Call it a dry run if you will. I've always wanted to hike the length of Crow Pass Trail from Girdwood to Eagle River, but the timing never worked out correctly. You have to wait for June to melt away much of the snow and it is also wise to line up a companion or 2 to head along with you due to the river crossing. I have read that the first 3 miles from Girdwood to the top of the pass are pretty strenuous, so I decided to give that a day trip on Saturday. The termination dust is on the march so it is time to get these hikes in now.
Yes, the goal of the trail is up there in the snow. I believe the parking lot is at around 1000 feet. Up and up the steep trail for 2 hours will get you to the peak.
At the top of the pass is a Forest Service cabin available for rent. I gather that it is often reserved, but after determining that it was empty I decided to go inside for my lunch break.
There is an undeniable charm to this little buttress to the howling winds and I'd like to stay there someday in the future, though hiking up the kerosene/diesel fuel for heat sounds like a pain. I read through the guest book and found a wonderfully charming entry that I will paraphrase from memory:
Your body brought you to this beautiful place! Take care of it and it will take you many more beautiful places!
I smiled at this thought and happily chomped away at the apples I brought along. About a mile across the blowing snow was the height of the pass and the glacier.
The trail descended steeply from here to the valley that will meander to Eagle River in another 20 miles. I had had enough of climbing steep mountains so decided to turn around and concentrate on cruising downhill. I cannot wait to tackle this entire one way hike next summer! In Alaska, you're never more than a 2 hour hike from winter.