The approach hike climbs along Exit Glacier, a popular day hike in Kenai Fjords National Park (8 miles, 3000ft). We set out in the late afternoon, looking to spend the night at the icefield, then walk back in the morning.
When we neared the top, fog had set in
Ben checked out the emergency shelter, we had not found a place to camp yet
Over the hill from the shelter we found a decent campsite
Conditions looked promising when I woke at 4am, the fog from the night before had lifted and I saw the icefield for the first time.
Those far mountains in the center are about 20 miles away, the icefield continues another 30 miles beyond that.
Pioneer Ridge Trail
The Pioneer Ridge trail climbs above the Knik Glacier Valley with over 5000ft elevation gain (9 miles return).
The Williwaw Lakes hike can be done several ways. We took a spur trail called The Ballpark from the Glen Alps Trailhead to Williwaw and returned creekside along the traditional path.
We set up camp in a gully next to the lakes, the day with the most sunshine was also the day with the most wind.
There is a short walk to Portage Lake from the town of Whittier (4 miles return, 1300ft gain)
We drove past the trailhead for Reed Lakes and mistakenly took the trail at the end of the road to a place called Archangel. Ben called it an abandoned planet, a valley filled with boulders and leftover mining equipment.
There is an old dogsled path to Crow Pass and the Raven Glacier (8 miles return, 2000ft).
I spent a week in Fairbanks with Ronn Murray shooting the Northern Lights. March is typically the best month in Alaska to see the Aurora, the winter storms have passed and it is still dark at night.
World Ice Sculpture Championship
Occurs every year in March. Worth visiting after dark in Fairbanks before going out to see the Northern Lights.