Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's been a while, some progress

Sorry it's been so long since I posted anything, I've been faced with the double whammy of trying to get things done and trying to write about them. As well as keep working during the busy season.

Anyways, I am now at 4 down and counting. Over Memorial Day weekend I went camping out at the Bird Creek campground with the ambition of doing at least two, and maybe three, hikes. I started off well enough with a hike up Bird Ridge on that Saturday that took almost 8 hours from start to finish; and brought home just how strong my fear of heights really is. However, the next day I could barely move around the campsite due to intense muscle pain in my quadriceps. I basically climbed a few thousand feet worth of steps on Saturday and was in no shape to go on any more hikes for the rest of that weekend. I actually was sore all the way through the following Thursday.

About my fear of heights; I have had thoughts about giving up based solely on my acrophobia. I know it's irrational, but the effects it has on me are completely real and could lead my to get hurt because I'm focusing on how high I am and not on what I'm doing. But for now, I will keep dealing with it and keep moving forward until I can't anymore.

And so, this past weekend I had a surprise birthday get together for my wife in the early afternoon, and then we had plans to have dinner with some friends that evening, so no hikes then. However, my friend Greg and I decided to go and climb Flattop on Sunday. It was my first time ever up there. Again my acrophobia started to kick in, but only near the top where the "trail" was snowed in and the choices were to walk on melting snow and mud, or scramble on hands and feet on the rocks which are notorious in the Chugach for being, shall we say, less than stable. I did pretty good except for when I had to look down to make sure of my footing. Then my heart would start pounding, my breathing would speed up and my vision would narrow. Then I would look back up and I would be fine. I've discovered that if I'm looking down a slope, I do fine, it's when it's straight down, or very nearly, that I have these issues. The view from the top was spectacular however, and I think I might go up again later after the snow has completely melted.

The thought of going back down the scramble was just too much for me, so we went down the saddle towards peak two, and then turned left and went down the backside of the mountain, Which was a steep, but not vertical, slope and ended up on the powerline road, which we walked back to the parking lot.

This gave me an opportunity to see O'Malley peak, the Ramp and the Wedge, three more of my hikes.

The next day was Monday, but I had taken it off from work. So I decided to go for a hike. My feet were a little sore, and some of my muscles protested, but I wasn't walking around like an old man like I did after Bird Ridge. After taking a hot shower and walking around the house a little bit, I felt up to going for a hike. But which hike to do? It would be my first solo hike thus far, and I didn't want to make my wife worry about me. I also didn't want to have to test myself overly much while alone. I decided to try and do Wolverine Peak. I hiked it a few years ago with some friends, so I knew I could do it. I also had a good idea what I was getting myself into, so off I went.

It wasn't until I got all the way to the parking lot that I realized that I had left my small day pack as well as my trekking poles at home. So I decided to go as light as possible to see what kind of time I could make.

I was just getting ready to head out when a nice lady named Michelle asked me if I know where the Middle Fork trail was. I pulled out my map of the park and saw that it branched off from the Wolverine trail after a couple miles. She asked if I minded if her and her dog walked with me that far. It seems she was supposed to meet some coworkers, but had been running late, and they had left ahead of her. She then told me that she had been in the Campbell Airstrip Rd. area the day before and had seen two different bears with cubs, and she was nervous walking alone. When we got to the trail fork, she opted to stay with me and go up Wolverine.

It was nice not being alone, it was also nice not being the slowest one in a group. Once we got above the treeline to a "ridge" that makes an ideal resting place, the wind kicked up something fierce, dark clouds rolled in,I didn't have a jacket, and Michelle and her dog were both dead tired. It was also getting into the evening hours with me having to work early the next day and needing a couple hours to walk back. We decided to call it a day and started back down. We got back down and headed to out homes. So I didn't complete a hike on the list, but I met a nice lady, re-learned my lesson about Alaska weather, and got an idea what I would be in for to get it done.

I'm looking forward to this weekend to go out, and thinking about what I might be able to do in an evening after work. I'm glad my drive and optimism are back.

Until next time...

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear you are safe and sound... may i suggest a onepage checklist BEFORE you leave the house :) it might save you some time and trouble and cause you to think about what you require and need during the hike. Keep up the good work, Dad