Seward/Hope area Mountainbiking
I have lived in AK all my life (except for college and a few years in San Fran), and have never mountain biked in the Seward and Hope area.
Can someone give me a little overview of say the 2 best trails respectively?
I got out of biking a little last year as I got consumed with bikes with a motor on them :-)
But I just picked up a new Carbon Epic Marathon and I am putting some miles on it this year!
In Hope the best rail is the Resrection trail from hope to Cooper Landing, Another trail that is ok is Gull Rock trail.
In seward there is the Lost Lake trail. Can also do Johnson Pass
Although I haven't ridden it myself, I heard that the recently upgraded Historic Iditarod Trail on the north side of the Seward Highway between Seward and Primrose (upper trailhead for Lost Lake and just south of Snow River) is a great trail. You can ride a loop, up the Iditarod Trail and back on Lost Lake for a long day. Here is a link to another forum where there is a good discussion on the route for this: http://akspokes.com/forum/showthread...light=iditarod
Resurrection would definitely be the best in Hope. Gull Rock is a fun ride, but better as a hiking trail due to it being fairly technical in places that takes a lot of fun out of it if you are not a good technical rider. The other end of Resurrection is in Cooper Landing, so you can go all the way across or just do an out and back. Also can connect with Devil's Pass in the middle and head out to the Seward Highway.
Lots of other information to be had at www.akspokes.com as far as good ride options all over the state.
Have you considered Johnson Pass?
I noticed that Russ mentioned Johnson Pass. I've ridden Johnson pass from Granite Creek campground (near Turnagain Pass) to Trail Lake (just outside of Seward)
It took 8 or 9 hours. I'm not sure how far it was, but it was over 20 miles I think. Starting from the Turnagain end, it's pretty steep for a while. Then you go over the summit by Johnson Lake, and it was a gentle down hill for the last two thirds of the trip.
We did it in Late June I believe so all the snow was gone. Beware of the plants lining the trail. They are wild cows parsnip, and they cause you some grief as I learned the hard way. You'll want long legged pants going through these things. They cause blisters on your skin from the little needles. (I think they are different than nettles, but I'm no botanist)
Some of the trail is skinny enough that the plants were hard to avoid. Other parts were quite wide so it was easy to avoid them.
Of course doing a trip like Johnson Pass is like taking a canoe trip. You have to arrange drop off and pick up with some other person.
It would be wise to look up some info on those Wild Parsnip plants prior to riding in the back country if that's the kind of trip you have in mind. Those things cause some pain!
That irritation you get from the cow parsnip is along the lines of poison oak, but not as contageous. It won't spread much if at all, but it won't go away if you scratch it at all. It is not from the needles, but rather from the juices in the plant. They are considered "photoreactive", in other words, it reacts when exposed to ultraviolet light (sun or even just bright daylight on a slightly cloudy day). A good approach to avoid problems is to wear long sleeves or pants. Another trick if it is a warm day and you want to go short, put on a good layer of sunblock on any exposed skin. This will help keep the juices from the plant from coming in direct contact with your skin. If you do contact it, rinse of quickly.
Originally Posted by RMK
Keep in mind that some people have little or no reaction to this. I plowed through it for years with no problem, then all of a sudden I couldn't get near it without breaking out from it.
The Dreaded Parsnip
Thanks Skier for adding the details. I found out that it was activated by the sun, and caused by the toxin, after the fact. I didn't know that the heck I had. lol I would liken the thing to chemical burns.
I went bombing through those things, and about two days later the blisters appeared. Yikes. It was a painful lesson. On future treks, I made sure I had long leggings when anywhere near those things.
What about nettles? Is that something entirely different. I know the devil's club spikes are painful enough. I just try dodging all of it.
I haven't seen nettles up here, but that doesn't mean they aren't up here. I have ran into them, literally, in Washington, and they are annoying, but nothing on the scale of cow parsnip at least for me. I react badly to the parsnip now that I have become sensitive to it. The Devil's Club is definitely something to avoid just because of the physical pain. I don't think there is any lasting effects from it other than the scratches. From a distance, it is hard to tell the difference between the Devil's Club and Cow Parsnip. When you get close, you can see that the Devil's Club has the spines and the Cow Parsnip does not. The stems actually look a lot like celery (it is commonly referred to as wild celery because of this).
Originally Posted by RMK
You will run into the Cow Parsnip all over south central Alaska. Kincaid Park has a lot of it, less is found around Hillside. The Kenai Peninsula (Resurrection Pass, Johnson Pass, etc...) has more.
Thanks for the great web site link, wish I had that earlier lots of good info and pictures.
Johnson Pass trail is on my radar for next summer.
I'd like to mountain bike Johnson Pass trail then cross over to Carter Lake trail. Take out my packraft and strap the bike to it and wind paddle across Crescent Lake. Bike down Crescent Trail and drop the bike at a vehicle cause I won't be using it after that. Take the packraft down Quartz Creek, wind paddle Kenai Lake to Kenai River, float the Kenai to the canyon, break the packraft down and hike the Kenai River Trail to Skilak. Wind paddle Skilak to the Kenai River again and float out to Cook Inlet. Right now its bike, sail, float, hike dream....but maybe I can make it happen.