Friday, May 21, 2010

One down!!! Forty-nine to go ...

Well, I finally got out and started hiking last night. I started with the easiest hike on the list of course, Thunderbird Falls. It is the shortest in length, and the lowest in elevation gain, but it's on the list so it counts dammit. It was a beautiful day to be out for sure, temperature in the high 50s to low 60s; a few clouds drifting lazily and a weekday to help keep the trail a little less populated.

Today I'm going to go get my Chugach State Park parking permit so I don't have to pay $5 every time I want to park at a trail head. The passes run $40 for one or $60 for two and can be bought at REI and the park headquarters. I tried to buy one at Sportsmans Warehouse last night on my way to the trail, but they stopped carrying them a few years ago apparently. There are a few lots that don't accept the passes though, so I'll have to try not to go to those ones too often.

I'm also going to at least look at trekking poles while I'm at REI. I've always thought that they were kind of unnecessary for hiking. But after reading a bit about them and actually getting out on the trail, I can see at least two good things about them. First, they'll give my arms something to do so I don't end the summer looking like a pair of giant legs with two withered atrophied arms attached; and secondly, you can lengthen them and use them to take some of the strain on your knees on descents.

What's next? Unfortunately, most of the hikes either start at a higher elevation and stay there, or else they start lower and go higher. Which means snow at this time of the year. Melting snow. So, I will definitely look very carefully at any mountain that I'm considering going up any time soon. However, I think I'm going to go out to Eklutna and do the one hike that's not on the backside of the lake this Saturday. I just need to get back to town by 6:30 at the latest to meet a previous engagement. If nothing else, I'll get a look at the mountain and see what the terrain and snow levels look like.

Until next time...


  1. James, I've been spending a bunch of time along the Seward hwy the past couple weeks. There are plenty of trails snow free and avelanche safe open. Let me know if you'd like to tackle Fall's creek, Rainbow, Indian ridge or Bird ridge soon. Brian and I were looking at doing something Saturday morning into the afternoon but I need to be back by 3pm for another engagement myself.

  2. Way to go, James! So how was the 1st hike? Was it better than expected? Has the gym-time been paying off?

    Glad to see you have the first one down... Looking forward to future updates!! =)