Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Byer's Lake trail, or What To Do On Your Day Off

I had Monday off of work, so my husband and I decided to go hiking. The weather website said it was raining in Turnagain Arm, and raining in Palmer, but it looked pretty clear heading north, so after some searching online, we decided to try the Byer's Lake trail.

This trail is at approximately milepost 147 of the Parks Highway, on the east side of the road. It starts at the Byer's Lake campground and circles the lake in a complete loop, about 5 miles in length. 

Since we hadn't hiked this trail before, and the weather looked iffy, we DEET'ed ourselves up, stuffed hoodies and rain jackets into our Camelbaks, and strapped on bear protection. Mine was .45 caliber, and his was .44 Magnum, our standard bear repellent. And off we went.

This was a great little trail. Well maintained but not too smooth. There was a isolated little camping area on the far side of the lake with fire rings and elevated wooden tent sites. There were simply amazing views of Denali:

I love that mountain. 

There is an old falling down log cabin on the side of the trail that was pretty picturesque:

There are also two bridges to cross, one over the inlet stream, and one over the outlet stream. The one over the inlet stream is suspended on cables, and very swingy and springy. It is also fairly decrepit and leans pretty far to the right, so if the person crossing with you bounces (that would be my dear, sweet husband), you feel like you are at risk of sliding off into the water. 

The bridge over the outlet stream is on big rock pilings and is much more substantial and solid feeling. And it's quite pretty: 

All in all, it was a really nice hike. Very flat, with boardwalks over the most marshy areas. If the weather had been a little more stable (we did get rained on through the second half of the hike), and we had had more in the way of emergency supplies, we could have climbed up to the ridge and merged with a long trail there.

This is one we will probably do again and camp on the far side of the lake and hike the ridge. 

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