Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Porcupine Campground, Hope, Alaska

Hope, Alaska
April 15 - 17, 2016

Porcupine Campground

It has been an incredibly early spring here in Alaska.  Last month, D kept talking about the early spring we were having.  I kept pointing out to him that it was MARCH!  March in Alaska is NOT spring!  We love exploring the different trails and campgrounds in Alaska and start itching to get out and about in late winter.

April 10 we decided to get up early and take a drive to some of the campgrounds we enjoy to see their progress towards summer.  The day was cold, wet, and windy, a great day to explore from inside the car. I had never been to Hope, Alaska, and when we got to the road to Hope, we decided to venture that way.
Our meandering lead us to Porcupine Campground at the end of the road in Hope.  It was a small campground, appeared to have trails, so we decided to go camping the following weekend there.  The campground is "open" at a level of "no services - no fees" stage.  The vault toilets are unlocked, but that was it.  No access to water, and no dumpsters for trash.

During the next five days, we scrambled to get the RV ready, managed to get it into Great Alaskan Holidays to be "de-winterized" and headed out Friday, six weeks earlier than we've ever been able to take the RV out before!

Our first evening at the campground, we took a short walk to explore the campground.  I always bring my phone as I track my travels with the app, MapMyHike.  I love MapMyHike, and more than once, it's saved us when we got a tad turned around.  We could see where we had been on the app's map and find our way back to camp.  I noticed that there was a geocache 0.7 mile from our camp site, quill cache, and I was itching to get a smiley.

D and Abby walking to the cache location.
The trailhead was easy to find, just near the entry to the campground, and a quick 10-minute walk had us at GZ (ground zero).  There is a small area to park outside of the campground.
D and Abby searching for the cache.
The Geocaching App on my phone was bouncing around, and I left the GPS at the RV.  We searched for a while and were about the head back to the campground when I noticed an area that didn't look quite right.  I poked the area with a stick and heard the clank of wood hitting metal! SCORE!

View from the breakfast table Saturday morning.
Early morning sun coming up over the Chugach Mountains.
As promised, the morning started with a very light drizzle and then a beautiful sunrise over the Chugach Mountains.

After breakfast,  we continued exploring with a hike on Gull Rock Trail.   The trailhead is at the end of the campground and easy to find.  The trail is an easy, fairly flat trail out to Gull Rock, with about a 600-foot climb in elevation.  It is a nice long trail at 5.7 miles one way.  I am more out of shape than I want to admit, too much time on the couch this winter, and working from home means too many hours at my desk on the computer!

The vistas were beautiful!  The hike traverses along the rocky, cliff shore of Turnagain Arm.  The wind was brisk at times, and I was glad we tossed our wind-proof outer layers in on packs for the times we stopped to enjoy the views or to rest.

Early morning sun trying to peak through the clouds.
Turnagain Arm.
Turnagain Arm
Anchorage is on the other side of that point of land. 

Trail heading towards Gull Rock.

Turnagain Arm, Chugach Mountains
Glacial silt makes the water a muddy gray and the "beaches" are what we call mudflats.
Mudflats are not safe to walk on as they are very much like quicksand.
Turnagain Arm and the Chugach Mountains
Turnagain Arm and the Chugach Mountains

After walking 3.87 miles (based on MapMyHike app), I began to wonder if I could make it to Gull Rock.  As the crow flies, we were 0.5 miles away from a cache at Gull Rock.  We stopped and enjoyed a light snack.  My arthritic hips told me, "time to return to camp!" and that is what we did.  It was a brutal walk back, and thanks to my walking stick (trekking pole) I made it back to camp, one step at a time!  

Round trip was 7.28 miles - our first long hike and I did well.  Rolling a tennis ball under my feet helped stretch and relax them; the closest thing to a foot massage a girl can get!  Advil and  plenty of liquids (may or not have contained alcohol) also helped recover from the long hike.

We enjoyed a campfire while the sun sunk behind the mountain behind us.
The setting sun lit up the white of the snow-capped mountains across the valley.
Sunday included a quick walk about up and around the campground and learned there are more trails to explore from this quaint little campground, logging another couple miles:

Trailhead near campground entrance leads to Hope Summit, or you can take the fork that leads to the Gull Rock Trail.
Good signage on trails.
Trail winding behind the campground towards Gull Rock Trail.
A gorgeous sunny morning walk.
Spring has sprung in Hope, Alaska!
Gull Rock Trail heading back to the campground.
We would recommend Porcupine Campground to anyone who enjoys hiking.  In the summer, you can explore the itty-bitty town of Hope, Alaska.  Hope is an old gold mining town and still attracts gold prospectors in the summer months.  We will be back!

Total miles "hiked" was 10.88 over three days, and managed to find two geocaches.


Gracey is not my name.... said...

Sounds like a good weekend getaway!

D & R said...

"Gracey," Thank you. It was fabulous and we are going to hit it hard this summer to get out and camp (RV), and hike and my plan is to share as much as I can in my blog. I still knit, but one road trip, I put down the needles and, although I thought I was taking in the scenery, I realize that I was missing A LOT! <3 FiberJewels