A cool day and quite buggy when I went to North Pass Lake west of Nuk Tessli, and the meadows above it for the first time. We had a large party of 10 people, many of them teenagers, and 3 guides. The quicker ones soon forged ahead.
Doron took us to the trailhead by boat and we walked up beside Beach Creek. One-sided pyrolas enjoyed the rocks along the trail.
Paintbrushes were noticeably scarce, but valerian made a good show. The meadows I was heading for show in green patches on the ridge behind.
There were also plenty of white bog orchids.
Savannah sparrows “chipped” at us constantly, warning their babies of monsters.
The trail goes along the edge of North Pass Lake. Leather-leafed saxifrage seeds made a nice contrast with the grey, windy water.
We left the lake by one of the few patches of lupins still blooming (Normally they are prime at this time of year.)
Up a little creek (now dry) was a nice group of alpine speedwell.
We had a lunch break up top, but it was very buggy.
Valerian was common up here as well
And in a hollow, where the snow must have lain late, was one tiny patch of lupins and paintbrush together. What a contrast to my hike at the same time in this area last year.
Harry looks cute wherever he is.
On the way down we encountered a mother barrow’s goldeneye with 7 half-grown young.
On the second hike I made up to north pass lake I had only two people to worry about, and they were keen naturalists, so we enjoyed everything, bugs, mushrooms, salamanders, birds and flowers. We took a different route to the lake, going up a little-used trail to what I call Panorama Meadow.
We hiked via the Lookout where there are a number of sculptural trees. This whitebark pine has made three attempts to grow and, courtesy of a strip of bark that spirals around the trunk, it is still alive.
The upturned whitebark roots often have a pinkish cast
One hollow tree has the remains of intricate carpenter ant galleries in it.
But most dramatic of all is the monster tree. A burned out snag, it has stood for probably well over 100 years.
A view inside.
It was another stormy, windy day. Here is the view of the cabin area from the Lookout.
But the high point of this hike was as we were coming home. First, all we saw were horns like sticks poking above the vegetation of a wet area.
Then up reared a magnificent bull moose.
If you look closely, you can see the dampness on his fur almost to the top of his back. He had been standing in a tiny hole full of water, eating the roots of water plants.