Wednesday, June 24, 2015

More Skoli hiking

June 21 - Father's Day - Skolai Pass - Very hazy day due to wildfires burning to the south.  Peaks are obscured at our breakfast of fried onion, scrambled egg, and grated potatoes but they appear later. Hard to tell forest smoke from incoming weather.  Hiked up towards Hole in the Wall glacier but eastward progress stopped by it's drainage river which was too exuberant for us to venture crossing.  Ate lunch on a rocky knob which had obviously been used by some root to dismantle prey as there was a scattering of bleached small mammal bones all about.  A ten was troubling a bald eagle this morning and we watched it drive the bigger bird first up the valley then down and out of the vast drainage. Photograph some killdeers near the river's edge, loud and   Bold. 

June 20- Skolai Pass- today we hike from our base camp in the Skolai pass to the toe of the Russel Glacier.  We have hiked east, following a series of ledges to a knoll free of the alders. Along the way we crossed numerous creeks, passing beneath one waterfall after another cascading over the steep rocky escarpment left exposed beneath the hanging glaciers clinging to the mountain tops.  Now at lunch there is a nice breeze blowing and no bugs pester us.  Plenty of fresh and not so fresh bear tracks and scat decorate the landscape, so we re calling out "Hey Bear!" And clicking our poles around each bend of our journey.  Looking back the way we came, we can see our camp proudly perched on it's knob 3 miles away. The vista is immense and we are quit sure we are the only human party in a range easily 40 miles in every direction - probably more. There is certainly no evidence of humans, no trails, no straight lines, no campfire rings ( we are well above tree line), and no sounds but the cascading water off the step benches above.

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