Up A Creek

Posted on February 29, 2012


Montana Creek by Jill Homer at arcticglass.blogspot.com

No paddle, don’t need one; I’ve got my skis. Checking out the Juneau Nordic Ski Club Trail Condition Forum yesterday before heading out to the Mendenhall Valley revealed that one of the volunteer track-setters was planning on heading out to set a track at Montana Creek. Eager to check out that trail, I made a beeline for it and made it there just as Don was returning to the trailhead. The snow was too wet and warm to find a nice hard kick-wax for my skinny skis, so I got my textured base touring skis on and headed out. It was a welcome change from my usual haunts and lovely to follow the meandering creek upstream despite the sounds of the rifle range that kept echoing across the valley.

Along the way I passed a couple of gold-panners. I’m not kidding, gold fever is still alive and well in our wild state. I don’t know the history of the creek, but gather that there was a lot of gold activity in the area once upon a time judging by the width of the trail that is more like a road in some places. I only followed the trail out about 3 km or so, but it continues until it meets Windfall Creek Trail that begins downstream at mile 26.7 on the Glacier Highway. Someday I would like to be dropped off at Montana Creek Trailhead and picked up at the Windfall Creek Trailhead if time and circumstances permit.

Fish Carvings Along Montana Creek Trail by Alaska Stock

Looking through images online to use for this post I found a series of carvings that an artist made in the sides of trees at various locations on the trail. I was not fortunate enough to spot any of them, but will be looking for them now. I am eager to get on that trail again and will probably head back out on it this afternoon. It’s a sunny day in Juneau and the sun spurs us all to get out while the getting is good.

Big Table Farm Syrah Image Cluster

Tonight we will be having a New Zealand rack of lamb that we will cut into chops and pan sear served with some mashed sweet potatoes. I never liked lamb until my husband cooked it for me just right. Our carnivorous children get really excited when we have rack for dinner and exclaim, “Oh, we’re going to have bones!” One of my most memorable wine and food pairings was with ground lamb pasta and Big Table Farm Syrah. Big Table Farm is located in the Willamette Valley, but the grapes for their Syrah are sourced from White Hawk Vineyard in Santa Barbara County, CA. There are many acclaimed wines that source their fruit from this vineyard including Maggie Harrison’s Lillian Syrah and Adam Tolmach’s Ojai Vineyard. The Big Table Syrah wine is big, there is nothing subtle about it, but perfect with the rich and aromatic fat of lamb.

Fresh air, sunshine, and a good ski should set the stage for a wonderful meal.