Visual Stories

Photos: Arctic Valley draws berry pickers and hikers, even in the rain

  • Author: Marc Lester
  • Updated: August 24
  • Published August 24
Sixth graders, teachers and chaperones from Aquarian Charter School pause for lunch while hiking at Arctic Valley on August 23, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Willa Irrigoo picks berries at Arctic Valley. She said she likes to use the blackberries in akutaq, a dessert sometimes called Eskimo ice cream. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Nancy Lee and Mary Lee carry berry picking supplies in baskets on their backs at Arctic Valley on August 23, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Bealey Armendariz, left, and Sherry Brandon, both of Wasilla, pick berries at Arctic Valley. Brandon said she likes to make jam with the harvest. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Mary Lee carried berries in a bucket after picking at Arctic Valley. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Rachel Irrigoo gathers berries at Arctic Valley on August 23, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Aquarian Charter School sixth grade teacher Monica Severson, in hat near right, talks with her students while on a field trip to Arctic Valley. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Sherry Brandon, of Wasilla, puts berries in her wicker basket at Arctic Valley. (Marc Lester / ADN)
James Reinold, an Aquarian Charter sixth grader explores the rock formations on the Mt. Gordon Lyon side of Arctic Valley. (Marc Lester / ADN)

Rain didn't keep people away from Arctic Valley on August 23, 2018, and many showed up with buckets for picking berries from the flanks of Rendezvous Peak, Mount Gordon Lyon and other Chugach mountains.

Two sixth-grade classes from Aquarian Charter showed up in the morning to begin a hike to the saddle that overlooks Eagle River's South Fork Valley. It was a first-week-of-school activity designed help the kids bond, said teacher Kacey Magestro. She said she kept the kids moving so they didn't get cold in the rain, but otherwise the weather didn't dampen spirits.

"They're Alaskan kids, so it's not a big deal," she said.

Sisters Willa and Rachel Irrigoo found berries on the face of the ski hill. Willa said she likes to use some in akutaq, a dessert sometimes called Eskimo ice cream. Some were not quite ripe yet, Rachel said, so she expected to come back again in a few days.