July 19-21 I traveled the path less trod and went up the right side of the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. My destination was the Mageik Lakes so named b/c they are at the base of Mageik mtn. But the destination is not the journey and the latter is what makes traveling fun.
As such Jen and I left for the trail after work and hiked out to 6 mile (you can guess why it got that name :>) where we camped our first night. Other than being over cast and slightly windy it was a beautiful afternoon and night in the valley when we set up camp at 11:30 pm. You have to love Alaska and its long days. :) That night Jen had a little trouble trying to sleep b/c we heard some noises a few yards from the tent. I being the rational one with more experience told her to cover her ears. Covering the ears was not so that she could sleep, but so that she would not be more startled when I broke the nights silence by yelling at the noises. Some scurrying was heard afterwards followed not too much longer by our departure into the land of dreams known as sleep. The next morning after while Jen was heeding the call of nature I scouted the perimeter of camp to find that a bear, wolf, and wolf pup had all scouted our tent from about 8-12 feet away. Obviously for not only Jen's sanity, but my own, I neglected to tell Jen this information until we were on our way our of the Valley the following day.
That afternoon we reached the lakes where we set up camp in a less windy area and scouted around the lakes. It was beautiful with a green/blue color that came from the glacial flour or fine sedimentary particles floating in the water reflecting the light. There were also 4 waterfalls on the side of the lake opposite of us.
The night passed without incident and we headed out the next morning. The overcast sky always seems to be the best view of the Valley b/c that is when the red/orange color seems to come out most making the ridges and canyons look amazing. We were not going for a speed record, but we still walked the 15 miles from the Mageik lakes back to the Three Forks Cabin overlook in about 5 hours.
It was an amazing trip and I recommend it to anyone who can go with a small addition of crossing over to Novarupta if you only have one weekend. The 25th will be our Christmas in July party that I organized, complete with gifts. Sometime in August I am going to try and summit Mt. Katmai and see the Caldera.