Gorgeous fall colors, mild temperatures (low 50s) and the promise of clouds opening to sun rather than rain inspired our family out for a hike yesterday. I’ve been frustrated with my seemingly slow recovery from endometriosis surgery, but it’s been a month now and I was ready for this challenge. We could have gone any direction, but the boys have put in a lot of car ride time lately so closer was definitely better. I’ve loved my few experiences on the tundra and had imagined more mountain hikes than my health allowed this past summer. Early in our Alaska Adventure I discovered AKontheGo for solid leads and advice and recently read this post on Arctic Valley. It was high on my to do list.
Last Monday morning I actually attempted this same adventure with my out of town guests. We got turned away in an early snowfall. No adventures running through the the tundra. No expansive views. We settled for fun in the snow.
But yesterday morning the snow was gone and fall was in full color. We drove 15 minutes from home, parked near the Alpenglow Ski Lodge and headed up. In typical Searls organization, we left 3/4 of our water in the car and partway up the trail we discovered our first aid kit was out of bandaids. Thankfully conditions were right and neither of these details were dealbreakers.
As we made our way up along mountain streams the higher we got we could see over mountain ridges to ever expanding views.Looking back we could see the city of Anchorage and the Park Strip near our home. Up on the neighboring ridge we could see buildings from Site Summit, an old Nike Missile Site – remnants of the Cold War.
It’s about 2 miles to Rendevous Peak. Up. Along the way we had plenty of conversation about our family theme: Grit. Sticking with it. We CAN do hard things. And what a payoff this time! Mountains beyond Mountains in our view at the top.
The boys built their signature little snowmen inside the rock fortress at the top. Then we headed down the ridgeline toward a ski lift maintained and operated by the nonprofit Anchorage Ski Club. It wasn’t a very graceful descent for my tired body. I leaned on David through the steep gravel parts and then he and Ryan navigated on ahead while Ethan stuck with me as I gimped slowly along. Like a skillful therapist Ethan kept me engaged with conversation about MineCraft – diligently describing scenes and features to keep my mind occupied and my body moving. I was particularly impressed with his sunset descriptions. The boy knows his Mommy.
At the ski lift we encountered a lady on an afternoon hike with her daughter and dog. A former member of the Ski Club board, she was full of interesting & useful information to fuel our future explorations. As they headed down the mountainside they stopped and pointed out the blueberries and crowberries still so tasty even previously frozen this late in the season. Of course we then stopped at a number of berry patches as we made our own way down through the tundra.
Such a fantastic day.
Last night I read in Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek: “Mountains are giant, restful, absorbent. You can heave your spirit into a mountain and the mountain will keep it, folded, and not throw it back….”