Hiking Bird Ridge.

Hike 12/52. Bird Ridge ain’t no joke. Especially in the winter. It is only 2.5 miles each way, but 3400 feet of elevation gain. Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 6.34.06 PM.png
4 dogs and 3 people made it damn near to the top.Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 6.34.34 PM.png

We went up, up, and up some more. Like a snowy stair stepper.Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 6.35.54 PM.png

The views seemed to just get better and better. Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 6.37.03 PM.png

We made it as close to the top as was safe and returned to the car.Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 6.37.12 PM.png

Walking was a little tricky for the following few days.

Eklutna Hiking.

Hike 11/52. There is something awesome about being on a frozen lake. It can be slightly terrifying. I felt confident that we wouldn’t fall through the ice, but then you see a big crack running the length of the lake and your mind starts to think, “what if?”Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 12.02.05 PMWe headed out down the middle of the lake with the wind in our faces. It was sunny, but not very warm. Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 12.01.46 PM

The mountains don’t seem very far away when you are hiking here. It is only because they are enormous. You walk for hours and the things in the distance don’t seem to get much closer. Alaskan scale is different than other places I have visited.Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 12.02.17 PM.png

After a few miles, there is a cabin on the left side of the lake. There is a road that you can walk on to access to the cabin. We returned on the road.Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 12.02.30 PMIt has a bit of a higher vantage point. We saw cyclists, dog sleds, and skiers out on the lake.

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Winner Creek, Girdwood, AK.

Hike 8/52 was one that we had done before. Based at the fancy Alyeska Resort there is no shortage of places to stop and warm up before or after hiking in Girdwood.screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-7-31-14-pm

We set off on our short hike after brunch at The Bake Shop. We drove one car to the the end of the trail and started from the far end of the trail. Our plan was foiled when we found out that the hand tram was no longer operating for the winter. There was hardly any snow, so we sighed and muttered, but continued on.

We had to stop and build a snowman as it was still early in the season and we haven’t had a lot of snow, yet.

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The Winner Creek and the snowman.screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-7-33-53-pmDeciding how to cross when the tram is closed.screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-7-30-43-pmWe somehow still had a lot of fun and wore ourselves out.screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-7-31-01-pmWhen we got home, this happened. I would call it a success.

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Hiking Eagle and Symphony Lakes.

Hike 7/52 for the 52 hike challenge. This is a popular trail and quite an easy hike. Most of the mild uphill is in the beginning.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-39-39-am

Eventually, you make it into the valley below. The creeks that drain out of the lakes are two different colors.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-42-14-amI am still addicted to panoramic photos.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-40-38-amThe further into the valley you walk, the more boulders begin to appear.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-41-03-amEventually arriving at the lakes, you can see why the two creeks are different colors.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-41-17-amOne lake (Eagle) is the turquoise color of the glacial silt. The other (Symphony) is snow melt and precipitation. They are separated by a narrow ridge. It is a beautiful hike near Anchorage.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-41-33-amThe creek crossings were easier for some of us.screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-8-42-48-am

Wolverine Peak (almost).

Hike 6/52 for the 52 hike challenge.

It starts off beautiful right from the trailhead. It is a big well worn trail at the Prospect Heights Trailhead.

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Then it slowly follows the appropriately named Powerline Trail.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.08.33 AM

This is quite an easy trail. It isn’t too steep, it is wide, it is gorgeous. I love Anchorage.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.08.44 AMThis time of year, there are flowers of every color outside. The pinks, the purples, the whites, the yellows, I wanted to show them all off. I wanted to sit and stare at them, I wanted to make sure I made noise to alert any bears.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.09.02 AMThe whole trail is very well marked. I brought a GPS, but really did not need it. Some of our adventures are totally unmarked and out in the middle of nowhere. This trail was nothing like that.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.09.15 AMThe views from the trail were incredible.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.09.27 AMI did not have enough time to make it to the top of Wolverine Peak, but I think that is it behind the dogs. The trail got steep, the day got late, and I had somewhere to be. I did get to hear coyotes calling as the sun went down. This place is amazing, still.Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.09.42 AM

Caines Head, Seward, Alaska.

This one also counts as hike 3/52.

This trail is incredible. It starts outside of Seward on a dirt road that passes an enormous waterfall. It wouldn’t be the last waterfall we saw on this trip. The trail is very well maintained. It had rained the day before, but there were boardwalks everywhere that there needed to be. With the ground smelling wet and everything looking greener than usual, we set off with high hopes and full packs.

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We crossed our first large creek/small river and we spent a little too much time looking for salmon that we hoped would be returning to spawn. This was not a fishing trip and it was difficult to leave a rod behind. Especially when I saw a guy in the parking lot stringing up a fly rod and heading to the beach.

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.44.49 AMWe walked in the forest for the first mile or so. Up and down a small hill. We emerged and the trail headed towards the beach. This is where we would find out if we had timed things correctly. At high tide, many places are impassable. On an incoming tide, you can be trapped in small coves or on large rocks. The tides can be quite large here so a very low tide is ideal. A very high tide can be dangerous.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.45.20 AMThis was option number one for a camp spot. Right next to the waterfall. It was only a couple of miles in. It would have been easy, but people would be passing by a lot and it wasn’t our original destination. We wanted something a little further from the trailhead. Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.45.50 AM

After a couple miles of walking on the beach in beautiful sunshine, the trail turned into the forest again. It started uphill and we began to sweat. We couldn’t stop because of the mosquitoes. And we are stubborn. We came to a fork in the trail and chose the more difficult path. We didn’t know about the elevation gain. Or the trail turning to muddy single track, but it mentioned something about the alpine something or other and that sounded pleasant. Imagine sweating, swearing, panting people with legs burning and terrible thoughts racing through their minds.

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I was wondering why I wasn’t laying on my couch scrolling through Instagram like any sane person should be doing with a few days off. The small streams in the high alpine fields were absolutely beautiful.

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We had to be mildly alert for bears as we saw scat on the trail. Eventually the trail headed downhill and we hiked on cool dry creek beds.

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When we thought that we couldn’t take any more strenuous hiking, we thought that we were hallucinating hearing waves. this might be the best view from the trip. Emerging out of the forest and finding the ocean again. We knew that we had made it to South Beach. It wasn’t in Florida, it was much better than that.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.47.20 AMThis was our view for three days. There were two people there when we arrived. It was a Sunday and they were headed out. This nurse career seemed like a good choice at that moment. We were all alone.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.48.03 AMAt night we started a fire before it got dark.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.48.29 AMIt didn’t really get dark because it is summer here. And the moon looked like this when it rose. It was hard to sleep with such beauty around us. Eventually, we hung out bag of food out of the way of the bears and made it to bed.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.48.51 AMIt was easy to lay in bed when we looked out of the tent and saw the same things, but in a different light. The sweltering heat in a tent seems to push you out. Even in Alaska.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.49.23 AMThe next day, a couple of friends joined us for a night. We watched Orcas cruise in the bay. Sea lions were curious enough to pop up their heads near shore. Bald eagles seem to be everywhere up here.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.49.45 AMAnother successful trip in the backcountry. Also, we didn’t see any fish, so I was glad that I didn’t feel like I was missing out on an amazing fishing trip.Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 3.50.00 AMThanks for reading!

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Hike 2/52

I am counting my runs as hikes. They meet most of my made up criteria. A few friends, Amanda, and I went running at Campbell Tract. There are over 730 acres to play in. It is across the street from work. We ski the trails in the winter and run there in the summer. It is outstanding. Bears, moose, birds, and all of the other Alaskan wildlife can be seen here.Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 12.47.10 AM.png

In fact, there is a part that is closed when the salmon are in the creek because of the high bear activity. We ran 8 miles and had a great time. We did not see any large mammals, but that is always okay with us. They probably see us and we get to see them when we are least expecting it.

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