It really is a treat living near Jewel Lake in Anchorage. When you want to get out and go on some trails, there are a lot of nearby options. You can go along the Campbell Creek trail system, and from there connect to many other trails; there is a trail near Sand Lake; and then there is Kincaid Park. Michelle and I decided to head out and explore the biking trails (Nordic ski trails in the winter) that weave in and around the massive wooded areas of Anchorage’s second largest city park.
The park has seen a bit of change in recent years. They have cleared out several large tracts of land to accommodate numerous soccer fields that are in the process of being built. Michelle and I were a bit irritated that when we reserved the Kincaid Park chalet for our wedding last year, no one bothered to mention that the entire grounds surrounding it would be torn up for the project. I am still not sure how I feel about this quiet, near-wilderness area being disturbed by a bunch of soccer games. I am also not sure of the wisdom of placing soccer fields in the middle of some preeminent moose and black bear habitat.
But, one of the many wonderful things about the park is the flora. The boreal forest is in prime bloom right now, offering dwarf dogwood (aka bunchberries), blue bells, Arctic rose, and daisies (invasive species, but still pretty). The devil’s club has fully matured, as well as the cow parsnip, offering up Alaska’s two favorite irritants for plants. I will take them over poison ivy or poison sumac any day (neither of which we have here in Alaska). In the autum, the devil’s club will turn a beautiful bright gold, providing a contrast to the red leaves of the rose and high-bush cranberry.
On our way back to the parking lot, we started to make out what sounded like percussion. As we got closer, it became clear that what we were hearing was Taiko drumming, most likely coming from the bunker that is part of a Nike-Hercules missile site built in 1959. It still remains standing today and frequently houses a variety of activities. Today, it was playing host to the Sand Lake Tomodachi Daiko taiko drum group. They were practicing for a performance on Saturday.