Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Weekend Hiking - Dan Moller Trail

We went on several longish hikes this weekend. The weather was pretty decent and the temps were in the 50s. We did have rain almost everyday but we just put extra layers on and went out anyway. We've been wanting to do the Dan Moller Trail on Douglas (GoogleMap - look for Dan Moller ) for quite awhile now–its one in the book that we haven't attempted. In the mid 30s-50s people used to drag their skis up here and go downhill skiing. Here's a pretty good history of this area. I'm sure that the meadows were great for that. At one time there was even a tow rope set up and maybe a snow cat that took people up there. This is all before Eaglecrest was built.

So this trailhead is up Cordova Street in the Blueberry Hills area on Douglas Island. It climbs about 1600 feet. Most of the trail is on boardwalk. If the boardwalk is wet, going uphill on boardwalk isn't so bad but coming back down is kinda scary because its so slick. I made a note in my trail book to take the yak traks even in the summer! I fell a couple of times - right on my butt! Luckily it was on the way back down and I wasn't carrying the chips - they would have been crushed.

Some boardwalk:

and more boardwalk:

and more steps and boardwalk. If you want a stairmaster workout don't spend money on a gym pass - do this trail. Both Tim and I had to switch leading feet several times going up these stairs or one leg's calf would have been in agony!

The trail is about 3 miles to the cabin. The cabin had a monitor stove and a woodstove but you would have to bring your own wood. Sorry I didn't get any of the pictures of the cabin or the view from the deck – we were pretty tired from the stairclimbing and then when we started back down it started to pour and I didn't want to get my camera out.

The alpine foliage is starting to turn fall colors. One thing about fall down here is that at sea level, besides the majority of trees being coniferous and without leaves, the change in season is not very dramatic. Lots of people, as well as the City and Borough of Juneau, have planted japanese maples and other trees that have lovely fall colored leaves, but most of the natural landscape is pretty green and dark brown. Any alders or cottonwood around will start to show their yellow leaves but then it rains so it all turns brown and washed out. So the alpine areas is where the real color change happens.

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