The snow will be coming sooner than we'd like up here, and the weekends available for trips are running short. We decided to hike the crow pass trail from Girdwood to Eagle River, but the weather seemed nasty, our backpacking legs were rusty, and shuttling the cars from A to B seemed like a hassle (especially given that we both have toddlers). So we chose door #2 -- a shorter trip where we would not need to move the truck from the trailhead. Also, if the weather was atrocious or our gear choices were unwise, we could easily pull the escape hatch and head back to the truck. Hanging Valley in Eagle River here we come!
99% of the folks at the trailhead walk all the way out to Symphony Lake, rather than take the almost hidden trail to the left that heads up, up, up into Hanging Valley. The flat trail to Symphony Lake is a powerful siren song, but we wanted the challenge and isolation of the tougher trail. It wasn't much tougher, but it was a definite climb.
And it was most certainly worth it. Across the valley we were treated to a perfect campsite next to the lake, a moose a good distance away that lingered all weekend, a wolf that tracked us a bit as we explored the valley, and a dozen or so goats that greeted us when we crested the north edge of the valley. It rained all Saturday night and all Sunday on our hike back, so our choice of an abbreviated hike was wise. A great time and a strong hunger now exists for a longer trip sooner rather than later.
Full photo set here.