Gradual trails offer an Rx for troublesome knees

I find low-angled trails that would still take me into the mountains. Here are some relatively easy trails for summer and fall hiking.

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Viewed in a single lifetime, changes to our landscape have been significant

I have seen some striking changes to our Alaska landscape. You need not achieve “geezer” status in age to notice the glacier rapid retreat.

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Wind strums South Fork’s Harp, turning Spring into Winter

The snow on the lower slopes of the mountain had been packed hard by previous hikers and made the hiking easy, but the southeast wind was bone-chilling. I started the climb about 12:30 p.m. on April 30th, thinking this would be a nice Spring jaunt and another chance to test out my left knee that was replaced last year. Harp Mountain had other plans. By the time I reached the first big hump, at about 2,500 feet, the wind was gusting to about 40 miles per hour (mph).

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Seeking out the sun in South Fork’s Hanging Valley

With less than ¼-inch of snow on the trail, clear skies and temperature in the mid-20s, it was pleasant as I turned left (east) out of South Fork Valley and ascended into Hanging Valley. It was early afternoon on October 19th of this year, and contrary to my personal calendar that denotes winter only beginning on November 1st, it truly felt like winter—especially when a sudden breeze chilled my face. The trail’s scant snow covering was undisturbed, except for the tiny footprints of voles, squirrels, small birds and occasionally, that of a coyote. Moving into Hanging Valley, I entered shade and felt the temperature drop quickly by at least five degrees.

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Ten Local Picturesque Hikes

If you haven’t done it already, it’s time to stretch the legs and get in some easy summer hikes to limber up and prepare for some of the harder ones.

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Windblown, South-Facing Slopes Offer Access To Chugach Ridges

Once on the bare ground, it was an easy ascent to the ridge at about 3,800 feet, where we worked around drifted snow to find a nice lunch spot.

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