Saturday, May 22, 2010

Turnagain Arm Bicycle Trip

Turnagain Arm is very scenic mountain fjord southeast of Anchorage, Alaska. It is itself an arm of Cook Inlet, a deep notch in the Alaska coastline. Once only traveled by boat (tricky with the tide and mudflats) or trails, today there three ways along the north side: the Alaska Railroad, the Seward Highway and, at least along a portion of it, a bicycle path.

We started at the NW terminus of the path about 24 miles from Anchorage and rode only about 6.5 miles to Bird Point. The grades are mostly easy, as evidenced by the number of families making the trip with small children.

There are many interpretive signs about geography, geology, ecological relationships, and other natural history notes along the path. There are even more than can be seen from the Seward Highway itself. The trail is near the road in a few places, making it a bit noisy, but in other places it is pleasantly far from the highway as it wends through the woodlands above the fjord.

The mudflats below the trail look interesting, but they are dangerous and have claimed a number of lives over the years. The inrushing tide is sometimes faster than rescue for stuck hikers.

Katie and I made the 6 mile trip in about an hour, but we weren't pedaling fast, just enjoying the late spring day.

The path continues for several more miles to Girdwood.

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