley where we took a short hike on the Reed Lakes trail, going as far as the old and abandoned Snowbird Mine. We arrived at the trail head long before any other hikers so we had the trail and its beautiful scenery all to ourselves. The weather was pleasant enough, although heavy fog made our surrounding quite eerie at times. It did, however,  provide some interesting effects for photography.

It is about a mile into the old mining camp, an easy hike with no long or steep hills to negotiate, and the forest service has a crew present at this time, widening and smoothing the trail. The trail is very popular, the parking area at the trail head packed with vehicles on most summer days.

It might have taken us an hour to reach the mine, there was an abundance of wild flowers along the way, very pretty with droplets of rain from the night before still clinging to them. Becky often stopped to take pictures while I hiked slowly onward, glacning back often to enjoy the sight of my wife totally enjoying herself as she found multitudes of pretty things to photograph.

We didn’t see too much wildlife, only three moose on our drive up the Hatcher Pass road, along with marmot’s, pica’s and small birds along the trail. We also watched a large beaver in one of the ponds near the mining camp. There are black bears in the area, I’ve seen several on previous trips here, but fortunately there were none roaming about on this day, as Becky was a little concerned about them.

Before we started on our return hike we sat down on some boulders to have a drink of water and snack on some meat, cheese and crackers we’d brought along. But as Becky opened our pack the  snacks fell out of it, slid down a small chute in the rocks, and into a deep hole with water in the bottom of it. I was able to retrieve our cheese, still sealed in a plastic baggie, but our poor sausage was gone forever, floating back underneath  more boulders and completely out of reach. We still had crackers and two large cookies though, so we satisfied ourselves with those, along with a little bottled water.

By the time we began our hike out the fog was beginning to lift, revealing the high mountain peaks surrounding the valley we were hiking in and giving a completely different perspective for our photography efforts. Along the way we encountered the trail crew, using four wheelers with trailers, along with shovels and chainsaws, to repair the trail.

As we reached the trial head parking lots at around 10:00 a.m., other vehicles were arriving and several hikers were already donning their packs as they prepared to begin their hike.

We had timed our return perfectly, I thought.

*

While we were driving through Hatcher Pass Becky spotted a cow moose and a calf feeding in a small pond just off the road, so while I tried to put a sneak on them she contented herself with photographing wildflowers in the fog.       (Ron Day)

*

Trying to sneak up on this girl was hopeless, she knew exactly where I was, even before I poked my head over some bushes to get this picture, and had already sent her calf into the brush along the shore. She allowed me just two rather shaky shots before she waded ashore and joined her calf.       (Ron Day)

*

As we began our hike we could barely see several beaver ponds and lodges, nearly obscured by heavy layers of fog.       (Becky Day)

Wildflowers were in abundance along the trail, making Becky very happy since she loves to photograph them. The droplets of rain from the previous night were an added bonus.      (Becky Day)

*

Here I am at trail side, contemplating nature and maybe looking for something to photograph in the thick fog.       (Becky Day)

*

An old and rusted cook stove we found along the trail near the old Snowbird Mine.       (Becky Day)

*

Looking pretty in her red & white cap and hiking clothes Becky catches me taking pictures of her as she takes pictures of wildflowers.       (Ron Day)

*

One of the beautiful flowers Becky that found near the trail.       (Becky Day)

*

Near the old Snowbird Mine. On the far right center you can see the remains of an old cabin lying on the ground, while in the middle center stands another old cook stove, this one white in color.       (Becky Day)

*

This black, gaping hole ate our lunch. Becky was sitting above it on  large boulder and when she opened our small pack our food accidently fell out of it, sliding down a small chute in the rocks right into the hole. I was able to reach inside of the hole to retrieve our cheese but our tasty roll of smoked sausage is still in there somewhere.       (Becky Day)

*

At the beginning of our hike I suggested to Becky the she should try getting closer to her photographic subjects, filling the frame as much as she could with them. I’m flattered that she took my advice, but sheesh, I was talking about flowers and such things as that, not this wrinkled up old face.        (Becky Day)

As we made our way back we encountered this trail crew busily repairing and improving the trail. The heavy fog had begun to lift by this time, revealing spectacular clouds in the skies overhead.       (Ron Day)

*

This is one of Becky’s favorite photos of the day, a nice macro shot of a small butterfly snacking on some Blue Lupine alongside of the trail.       (Becky Day)

*

Nearly back to the pick-up, Becky treks on ahead of me, keeping a close eye along the trail for wild Canaries. There were many of them but they wouldn’t stay still long enough to have their pictures taken. Becky finally decided they were just taunting her and from then on totally ignored them.        (Ron Day)

*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>