The town of Girdwood was originally founded as a supply camp for gold miners with claims along the creeks feeding Turnagain Arm. It was originally called “Glacier City” for the seven massive glaciers that rim the surrounding mountains.
|Seven Glaciers Restaurant|
Today Girdwood is a ski resort and the Hotel Alyeska is at it's center. Looking out our room window we cold see the tram taking people up to the mountain top to hike, ride mountain bikes down, or eat at the Seven Glaciers Restaurant at the top.
The resort was well landscaped and there were numerous flowers all around the outside of the hotel. I had a little time and took these two. The ski lift chairs had water filled blue plastic barrels in the seats to test the mechanisms before winter and the ski season. The yellow flower was in the sun and the building wall behind it was in deep shade. Really makes the flower stand out against the black background.
There are several hiking trails and we took the Winner Creek trail.
|Winner Creek Trail|
At about 2 miles we reached Winner Creek where this very substantial, yet broken, bridge crossed the creek. We found that the bridge is there for snowcat drivers to cross in the winter and is not the trail crossing. That's me in the red jacket taking the photo below.
|Winner Creek from Snow Cat Bridge|
|Rock in the Creek|
The trail joins or is part of the Iditarod National Historic Trail, which commemorates a 2,300-mile system of winter trails that first connected ancient Alaska Native villages. The Iditarod trail opened up Alaska for the last great American gold rush, and now plays a vital role for travel and recreation in modern day Alaska.
Over 1,500 miles of the historic winter trail system are open today for public use across state and federal lands. The trail is best known today for its annual Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Race participants and their teams of dogs spend up to 15 days mushing 1,000 miles from Anchorage to Nome.
|Iditarod National Historic Trail|
At about 3 miles we reached the Winner Creek Hand Tram. Described as a "very Alaskan way to cross a creek", the tram is basically a metal cage suspended by steel cables across the creek. One or two people can pull themselves across high above the creek. We went across and back. Pulling is harder than it looks.
|Winner Creek Hand Tram|
|Check out our shadow|
This was an easy enjoyable hike and I recommend it. Most anyone can make it to the hand tram. The trail continues on to the Crow Creek Mine Road. We visited the Crow Creek mine later in the day. More about that in the next post.