Welcoming in Spring 2016

April 6, 2016 at 2:55 pm (Alaska, Travel)

After a long, dark winter, it’s somewhat disheartening when the official start of spring is followed by two weeks of rain and snow.  But after a bit of a false start, we are finally leaving winter behind us and enjoying days that have somehow lengthened to over 12 hours of daylight (hello sun!) without us even noticing.

A warm (i.e. >40degF), sunny morning calls for a trip out to Westchester lagoon to begin recharging depleted vitamin D stores.  In winter, the lagoon freezes over completely to become an outdoor skate rink.  Today, retreating ice and fuzzy catkins adorning the lakeside pussy willows are clear signs of warmer weather to come.

Coastal Trail - Westchester

Coastal Trail - Westchester 2

Coastal Trail - Pussy Willow

From here, we hop on to the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.  Stretching 11 miles in full from Kincaid Chalet in the south, up to downtown Anchorage, this portion from the lagoon is a 1.5 mile walk into the city.  It’s a leisurely stroll that finishes up conveniently close to Snow City Cafe for mochas and (lunch-sized) sticky buns, and we share the popular route with runners, riders and dogs, plus one particularly manic baby pug.

Coastal Trail - Pug

 

Starting out from Westchester means we miss the woodlands further south past Earthquake Park, but it’s likely still quite bare this early in the season; a walk best saved for summer and autumn.  However, as the name suggests, you’re guaranteed spectacular coastal vistas from any point along the trail; we’re treated to a clear view of still snowy-white Denali and the Sleeping Lady across the inlet, with some interesting topography of rivulets and sloughing channels in the expansive, melting mudflats skirting the coast.  The incredible scenery never ceases to amaze and I expect it’s only going to get better as summer nears, with some proper wildlife encounters still to come, no doubt.

Coastal Trail - Clouds

Coastal Trail - Mountains

Coastal Trail - Mudflats

Coastal Trail - Inlet

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