Weekend Getaway

Posted by lwpetersen | March 15, 2014 | travel alaska

It’s been a really long time since Kate and I have had a moment to ourselves. Between school, work, schoolwork, field work, travel, trying to keep a clean dry cabin, and just being exhausted, it’s been hard to find time when our schedules come together to give us a break. Except for a couple of day trips with the dog, it’s been nearly two years since we’ve had anything resembling a “vacation”. So, in February we just decided to take a weekend and say “to hell” with chores. We booked a room at the Lodge at Black Rapids and made a winter drive down the Rich.

Pit stop in the wind.
Stopping along the Tanana River to get out and experience the 60 mph, snow-blasting headwind we’ve been driving against.

Wind blowing snow across the frozen Tanana River.
Wind-blown snow scouring the Tanana River

Once we arrived at the lodge we took the dog for a walk on the trails nearby. The trees did a good job at blocking the wind and the air felt really warm making for a pleasant evening stroll in the hills.

The peaks to the west of the Jarvis Glacier and behind the Lodge at Black Rapids to the east of the Richardson Highway. It's a pretty dismal winter for snow, but a beautiful, very windy day for hiking.

Looking over the Delta River shortly before sunset.
Evening light over the Delta River Valley.

We had a really nice dinner at the lodge. Home cooked pork chops with veggies and mashed potatoes, soup, salad, and a cookie; and we cooked none of it! Then we cleaned up none of it! Oh, and a shower – there’s a shower, right in our room. A toilet! An inside toilet!

I think that four years in a dry cabin have made us fairly easy to please. It’s really the little things that matter . . . and running water.

We awoke in the morning to some gorgeous morning light. I’m not sure if it’s more exciting that we were able to sleep in until it was actually getting light out, or because it’s starting to get light out earlier than 9 or 10 am.

Looking down across the Black Rapids airstrip and the Richardson Highway from the lodge.

Shortly before the first light hit the peaks to the east.
Looking over the frozen Delta River and up the Black Rapids Glacier before the first light hits the peaks.

The moon about to set over the mountains to the south.
Nice moon to the south

Before heading home I wanted to take Moose for a power walk up the hill. He’s become quite the climber and he loves to run up hills. Not bad for a big dog with no femoral heads on his back hips! We got some great views of the Alaska Range to the west, but there’s a severe lack of snow in the mountains for this time of year. Some climber’s recently reported bare ice on the Black Rapids Glacier 12 miles up it. That’s crazy. It made for some easy walking though, with no skis or snowshoes necessary.

The beautiful Alaska Range over the Delta River Valley. Except, somebody took all of our snow! I'm looking at you, east coast . . . I'm looking at you. This is not normal snow cover for February in the mountains of the Alaska interior. I went for a hike, with no skis or snowshoes, up a mountain, with no hat or gloves on, in February. It was like just another day taking the dog for a walk.

It was a lovely weekend away, I only wish we could have stayed longer. We will definitely be taking another quick trip like this soon.

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