Green Cabin Lake

Sunday I went with the group hiking up to Green Cabin Lake. We originally wanted to just hike up to the lake along a ridge to the south of the lake and then head back. However, we had trouble finding the turn-off and ended up slogging through the tundra for a good while in order to get to the lake. Elissa was supposed to meet several of her PI's (who were choppered in) to stay overnight at the lake to fish for a research project about greylings. It took us about 4 or 5 hours to hike up to the lake and once there, we decided that we really didn't want to return the same way. Following a suggestion from one of the PI's we decided to follow the sharp ridge that rises above Atigun Gorage. We continued past Green Cabin Lake and up the ridge, which curves around behind Green Cabin Lake and (eventually) leads back in the direction we hiked from. Despite the low cloud coverage and the steep trip up the ridge, we had beautiful views of the valley. It was awesome. However, 3 hours of hiking up and down and up and down along the ridge, we realized that we were finally about as far from the road as we were when we were at Green Cabin Lake... It was about 6 pm at that point, and we were all starting to tire out. The ridge hiking was pretty rough. There were rapid changes in elevation and we were constantly on skree (loose rock material). We eventually decided not to continue to hike up and down, but instead side hill across the rest of the ridge. Although it limited our elevation changes, sidehilling across shaley rocks was not the easiest task! at around 8:30 we finally spotted the road off in the distance and realized that if we continued to follow the ridge, we would end up about 2 miles south of where we parked the trucks. However, changing our direction meant that much more time below on the tundra. We decided to B-line for the road and then walk up the road, which is a lot easier than tundra slogging! We finally made it to the road at around 9pm. We were all happy to be down off the mountain, but discouraged about our distance to the cars. One of the guys, Nick, said that he'd be willing to try to hitch hike his way up to the cars (if anyone passes by) and drive back to pick us up. We all started walking up the road (since there was no guarentee that anyone would pass us). Amazingly, after a short while of walking one of the Toolik vans came driving up the road! One of the other sunday hiking groups were luckily on their way back home. Nick and Jason both caught a ride to our trucks and came back to save the rest of us. It was quite an adventure!
Posted on July 2, 2009 and filed under sunday hike.