Thunder Montain Hike (June 2011)

Thunder Mountain is not far from the shore and forms part of the once side of the Mendenhall Valley. There are two trails up the mountain which merge about half way up. The one I took is from the valley and is rougher. The trailhead for this trail is about a quarter mile from where I'm living now. There are is an short wetlands ecology trail there as well. The trail starts off on a boardwalk and quickly changes to planks. 

Planks Through the Welands
Once a the trail crosses a creek it becomes very steep until the junction with the Heintzleman Ridge Route trail. After the junction the route gets a bit easier until the  tree line. Most of the trail is marked by ribbons with multiple ribbons at the junction. 

Red Bellied Sapsucker
 Once I got up to Heintzleman ridge there were great views into Lemon Creek Valley.

Lemon Creek Valley

Heintzleman Ridge
I took the trail out to the top of Thunder Mountain where there are views of Admiralty Island and the Mendenhall Glacier.

Fritz Cove and the Mendenhall Wetlands
I found a perfect reclining rock for eating lunch with view of two glaciers and eagles flying around. It was tempting to stay there. Several eagles rode a thermal up on the side of the mountain landed about 100 feet from me.

Juvenile Eagle in Flight
The lower part of the hike was quiet, I saw no one on the lower trail. Above the junction, I passed several people. The hike was 6.9 miles (11.1 km) long with about a 2700 ft gain.

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