Koktoya and The Tanainas - 8/23/2017
Once again, a typical late summer forecast - showers and rain. Hmm. What to do? Bag some front range 5000ers is what!
|My typical transition season gear. |
I had the ambitious goal of heading up Near Point, jogging back toward Koktoya, and following the connecting ridges to Temptation, East and West Tanaina. All of which had eluded me until this point. At 6:18AM, I was at Prospect and ready to roll, rain or shine.
|Civic - AKA adventure MACHINE|
I jogged to the Near Point/Wolverine intersection, then proceeded to slip and slide my way up to the top, getting plenty wet in the process. It wasn't raining though, just morning dew, and the temperature was surprisingly mild.
|Not looking too bad for a day that was supposed to rain, eh?|
|That nice looking trail dries up for a while... Trust me.|
|Looking back toward Anchorage|
As I began descending the back side of Near Point toward the Campbell north fork, I recalled that this trail becomes difficult to pick up, especially at first. This time was no different! The first few miles were touch and go - trying to figure out which side of the creek to be on! Luckily, as you get closer to Mt Elliot and Long Lake, the trail is much more distinct and pleasant.
|This makes me thirsty|
The weather was in fact turning more pleasant! Looking south, I was surprised to see some slivers of sun above Mt Elliot, and fairly clear skies towards Anchorage. All the same, Williwaw was certainly still in the clouds, and so was Koktoya.
My plan for ascending Koktoya was to head up the mellow grass slopes past Long Lake, until I hit the south ridge. This turned out to be a pretty decent plan, until I went into the reduced visibility of the clouds and spent a while navigating several manky gullies. Definitely wasted some time in these! The moss was quite unpleasant.
Finally though, I reached the summit of Koktoya! Rather ominously, there was a large bone up here...
|Near the summit of Koktoya|
|Note the bone on the summit. WTF|
After spending a few minutes at the summit, I started following the ridge west and through the clouds. I got several peeks at the Williwaw lakes below, and used them to keep myself going in the right direction. The ridge meandered downward, finally coming out of the clouds and allowing me to see what was ahead.
|The lakes were peaking through the clouds|
|Screw that, I'm going left.|
It looked like slow going! I dropped south off the ridge for a while, reasoning that gaining the elevation back would be better than the alternative of staying on the top and scrambling.
Eventually I went back into the clouds, and reached the summit of East Tanaina. From here, I had a decision: do I go north, and to Temptation, or keep going west and the summit of West Tanaina?
Unfortunately, the long approach to Eagle Peak last week really flared up my IT band, and it was already hurting considerably from another long day. I decided I didn't feel like further gimping myself and opted to keep going west.
|Me getting da rocks out|
|Nice ridge now!|
|Best ridge ever in fact|
|Summit Circle of East Tanaina!|
The ridge became considerably more mellow, and in no time, I was at the summit of West Tanaina!
|Me having a nice walk|
|Summit of West Tanaina|
|Me walking ONCE AGAIN|
I toyed with the idea of also trying to link up Tikishla, but thought the better of it and began descending.
And just in time!
Looking toward Anchorage, I saw curtains of rain both to the west and the south, and there were clouds forming below. I went down as fast as my knee would let me, and began heading back toward Near Point.
|Looks like rain to me|
|Fog, aka The Nothing|
As I got close, the low clouds finally rolled in and visibility got downright terrible. I trended up and forward, making it to Near Point without much difficulty. Saw several people picking blueberries, and indeed - the blueberries were EVERYWHERE!
|Green and white|
|I was just down in that|
|Hey, that doesn't look so bad anymore|
The rain remained light until I got to the car, which I was thankful for.
|Moisture is the essence of wetness #Zoolander|
|Civic still looking good.|
Overall, it was a great day out - I stayed dry the whole time (well, except my feet) and knocked three peaks off my front range list!! Awesome! Temptation - I'm coming for you.
Also, the word of the day was definitely MANKY. I couldn't stop saying it to myself :\
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