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Thread: Russian Lakes trail

  1. #1
    Member tustumena_lake's Avatar
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    Default Russian Lakes trail

    I've got a solo trip planned up Russian Lakes trail this month and it crossed my mind there's no reason to hog the forest service cabins I've got rented along the way to just myself. That seems greedy. If you and yours find yourself on the trail you're welcome to stay with me. I'm used to staying in cabins with strangers. These places sleep 8. So anyway its an open invite, I've got...

    the Barber cabin the night of June 20
    the Aspen Flats cabin the night of June 21
    the Upper Russian Lakes cabin the night of June 22

    Last year my daughter and I went up early in May to the Barber cabin for a few days. But she'll be back at work during this trip otherwise she'd jump on it.

    rlfrozen.JPGrlcabin.JPG

  2. #2

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    How far between cabins........?

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    Member tustumena_lake's Avatar
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    Its an easy walk AGL4now, put it on your calendar. Not much elevation gain.

    From the Russian River trailhead...
    3.3 miles to the Barber, then another 5.7 to Aspen Flats, then another 3 to Upper Russian Lake. Now that ain't much per day, but I wanted to stay in all the cabins along the way so thats one of the reasons I picked the dates. The other reason is I wanted to spend some time off trail inbetween them looking around. If I see the faintest path off the main trail, I'd like to go down it and check it out. And, all 3 places should provide some fishing time.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by tustumena_lake View Post
    Its an easy walk AGL4now, put it on your calendar. Not much elevation gain.

    From the Russian River trailhead...
    3.3 miles to the Barber, then another 5.7 to Aspen Flats, then another 3 to Upper Russian Lake. Now that ain't much per day, but I wanted to stay in all the cabins along the way so thats one of the reasons I picked the dates. The other reason is I wanted to spend some time off trail inbetween them looking around. If I see the faintest path off the main trail, I'd like to go down it and check it out. And, all 3 places should provide some fishing time.
    OK, I am enrolled. I was fearful it was 20 miles between cabins. We can have some good history discussions.

  5. #5
    Member tustumena_lake's Avatar
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    I really want to spend some time around Upper Russian Lake and go check out the old Elwell place on the far side. Luke and Mamie Elwell built a lodge there back in the 1940's. Luke was a big game guide that worked out of that area and Resurrection Pass and came to Alaska in 1922. Mamie was a writer for early Alaskan articles and went by the pen name of Niska, as I recall. She was known for having an awesome garden and pet bear cubs around the lodge.

    And I have an old photograph that one of the Towle family members from early Cooper Landing took that shows a cabin built on the outlet of the lake. Now, no maps show that place so its probably been burned down for way over a half century...but I'm gonna go look anyway.

    But before that this trail was the path of the earliest inhabitants of the central Kenai Peninsula with settlements along the Russian River dating back centuries. And no doubt the Russians that occupied Resurrection Bay shipyard since 1794 traveled this same route.

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    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    OK, I am enrolled. I was fearful it was 20 miles between cabins. We can have some good history discussions.
    Man, someone should go along just to chronicle those discussions. Sounds like a great time.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

  7. #7
    Member tustumena_lake's Avatar
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    Get your backpack ready AlaskaHippie.

    "The Russian River settlement is where Dena'ina ancestors gathered for the winters after a season of fishing, hunting and gathering along Kahtnu, the Kenai River. The site is located on the south shore of the river, and is comprised of Eskimo and Indian house pits, storage caches and fire-cracked rock middens used by inhabitants thousands of years ago. The area is historically unique due to the two distinct cultures represented at the site as well as the intensity of the prehistoric occupation.

    Two separate cultures, the Riverine Kachemak and the Dena'ina Athabascan, made their winter camps in this area. The Kachemak people were hunters and fishermen who originated from Kodiak Island, the Alaska Peninsula and Kachemak Bay. They were a coastally adapted people who began to harvest the Kenai Peninsula’s rich subsistence environment between 3,000 and 1,000 years ago. Dena'ina Athabascans—originally interior Alaskan big game hunters—occupied the Peninsula around 1,000 AD and also adopted an economy that was based around the riverine environment."

    Origin of name: Russian River
    Local name reported in 1904 by Moffit (1906, pl. 2), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
    Variant Name Chunuk'tnu by the Dena’ina
    Origin of name: Lower Russian Lake
    Local name published by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) (Martin and others, 1915, pl. 2).
    Origin of name: Upper Russian Lake
    Local name published by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) (Martin and others, 1915, pl. 2).
    Origin of name: Resurrection River
    Local name reported in 1904 by Moffit (1906, pl. 2), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

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    Member Waterlover's Avatar
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    This sounds like a fun hike. Not too threatening and lots of fun.

    Mulling it over.....

    Thanks for the open invite.

    I have stayed in many hostels so am familiar with strangers snoring and other bodily sounds during the night. Makes for some great conversations with strangers sharing housing and such.

    Cool!
    Thanks,
    FF
    "The Nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.
    In memory of our troops...defenders of our freedom."

  9. #9
    Member tustumena_lake's Avatar
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    Thats great. I hope you can make it FF. Its pretty short distances hiking so its more like goofing off for a few days just enjoying the outdoors. There is a rowboat at the lakes that comes with the cabins for cruising around the water and photographing the birds. The mountainsides will be nice and green.

    rlduck.JPGrlmountains.JPG

  10. #10

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    As well as I can figure this will be my very first overnight trail hike in more than 40 years. I just avoid trails, do some day trip mountain biking on Crescent and Mills Creek trails, I have never even done Resurrection Creek Trail and I live next to the trail. Feel free to PM any advise.

  11. #11
    Member tustumena_lake's Avatar
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    Crescent Lake is a nice trip I mountain biked up there last summer and stayed for a few days.

    cl8.JPGcl21.JPG

    I hiked in with my daughter one year when she was about ten years old. She flat gave out on me on the trail a couple miles from Crescent lake and it took all the coaxing I could do to get her to go that last few miles. I had to keep using the "its just around the corner" parental trick. She was ready to lay down in the trail. But she made it.

  12. #12

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    Well tustumena, looks like I will NOT be able to go. The well driller is coming that week, sadly he is not sure which days that week. Plus some family just decided that they would be in Alaska that week, and stopping by on Tuesday the 21'st on the way to Homer. Not that I will miss the hike, but I was looking forward to sitting around the fire pit and learning history. Sorry.

  13. #13
    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    Default 2009 Pics

    Upper Russian cabin - hard to beat the views and the cabin.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default 2099 Pics

    Very bike-able trail as well.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  15. #15
    Member Waterlover's Avatar
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    Hey Tustamena..... I will not be able to go on the hike. Found out yesterday that I will be having surgery on that day.

    .....unless you want one loopy lady coming along...I will have to take a rain check.....hoping there will be other offers in the future.

    Thanks so much for the kind invite.

    Bummer. :-(
    FF
    "The Nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.
    In memory of our troops...defenders of our freedom."

  16. #16
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Boy, I'd love to accompany you Tustumena. But alas I too have a business engagement in Moose Pass on the 21st for the solstice.
    Where do you plan on coming out, or will you backtrack?

  17. #17
    Member tustumena_lake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fishin Farmgirl View Post
    Hey Tustamena..... I will not be able to go on the hike. Found out yesterday that I will be having surgery on that day......unless you want one loopy lady coming along...I will have to take a rain check.....hoping there will be other offers in the future.
    Thanks so much for the kind invite.
    Bummer. :-(
    FF
    I hope your surgery goes well for you FF. Heal up quick, Alaska summers go way too fast. Be sure to do your physical therapy because it will put you on the road to recovery quicker. Best regards, t_l

    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    Boy, I'd love to accompany you Tustumena. But alas I too have a business engagement in Moose Pass on the 21st for the solstice. Where do you plan on coming out, or will you backtrack?
    No backtracking for my part. After upper russian lake I will probably cross over and take the river down to seward. at least thats the plan.

  18. #18
    Thewolfwatching
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    Best wishes on a swift recovery.. ^..^
    There will be offers in the future hon - stay strong Linda...

    Quote Originally Posted by Fishin Farmgirl View Post
    Hey Tustamena..... I will not be able to go on the hike. Found out yesterday that I will be having surgery on that day.

    .....unless you want one loopy lady coming along...I will have to take a rain check.....hoping there will be other offers in the future.

    Thanks so much for the kind invite.

    Bummer. :-(
    FF

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