July 29th, last hike in Kenai

Mark and Maria’s friend Dale has survived a genuine grizzly bear attack and has lived in Alaska all his life, so they enlisted him to take us on a hike of “Slaughter Gulch,” a nice trail which is not mentioned in any of the hiking guides. The path, which is not in a gulch at all, quickly climbs to above the treeline with almost continuous views of the Kenai River at Cooper Landing. Dale didn’t know what gave the trail such a morbid name….but it’s Alaska, we could let our imaginations run wild.

Here’s what these mountains look like from the top—like the path could wander over one peak, then the next, then the next, meandering over the soft low vegetation, inviting you to explore the next mountain.

Milo was here at the top of Slaughter Gulch too, sleeping in the warmth of the backpack. We asked Dale, the friend who hiked with us, what happened to give the mountain such a morbid name, but he didn’t know the history.

What a view these flowers have! And what a chilly wind!

I wish I knew the names of all these short little alpine plants. You don’t notice their intricacy until you take the time to kneel down and stick your face up close to them.

Mark and Maria sweated their way down Slaughter Gulch. Both are afraid of heights and this path skittered along the steep edge of the mountain.

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