Taiga Trail to Horseshoe Lake Trail
(4 miles, +600/-600 feet).
Time for one last nuclear family trip with the four of us before DoubleSub goes to college!
Where to go? We originally thought about Iceland, but the time change for a short trip can be brutal, so we decided to stick closer to our own zone.
Where to go if you want northern latitudes without changing the clock (at least not too much)? Why Alaska of course!
We got in pretty late last night (so late, it was actually during the 4 hour Anchorage darkness that doesn’t start until after midnight!) and then it was a 5 hour drive to Denali after a late start this morning, so we didn’t have time for a big hike today.
We were originally going to do a ridge hike, but it was really windy this afternoon. There’s a nice short stroll in the woods near the main visitor center around Horseshoe Lake, so we aimed for that one instead.
It was gray and a little rainy, but we were all happy to stretch our legs after being cooped up in planes and cars.
The Taiga trail takes us to the Horseshoe Lake loop after crossing the Alaksan Railroad.
Half Cookie enjoyed being a little silly.
Our first turnoff to the lake actually took us to a beaver dam. I had never seen such a large one before, and I was fascinated by how much higher the dammed lake was than the water below. It almost seemed man-made.
We left the spur trail and headed around the lake. I love how we all talk with one another when we hike.
Once we got about 3/4 around the lake, we saw a moose on the other side and a beaver in the water.
As it turns out, the trail would take us right near both of them. In fact, the beaver swam right underneath Pasta Jay as he stood on a bridge.
And the moose also walked right over our boardwalk!
We waited for the moose (Denali’s most dangerous animal, incidentally) to wander off into the brush and then we headed back to the trailhead.
I was thrilled to see wildlife already, and we were barely a mile or two from the visitor center. Denali will be fun!