Born in the spring with the Forget-me-nots

Monday, May 30, 2011

Nabesna Rd. Field work

I wanted to take a minute to tell you about a wonderful place I just was for some field work. I just got back from a week in the Wrangell-St Elais nation park and preserve. I stayed out on the Nabesna Rd. We were scouting out the area of some future field work and possibly classes.
park map
Nabesna Rd map

I stayed at a cabin off the road (we hiked back to it but it was under a mile, and then used a quad to get the rest of the stuff back). This cabin was AMAZING. That’s about the only way to describe it. Its summer so the sun doesn’t really set at civilized hours, so we didn’t need the lights. The cabin has a generator, propane fridge, and gas range. It’s a dry cabin (no water) so we brought our water in, in 5 gal. jugs. It is on a lake, and there is a small hill on the side. I spent the mornings on the side of the hill over looking the lake and cabin, drinking my coffee and feeling the vast emptiness of the tundra around me. Also there was a quad and one of the highlights of the trip was driving back over the "road" to the cabin (mostly puddles) feeling like a true Alaskan (it was raining) and then it started to hail! It was an amazing experienced! (and my first time driving a 4wheeler!)
That is something that is different from other areas I have camped. The tundra is a vast open space and it is sparsely inhabited by those that live there, animal and human. It just feels wide open and empty. A little light of energy here and there from a small mammal, bird or the insects, but other then that, it just feels vast. It’s a wonderful feeling, and I loved it!

We went hiking every day, up different stream valleys towards the mountains. The vistas were breathtaking! On the last day we did the hike we were there to do, the Skookum Volcano Trail. I highly recommend it! It starts winding though the forest and alders along the creek, then you cross the creek and either follow it up and around, or do what we did and just take off up the hill!
We hit one ridge, and decided to keep heading up. Once we got to one peak we found out it was a false peak and the same with the second. We decided not to continue on, and instead just sat there for a few minutes taking it all in. I had one of those “this is why I am a geologist” moments.

Photos on flickr