Growing up in Alaska, I assumed that everyone had the same understanding and general definition for “hiking” but living in Louisiana has given me a whole new appreciation for elevation. When we “hike” here, it’s usually a flat trail that hosts lots of bugs and the occasional snake. It’s also extremely hot and humid so despite the fact that I am simply walking, you’ll find me sweating more than I would on a mountainous trail.
When I went home to Alaska this summer, I was determined to get some hiking in. The trip was primarily filled with pre-wedding festivities for my sister so we had to get a little creative with our destinations, all of them taking a half day or less to complete. This list should be helpful next time you find yourself short on time before a theme party at Asia Garden or simply with a few hours to kill after work. When you go, just remember how jealous I am of your proximity to incredible hiking and pack an extra beer – pour it out for me at the top (or drink it, I’ll never know).
GIRDWOOD – Lower Winner Creek Trail
My sister had never done Lower Winner Creek or the “Hand Tram Trail” so she got off work early one afternoon and we braved the rain. Luckily, most of the trail has canopy tree coverage and we were dressed for the harshest of elements (always be prepared, right mom?) so we didn’t get too soaked. We started at Alyeska Resort and hiked the easy 2.5 miles to the hand tram. We were met by some strong men who helped pulley us out to the center of the creek, snapped a selfie and turned back. We celebrated by dining on Cajun food (ironic, I know) at Double Musky and witnessed a black bear stealing fish out of the bed of a pick-up truck in the parking lot. Alaska’s version of dinner and a show.
ANCHORAGE – Flattop Mountain
It has been years since I made it to the top of Flattop but Shannon, Shevans and I set off with about two hours until we had to get ready for my sister’s bridal shower and made it our mission to summit. After taking in the view and finding shelter from the wind, Shan (always prepared) busted out some Midnight Sun Brewing Co. beers and we toasted to Alaskan summers.
SEWARD – Exit Glacier View
Due to poor planning and little research on my part, our hike in Seward was cut short. After parking at the nature center, we set off on the one-mile paved trail to Glacier View. If we had more time, we would have continued to the Toe of the Glacier for an up-close look. However as you can see from my outfit, I was not entirely prepared for a day of hiking and will just add it to my bucket list for future visits.
Prior to this summer, I had only been to Hatcher Pass in the winter. Having only seen the mountains as a white, snow-covered dessert, I was excited to see how summer hiking compared and honestly I’m not sure which season I love more. Jenna and I ventured around with no real agenda or map and soaked it all up in a gorgeous, sun-filled afternoon.
Gorgeous, yeah? You should see it in the winter.