Posts Tagged ‘windy creek’

And Now Winter!

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019

I have done a few overnight trips so far this year, all to cabins in the White Mountain NRA. I love the Whites – it is nearby, has great trails, and a wonderful cabin system. So when I received a last minute invitation to Windy Gap cabin I jumped at the offer. I was even more excited after calling BLM to see if they had any information on the trail conditions to learn they had just broken it out. Hurrah!

Windy Gap cabin is 30 miles from the Colorado Creek trail head I came in on, and the ride in was scenic, but a bit slow.

Early winter Windy Gap Early winter Windy Gap Early winter Windy Gap

There were tons of caribou tracks and more wolf tracks than I think I had seen in my entire life so far. It is great to see such a healthy ecosystem. Near Beaver creek I saw a small herd of caribou who took off soon after seeing us.. fortunately Eddy the dog didn’t chase them.

Early winter Windy Gap Early winter Windy Gap Early winter Windy Gap Early winter Windy Gap Early winter Windy Gap Early winter Windy Gap

It was much colder than I expected , the forecast was for a high of 16f, and a low near zero. It turned out more like a low of -20f, and a high of zero, with a few sections of brisk wind. I wasn’t dressed quite warm enough, but I survived, and it was a good wake-up to winter riding conditions.

Early winter Windy Gap

The trail was mostly in very good shape. The section from wolf run cabin to windy gap had been broken out just a few days before, and it was in great shape for biking.

Near the cabin the only crossing of Fossil Creek was a bit iffy, with shelf ice hanging a foot or so above the creek, which was maybe a foot to a foot and a half deep. No big deal on skis or a bike, but it could be an issue for a snowmachine, as it could be hard to get it the front out to make it out of the creek if it goes in…

Early winter Windy Gap

The evening in the cabin was pretty mellow. The host arrived on skis a few hours after I did, but took only slightly longer than me to get in. On skis this was an achievement as the conditions were less than ideal for skiing – hardcore!

In the morning we headed out, enjoying the nice walk up the hill, then the long downhill to Wolf Run cabin..

Early winter Windy Gap Early winter Windy Gap Early winter Windy Gap Early winter Windy Gap

There was a few miles of tussocks and low snow cover outside Wolf Run cabin. Maybe not the best skiing, but it was fine for biking. Though I was a bit worried about getting a flat..

Early winter Windy Gap

The moon was amazing!

Early winter Windy Gap Early winter Windy Gap

Thanks for reading, I hope everyone is enjoying winter!

Splashy fun on Windy Creek

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Two days after returning from Ireland I was invited out for a day trip on Windy Creek by Tom and Marsh. Windy Creek is a nice day packrafting trip, with a 5 mile or so hike and a 10 mile or so float, two thirds of which is on Windy Creek. Windy Creek is a fairly low volume creek with lots of class II fun – lots of dodging boulders and a couple of smallish drops. Packrafters had been talking about the fun floating on Windy Creek on the Alpacka forum and on various blogs, and so I was quite eager to join in the fun.

The trip starts in Cantwell, near the airstrip by the railroad tracks. From there we followed a well developed trail marked by a huge number of orange “RS2477” markers put in by the National Park Service. The fall colors where out and it was very scenic.

After a mile or so we turned off the main trail (Tom and Marsh had done this before and said the main trail quickly turned into a huge mud fest) and took a side trail down to Windy Creek.

Once we reached Windy Creek we walked up stream on a mix of human and game trails.

We skirted above one large rock face and where rewarded by some great views up Windy Creek and wonderful views of the surrounding hillside.

The hiking was pretty spectacular, with good views and not a lot of brush. This hike really made me want to do the classic hike up Windy Creek to Sanctuary River hike into the park.

After about 2 hours or so we hit our put in spot, near a National Park Service patrol cabin. Alas, the cabin is not for the use of the public, but is used by the parks winter rangers while on patrol.

It has the classic old school cabin bear proofing – window shutters and a outside door covered with nails.

After a quick lunch we put in and the floating began. All the float on Windy Creek was quite fun – nothing all that hard but lots of little rapids for playing around in.

Eventually Windy Creek dumps into the Jack River and the float turned into a very mellow “bob along” float. The Jack was very flat and uneventful. After a very relaxing hour or so on the jack we hit the Nenana and took out. I biked back to the start of our hike while Marsh and Tom picked berries.

All and all quite a fun day trip with a lot of Class II bouncing to practice on.