Day 240 – It’s a nice day for a…White-tailed Ptarmigan!

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I never had a burning desire to visit Alaska. It was never on my wish list before my Big Year. Well, here I am in Anchorage for the 4th time this year. I have spent more time in Alaska than any other place in the country! I have experienced 32 days here so far and I’m getting ready to add another 15.

Alaska creeps into your psyche and never lets go. I find myself frequently reminiscing about my travels in this amazing wilderness. I have been places that most people can’t even imagine. After the conclusion of 2017, I know that my time in Alaska will haunt me forever.

Today I decided to go to Independent Mine State Historical Park in Hatcher Pass, about 1 and a half hours from Anchorage. I’d gotten some good info from Brad Benter about the Ptarmigans he’d been seeing in the Alpine tundra up above the timberline. He was out of town so I decided to strike out on my own. At least, I would have a beautiful hike and the temperatures were in the low 60s.

I hiked several miles alone in steep, rocky terrain with no trails and no luck. I decided at the last minute to go ahead and hike the Reed Lakes Trail, about a 3.5 mile trek. I got to the top and enjoyed the beautiful lake. I was determined to see White-tailed Ptarmigans!

On my descent, I saw movement in the rocks and Bam!! I had a group of 8. This was one of the most satisfying days in my year and I savored it alone.

I’m used to solitude. In fact, I crave it. Alaska is the canvas on which I paint my yearning for something greater than me. Today I felt that presence.

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