Category Archives: Grand Adventures

Alaska the Easy Way

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Not bad for foothills.  Tokosha Mountains, AK.

My first trip to Alaska didn’t last nearly long enough.  That said, my wife planned a heck of a trip in a tight time window.  We flew late at night from Portland to Anchorage.  After a few hours sleep, we ate breakfast at a nearby café which included reindeer sausage.  Yep.  Soon enough we had a rental car and headed north.  Talkeetna, here we come.  As soon as we passed the city limits, mountains loomed to the north and east. The forests were not as dense as those I am accustomed to in Oregon and Washington.  The hemlocks and spruces were lovely, but on the small side.  No matter.  The scale of the land itself was cause for celebration. We stopped at a few different spots and saw stunning vistas.  Mountains, lakes, wildlife and cute towns.  I envisioned a hundred hikes on that two hour drive.

We arrived in Talkeetna a bit earlier than expected, and I moved up a flightseeing trip as a result.  Twist my arm.  Ten of us flew in a small plane courtesy of Talkeetna Air Taxi north to the Alaska Range.   From the braided Susitna River to the Ruth Glacier and a fly by of big peaks, I was in heaven.  We landed high on a glacier and gawked for fifteen minutes.  Immaculate snowy peaks with massive cliffs were everywhere. The weather was perfect for us, if a bit warm for alpinists.  For a mountain lover, this was almost a surreal experience, a bucket list trip to be sure.

Back in Talkeetna, Denise and I grubbed at Denali Brewing’s patio on a warm evening. They had a nice beer selection and great food.  Mostly I remember the peanut butter pie.  After exploring the town a bit more, including some unique street vendors, we retired to our room in the quaint Roadhouse. A nap was in order, but shortly after 11 p.m., we got up and headed out in search of the Aurora Borealis.  We found it nearby. My photos are not great, but I include one for reference.  Interestingly, there is a firm in Talkeetna that offers lesson on how to take photos the northern photos. Next time I will bring a better camera and take that lesson.

Not bad for one day.  Look for more photos soon, including some of spectacular  hiking in Denali National Park.  Happy hiking.

 

 

Pacific Crest Trail Tease

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I have intermittently dreamed about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail since I read Eric Ryback’s book about the trail when I was in high school.  Naturally, life has taken random twists and turns, I’ve done a lot other cool things, from climbing cliffs and bungee jumping to getting married on a mountain to becoming a firefighter and publishing my writing.  At my age, I’m not sure I can press pause on my life for five months it would require.  Perhaps one day…  Here is a tease I stumbled on today in which a hiker took a second-long video every day on the journey, which is compressed to a three-minute video.  I’ve seen another version of this, where a man took a selfie every mile on the trail.  It was interesting to see his face change, but I wanted to see the scenery more.  This clip does that. Enjoy–especially those of you about to embark on the trail.  If you can’t follow my link (and sorry about the ad), here’s the full URL:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=styiDn7YKhE