Monday, July 8, 2013

Gull Rock Trail in Hope, AK

We woke up to our first morning in Hope to scattered showers as well as to sore, tired muscles.  We'd all slept in late and it didn't look like Hope Point was going to happen so we considered some alternatives:  Gull Rock hike or the old mine up Palmer Creek Road.  Turns out we would do both, but at the time we didn't know that.

From the Porcupine Campground, a very nice, graveled trail connects to the Gull Rock trail, a 5-mile trek out to, we assumed, Gull Rock.  What the significance of the rock was, we didn't know.  Because the beginning of the trail was so nice and Aurora was itching for another long run (15 miles the day before on the Lost Lake Trail wasn't enough apparently), we decided we would bike it and Aurora would run. 

It was somewhere between mile 1 and 2 that we ditched our bikes in the woods on the side of the trail and decided to hike the rest of the way.  Once again, rocks and roots were our demise.  It would have been a difficult trail to bike as there were talus slopes to cross, boggy sections, and overgrown spots.  There was about an 800 foot elevation change over the course of the trail, but they were long, gradual climbs or descents mostly so that was less of an issue.  But we were tired from the day before and had less patience with climbing off our bikes often.  There was one section that was very sweet--a pine-needle-covered gradual trail that was smooth, though there was not much room for error as one side was a steep drop down towards Turnagain Arm.

It was a long 5 miles.  Some trails just zip along and feel like quick jaunts, but this felt long.  When we arrived at Gull Rock we were disappointed.  There were no gulls, and there was no special view or scenery or rocks or anything.  It seemed underwhelming.  We walked all the way out to the point, ate our lunch (we'd been thinking this would be a quick little 10 mile bike ride so had just thrown yesterday's leftovers in a backpack), snapped the obligatory I-did-this-and-I-can-prove-it picture, and headed back, threading past a few camping sites.  In fact, the scenery was so unimpressive we didn't even take a picture of the view.

Lunch break on Gull Rock.
The trek back felt just as long as the way out, though was better because we knew how far we had to go.  This is one of those hikes that we would only do again if we were absolutely desperate for a hike.  There were no impressive views since though we followed the shore the trees blocked the scenery.  When we did get a peek, it was incongruous to see the Seward Highway across Turnagain Arm.  It felt like we were so far away from civilization, and yet just across from Gull Rock we could see Anchorage, and jets flew over regularly as they headed into the airport there.  This would be a hike just to hike, and definitely not a bike!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't think you made it all the way to Gull Rock. There are great views of Turnagain Arm from the rock, which extends out into the Arm from the shore. I will agree that the roots would not make the trail bike-friendly.