Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Best Hike in Chugach State Park

Birdwood Girdle * * * *
11 miles 1 day
Penguin Ridge from Bird to Gird Hike
Man-trail; sheep/goat trail; steep meadow; B2 descent (alders/woods)
6,000 feet gain
6,000 feet loss

This must be the best day-hike in the Chugach. Go only when day is beautiful and will stay clear and sunny. Walk from Bird toward Gird as the views are much better, the trail improves, and there’s more water on the eastern end. Resist the urge to start at California Creek – just don’t do it that way!

Drive to Bird and take Konikson Road to the Chugach State Park parking lot in the gravel pit. Walk up the dirt road past the gate. Take the right branch (left goes to put-in for Bird Creek.) Look for sign saying “Penguin Ridge Trail”, or something like that, on a post to your right. Follow this up to the microwave tower, gain the ridge and take it until you can see Girdwood. Carry at least three quarts water and some food. Camera and map of whole Chugach also worth carrying, maybe binoculars, too, but now your pack’s getting heavy. Go Lite!

Plan on about 2 hours from parking lot to ridge top, then 5 hours along ridge to where the ridge swings north and you can see Girdwood train station. Work your way down meadows (oh so steep be careful at top and don’t get cliffed-out in any gullies – keep to buttresses or ridges as you descend) between alder patches for 3,000 feet in a bout a mile and an hour and a half.

Walk to Train Station. Meet your date there. Go to Double Musky for dinner. Drive home.

Sleep well.

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