Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Oxbow Trail

The is a short loop trail on the other side of the Nenana River from the lodge. The river makes a nice 180 degree turn and the trail pretty much follows the inside loop of the river.

It's a beautiful place with a high bank on the far side, the woods are lush with deep spongy tundra and the trail is crossed the tree roots in some places.

On this day when Tamiko and I happened to go there, their were mushrooms everywhere. I had never seen so many in one place and of so many different varieties. Every where we looked the we saw different types. Some of the pictures are of other plant life, part of the many different types of dwarf plants that make up the tundra.

The Oxbow trail is one of my favorite places, as you can see not just for the views of the river. 

It's a little hard to see, the trail is in that loop to the right and the lodge borders the bank about where that square is on the bottom side of the loop.

The deep spongyness of the tundra is amazing.  Your foot can sink so far down it will disappear.

You can see the lodge across the river

 See that bench across the river? It has an interesting story. Shortly after I came here I saw it and noticed that the backrest was wobbly and needed to be attached more securely. It's a pretty bench with the bottom made out of the trunk of a tree. It is a memorial bench with the name "Ira Yarmolenko" placed on a nice piece of wood and inset into the middle of the backrest.

 So I took it on as a project to reattach the backrest more securely. After about a week or so of figuring out how best to do it and rounding up the tools, I was very pleased with the result. It looks good and is super solid now. But I kept wondering who Ira Yarmolenko was and why and who built a memorial bench for her or him. No one around the lodge knew who anything about it.

I looked up the name and found that Ira was a young 20 year old UNC student who was murdered in May 2008 in Mount Holly, NC. She immigrated from the Ukraine in 1996 with her family.

This wed site put up by a women interested in the case, not her family and friends as I first thought. She has compiled lots of information her tragic and controversial death, and links to Ira's pictures she posted on the web. There is a link to her Photobucket page and an album labeled Alaska with pictures she took of this area. One of the pictures is from Mt. Healy Overlook, the same place I hiked to last week.

I've since found out the Ira worked as at the coffee bar in 2007 in the old lodge building which is now mostly closed but is still used for our employee dining hall. The bench was built by a friend or her boyfriend who worked in maintenance just I do now. I understand he built the bench the following summer. 

An short video of the river at the apex of the loop.

 One or our security guys, Ron panning for gold.

I hiked the trail again yesterday and most all the mushrooms are gone now. I did find the bear spray that fell out of my backpack the day I took these pictures. Since this blog is so long I'll post some more pictures and video of the trail, the banks of the river and a squirrel who didn't like me invading his space in another post.

1 comment:

  1. Great Blog and pics. I think you should submit to Nat Geo for publishing.