Winterlake Lodge-First Stop on the Iditarod Trail

The start of our adventure into off-the-grid Alaska began on Monday, August 16th, we flew from Anchorage to Winterlake Lodge, in a Cessna 206, it was a 1 1/2 hour flight into the wilderness northwest of Anchorage. We boarded the Cessna at the Lake Hood Seaplane Base. Lake Hood is the world’s busiest seaplane base, handling an average of 190 flights per day. Winterlake Lodge is nestled at the foot of the Alaskan Range, on the edge of an  ancient valley. This Lodge is located on the Iditarod Trail which runs through the property into the woods and on to Nome. It is open June1st to September 30th for the summer and February 15th to April 1st for the winter season. The only way to get to this lodge is by plane or helicopter. When we arrived at the lodge Amory was there to greet us, she is our guide for the three days that we are staying here. After we settled into our cabin we went for a boat ride on Finger Lake and saw lots of beautiful Common Loons with their chicks, only two months old. Common loons have deep black or dark green heads and necks and dark backs with an intricate pattern of black and white stripes, spots, squares and rectangles. Listening to the sound of the loon as she paddled along was so surreal, such a peaceful setting. The next day we went for a hike on the Red Lake Trail with Amory and on the return we stopped at the kennels to see the dogs. These dogs are trained for the Iditarod Race and are usually up on the glacier training but the weather has been too warm so they are back in their kennels. After lunch I went paddle boarding on the lake, it was so peaceful but I didn’t see any wildlife. For dinner the Chef made Bob a special birthday cake for his 75th birthday, the food here is amazing and every meal is delicious. Click on thumbnail to view image

Winterlake Lodge and Finger Lake

Glacier Walk and Celebration

Today was the highlight of our stay at Winterlake Lodge and we had perfect weather for it. We flew in the helicopter with Amory and the pilot to Trimble Glacier where he dropped us off and we hiked on the glacier. We wore crampons so we wouldn’t slip on the ice. Trimble Glacier is in the Alaskan Range, Tordrillo Mountains, heading at the junction of its North and South Branches and trending northeast to its terminus, where it forms the head of the Trimble River. We hiked up the North Branch of the Trimble Glacier, passing pools of crystal clear, azure blue water, so inviting to jump into. Amory has been swimming in these pools and  I was tempted to take the plunge. We saw amazing ice caves and crevasses as we walked along the glacier. Then the helicopter came back and picked us up and flew us high above the glacier on to the tundra with a view of the South Branch of the Trimble Glacier that is so unbelievable. This is where Amory brought out our lunch and a surprise bottle of Champagne from EXP journeys, Kevin’s company, to celebrate our 50th anniversary. Wow, we couldn’t have asked for a better place to celebrate. We gazed out at the South Branch of the Trimble Glacier as we enjoyed our lunch and Champagne, from this incredible picnic site. After we finished eating Amory packed everything up into the helicopter and the pilot whisked us up to a spot where we could hike up the tundra. As we hiked up the tundra we saw a Willow Ptarmigan, the State Bird of Alaska, it was an  easy hike up hill, but the best part was the helicopter was coming to pick us up at the top. This day was a once-in-a-lifetime experience!!!