Monday, October 29, 2007

Weekend at Hutlinana Hot Springs

Hutlinana Hot Springs bubbles up from the gravels below the Hutlinana River. A group of us skied out to the springs northwest of Fairbanks over the weekend. The warm water is contained by a rock wall built up along the river. The spring is a toasty 105º F (40º C).

The trail to Hutlinana begins about a half mile east of where the Elliot Hwy crosses Hutlinana Cr. It was a very bumpy 6.5 mile ski up the trail to the springs. This was an early season trip so the snow cover was still rather thin and the trail was really bony.

Dean and Vladka get their gear together for the ski out to the springs. There is a pull-in to park just west of the trail head.

This was Anna's first winter camping experience. Kristen hauled her out to the springs in this Chariot sled. She bounced over the uneven trail and surprisingly tipped only 3 times--and slept soundly the entire time.

The Hutlinana River was still freezing up and we had to cross a precarious ice bridge. I presume Anna got a little nervous when she peered out to either side and saw running water. It was actually quite safe because there was a log support under the ice.

Baby Anna survived her first night of winter camping at 0º F (-18º C). Kristen kept her wrapped up in cozy down sleeping bag.

Sunlight sets fire to the boreal forest (Vladka photo)

Zach and Vladka wait for boiled water to make breakfast on a chilly Sunday morning. Vladka is visiting from Slovakia and is making the most of her time in Alaska doing odd jobs and playing in the wilderness.

A dried out stem wears a cloak of hoar frost (Vladka photo)

The moon rises above the Sawtooth Mountains on the drive home

Denali (20, 320 ft) looms over the southern horizon from a viewpoint along the Elliot Hwy.


Julie said...

that hoar frost is some neat stuff.. you'll have to explain to me how that forms. i liiiiiiiike.

patcaribou said...

nice moon photo.

Chris said...

Excellent report!

Sean6 said...

Great post. Tried a trip to Hutlinana a few years back but it was -40 on the day we planned, and just never made it back. Best photos I've seen of the place online!

Nick said...

My friends and I heavily relied on your blog in planning our Hutlinana trip. Thanks so much for sharing! It was so much fun, especially to relax at Chena the next day hehe..
We snow shoed instead of skiing, though.

Unknown said...

We made a trip last weekend. Great snow conditions for skiing, trail is solid for walking early in day; several areas of overflow and the creek was running full over the ice at the crossing on Sunday. Your pictures, map and descriptions helped us plan the trip. There were probably a dozen people and 6 dogs but all were congenial. Three soaks in 13 hours to stay warm. Wonderful!