We learned early on that it was better to start earlier rather than later, so we always start literally at the crack of dawn -- about a half hour before sunrise.
At the pass, we get a great view of Raven Glacier. It's usually pretty cold and windy in the pass, but this year it was actually rather pleasant.
One reason to do this hike in the fall is for the spectacular colors. Look closely in the picture above (click on it); there are sheep on the far mountain, just below the clouds.
On the other side of the pass, the terrain is alpine tundra for quite a ways and you get some spectacular views.
Once you get past the Gorge, the trail goes through some dense brush and into the trees and gets very muddy. It is interesting to see how the trail changes each year. Our first year, this tree was still alive and the roots were very slick. Now, it is not such a hazard. It is still representative of some of the unpleasant stumbling blocks we come across, though.
On to the most painful part -- the Eagle River crossing. I can't believe I'm actually smiling in this picture. We are a couple of miles downriver from the glacier and the water is probably 33 degrees. It is so cold that it is very very painful. Another reason we like to do this crossing in the fall is that the river is at its shallowest; it's only about knee height at its deepest point. I hear in the summer people cross it up to their chests in the ice cold water. I can't imagine it. That seems very dangerous.
View back up Eagle River toward Eagle Glacier, from the Perch.
I never take quite as many pictures on the ER side, because I'm tired and ready to get home. This year, I wish I had taken more because I've never had such great weather for the hike. In particular, I remember the golden trees surrounding Heritage Falls, everything lit up by the sun. I am sure I will never see it as beautiful as I did this year.
Our Crow Pass hike is probably the most awesome thing that we do. It makes me feel more Alaskan than pretty much any other activity. I know whenever we leave this place, the memories from these hikes will be some that I treasure the most.