Trip 13. Girdwood: Winner Creek Trail and Alyeska Aerial Tram
Date: Tuesday, 24 June
Start and end times: 7 am–5 pm
Cost: AOS registration fee is $100 per person. Covers van, gas, aerial tram ticket, and lunch.
Maximum participants: 13
Meals: Lunch provided; bring snacks
Trip Leader(s): Max Goldman
Trip Description: Elusive songbirds abound in the northernmost rainforest in North America. We will drive south from Anchorage along the coast to the town of Girdwood, stopping along the way to check the waterfowl and terns at Potter Marsh before beginning our walk among the towering Sitka spruce along Winner Creek. We will cross Glacier Creek on the famous hand tram, looking for mergansers that may be feeding in the torrent, 100’ below. Incredible views are around each bend, where the berry bushes and big trees part. After a 3.5-mile walk/hike through the forest on a well-maintained trail, we will end up at the base of the Alyeska Ski Mountain Aerial Tram, which we will ride 2300’ up to the top of Mt. Alyeska while keeping our eyes out for bears and moose below. We will have a late lunch (and a well-earned beer) at the restaurant on top of the mountain, comparing species lists and taking in views of the Chugach Mountains, distant glaciers, and the forest below. Expect around 5 miles of walking and hiking all day, with a few narrow, steeper sections.
Recommended Gear and Cautions: Hiking boots or trail-running shoes. Weather in Girdwood is highly variable and can switch quickly between brilliant sunshine and chilly fog. Bring a good rain jacket, gloves, warm hat, and warm layers. Bring snacks and water. Look out for bears, especially alongside the creeks and parking areas.
Potter Marsh: Canada Goose, American Wigeon, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Short-billed Dowitcher, Wilson’s Snipe, Greater Yellowlegs, Mew Gull, Herring Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Arctic Tern, Bald Eagle, Black-billed Magpie, Common Raven, Tree Swallow, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, Common Redpoll, Dark-eyed Junco, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Blackpoll Warbler
Girdwood: Alder Flycatcher, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Varied Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Rufous Hummingbird, Northwestern Crow.