Archive for September, 2012

Tolovana, 2012

Monday, September 24th, 2012

The last three years we have made a family trip to Tolovana Hotsprings. The first year the twins were carried and sledded out there, but the following years they hiked the 10+ miles each way under their own power. It has become a sign of the change of seasons, a marking of the end of fall and the coming of winter. Sometimes there is a bit of colder weather and even a little snow, reminding us of the winter that is coming. We have been joined by the twins friend Anna, her dad Ned and her mom Kristen, as well as Tom, and Ms Marsh.

The twins and Anna really enjoy Tolovana, with its places to explore..

Things to do..

And the wonderful hot tubs to enjoy.

I have fond memories of visiting Takhini Hotsprings and hiking out to cabins as a kid, so it is wonderful to have a chance to share these experiences with my daughters.
The twins and Anna have really grown up in the three years we have been hiking out to Tolovana, and they now hike along like little champions, playing lots of games, enjoying snacks, and generally having a great time.

This year’s hike was a bit earlier than usual, making for some muddy hiking. The sun was nice though, and we enjoyed the warmer temperatures.

There were some mud related moments of sadness as little people slipped and fell, lost boots in the sticky mud, or had muddy splash downs, but these were (thankfully) short.

Besides a bit of mud the hike in was great. The weather was so nice the little hikers didn’t even want to stop at the “marshmallow” , an old water tank converted into a shelter, and kept right on trucking.

Blueberry season was long gone, but the cranberries were out in force.

We made it to the hotsprings with enough time for the little hikers to enjoy a short soak before dinner. The bigger hikers all enjoyed longer soaks after dinner. The next day was wonderfully sunny, and the crew spent it mellowing out enjoying life.

After two days of sun, our final day arrived a bit cooler, with ice on the puddles. Everyone had a good hike out, although the little hikers impressed some disbelieving folks on our hike out. “You guys have a fourwheeler cached somewhere up here, right” .

Everyone made it out, some powered by gummies..

And some with their inner rockstar.

A huge thanks to everyone who joined us for this trip, your company makes these trips the wonderful experiences they are. I hope that this family tradition continues, here’s to fall hikes in the sun, the wind, and the snow!

Checking out the Fairbanks Circle Trail..

Friday, September 14th, 2012

A long time ago, before the Steese Highway came along, folks would travel from Fairbanks to Circle using a trail that went from Clearly Summit to Central that was called, surprisingly enough, the Fairbanks Circle trail. I had heard various stories about the trail, and and it had been on my list of things to checkout for several years now. I had been told that two locals, possibly the legendary “hell” bikers Roman Dial and Jon Underwood, had biked it from 12 mile summit to clearly summit, which is somewhere around 50 miles, and rumor has it took them over 24 hours. So, with a day free I decided to go check it out and see what it was like. I had hopes it might have potential for some off road bike touring, but either way I was interested in checking it out and crossing it off the list of trails I had been meaning to explore.

The area I explored was a mix of ATV trail double track..

and old mining roads.

The views were pretty nice though.

In some places there were several options, all seemingly heading in the same general direction. For the most part they seemed to join up again, and occasionally I bumped into mile markers marking the “official” trail.

On some of the ridges just before I turned around there were survey stakes that looked like they were marking a trail of some sort.

Though the trail was pretty marginal in this section for biking at least. I ended up walking down one of the hills as the trail dropped off very sharply and I couldn’t see a section of it. It turned out to not be too big of a deal, but walking is not the end of the world (just my dignity).

The next climb was pretty steep though..

So I took a trail leading off to the side, and was soon back on mining roads again. I pressed on a bit further, then turned around.

It definitely seems like there is some nice bike powered exploring to be done here, and now I really want to bike the entire route. This is definitely on the short list for next year.

More photos can be found here and a map here.

A soggy saturday..

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

The twins, Nancy, and I had a overnight trip planned, but things didn’t work out as we intended. We arrived at the trail head to wind, poring rain, and temperatures in the lower 40 – not the best weather for the ten mile hike above tree line we had planned. Instead we decided to make a day hike of it, and explored the area around the trail head.

The fall colors were out in force, making for some beautiful but wet hiking.

We spent several wet hours the wet and splashing around on the trails and near by hill sides.

The twins enjoyed snacks, and were excited to be introduced to Mike and Ikes. They did take a pass on my last minute gas station purchase, a “Uncle Al’s Stage Plank” . There was lots of passing of snacks while walking, to keep the little legs moving…

We spent a bit of time exploring before heading back..

The twins found a nice kid sized cave that they could walk around inside, much to their excitement. It was much to small for the adults, which I think added to their enjoyment. Molly made a point to tell me that it was much warmer in the cave, out of the wind and rain.


Not the trip we had planned, but fun none the less.