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Re: Rabbit Lake Backpacking Trip

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Rabbit Lake Backpacking Trip
May 21, 2012 12:23AM
Even though I have done a lot of hiking including very long dayhikes I have never spent a night out--a true backpacking experience. I set out on this trip with a purposefully heavy pack carrying a four person tent (for two of us), three liters of water, and extra clothes for cold weather. I never did come up with a scale but estimate at least a 40 lb pack.

The trip was only a one nighter in areas behind Flattop Mountains previously posted. The route was still largely covered in snow with frequent postholing. Bears are definitely out and about and we saw evidence of one in our neighborhood on the way back out.

After hiking in a few miles our group of 8 found a suitable site but my friend and I were a bit ahead of the group and decided to press on toward Ptarmigan Pass and up across Flaketop Mountain. The peak ended up being directly above the camp site (WAY ABOVE!) but not visible. The hiking across the ridge was a bit of scrambling over many different jagged peaks until we reach the pinnacle. In all, we hiked for a solid 6 hours before reaching the summit. All with our 40 lb. packs.

Full Photo Album here: MeetUp Album



We had hiked about half the elevation gain at this point to the point where my friend is pointing. We travelled to that point from along the ridge outside the frame of the right side of the two photos below:



Approaching the ridge line:


The Peak behind me is Ptarmigan Peak and as soon as we reached this point in the pass it was VERY windy with 30-40 mph gusts:


These are not the Summit yet:






You can see the inlet in the background:


City of Anchorage in the Background. My new Facebook photo replacing the Half Dome Visor:


Ptarmigan Peak now behind us:


Anchorage again:


About halfway down with our campsite now in sight:
Re: Rabbit Lake Backpacking Trip
May 21, 2012 02:14PM
Rabbit Lake Trail Guide

This is the official state park trail guide and includes a Summer Picture. I can tell you it looks nothing like that now. In fact, you really can't tell there is a lake at all. It is completely snow covered and blends in with the rest of the surrounding rolling valley. We got trace amounts of snow while we were out there this weekend so I have no idea when it will melt. We walked over the gate to the trailhead which seemed to be about 4 feet off the ground but still covered in snow. At one point someone post-holed all the way to their thigh. Incredible!
avatar Re: Rabbit Lake Backpacking Trip
May 21, 2012 06:51PM
Looks nice (particularly the summer picture the state provided). Most of that seems to be above the alders...(in the upper areas of Glacier Bay, the main issue in campsite selection was looking for something w/ any shoreline clearing amidst the alders, high tides were coming overnight so I wasn't about to beach camp)
Re: Rabbit Lake Backpacking Trip
May 22, 2012 06:00AM
Quote
ttilley
Looks nice (particularly the summer picture the state provided). Most of that seems to be above the alders...(in the upper areas of Glacier Bay, the main issue in campsite selection was looking for something w/ any shoreline clearing amidst the alders, high tides were coming overnight so I wasn't about to beach camp)

Never having done snow hiking before I am really enjoying it. But it will be amazing to see the transformation seen in that state photo. You mean there is a lake out there!!!

Much of the Chugach hiking is done above the tree line. Sure is cool being up there with the dall sheep. We didn't see sheep on this trip, but did see our share of rabbits and TONS of ptarmigans. It was funny how they would hang out just outside our tent late. And they make sounds like chickens.
avatar Re: Rabbit Lake Backpacking Trip
May 22, 2012 06:59AM
Tanks for Sharon.

Something I learned last year may be of interest. Ptarmigan.
Introduced into the Central Sierra. Turn white in winter.
So obviously it's not winter in Alaska. smiling smiley

I've only ever seen one Ptarmigan in the Sierra. Loads of Blue Grouse, Eagles, etc.
Maybe I saw it because it was completely confused...
May 9th, 2011:


Cool on the first backpacking trip. Be careful... you might turn into a Chick-on and start craving tastey treats.
tongue sticking out smiley

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Rabbit Lake Backpacking Trip
May 22, 2012 09:39AM
Hmm, white ptarmigans in winter. I'll have to look into that. The rabbits definitely turn white. They are already turning brown. I'll post a couple pictures of the ptarmigans later. They are on last pictures on the page I linked to.

The tasty treat I was craving was one of those ptarmigans. Especially as they clucked like chickens all night outside our tent. Of course the idea came from the Small Game Hunting Session I attended at the Sportsman Show a few weeks ago when the Fish and Game guy talked about how great they were to eat---but warned to be "ethical" in the hunt because they are not to bright* and really are very easy to kill.



* No statement above is meant directly or indirectly to slander, libel, and/or harm the reputation of any type of chicken including pink chickens.
avatar Re: Rabbit Lake Backpacking Trip
May 22, 2012 10:19AM
Yo Bro, Don't Taze Me!

I wasn't pulling yer leg:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-tailed_Ptarmigan

My pix of the Ptarmigan was taken in Jack Main Canyon.
I looked at your pictures before I commented about da birds. smiling smiley

(FYI: I heard squirrel is good to eat too) spinning smiley sticking its tongue out



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Rabbit Lake Backpacking Trip
May 22, 2012 11:22AM
You are certainly correct. Ptarmigans certainly do turn just like the rabbits. I went and talked to the resident hunter in the office. He said they don't taste good though in the spring and early summer because they have been eating pine needles all winter. Late summer/fall they will be better because they will have feasted on the berries.

It is amazing how the snow tracks usually have a purple tint to them from the boot stains after hikers crossing the tundra. The melting snow uncovers last years frozen berries--those berries no taste good either. They make quite a stain on your pants bottom when attempting to hike down a very steep hill to camp and you slip a couple times.

Did your squirrel comment come from a story I have told here? I don't remember mentioning the story here but a couple Thanksgivings ago I failed to kill my annual Christmas dinner. So instead of a nice deer hindquarters for Christmas dinner, I harvested a couple squirrels and we had those on Christmas Day. My wife also cooked a ham because squirrels don't make much meat.
avatar Re: Rabbit Lake Backpacking Trip
May 22, 2012 12:36PM
Of course I'm right. When have I been wrong?

(seriously, I was surprised to see that white birdie in JMC... and of course I took a click click of it)
(and then once I got home I had to look up what it was)

As for the rodent. You should eat Marmot instead. They certainly aren't too bright either.

(I hope Len is chuckling out there in the great beyond)
tongue sticking out smiley



Chick-on is looking at you!
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