Our Epic Journey

On Friday, Mike and I took a mini-holiday and tramped up the mountains behind our property. That’s been on our To-Do list since we built our house and moved in 3 years ago. It occurred to us that summer is almost over and we have done no recreating in our beautiful state. None. Zero. Bupkiss. So we shut off the computer, made a few peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches, and laced up our hiking boots.

Every day we walk to the mailbox, we pass a trail that leads up into the hills. The trail is used primarily by snow machiners and 4-wheelers, especially in the fall during hunting season. Once it climbs up to a saddle between 2 mountains, it branches into many trails, leading hither and yon through the backcountry.

Our goal was to walk the ridge behind our property, and perhaps stand atop the highest peak.


As we neared the saddle, we happened upon a patch of raspberries. Yum! A gal needs energy to climb a mountain, so we stopped and picked some.


I was surprised at how narrow the ridge is. It was more narrow than this in places.


This is a game trail we’re following. We saw lots of sheep tracks, and other evidence (i.e. scat) of fox, coyote, moose, probably ptarmigan, and maybe owl.

I’m standing on the right “peak” in this picture; you have to look closely. We’re headed to the left peak. It’s the high spot on this ridge.


It turns out to be quite steep to the highest peak–a 4-limb (hands and feet) effort–but within our comfort zone.


And the view from the top is spectacular. I’m watching sheep below us through binoculars, and getting a closer look at the snow-covered peaks, glaciers, and ice field to the south. We watched a golden eagle, raven, and harrier soar far below us.


This is looking back at the ridge we traversed to get to our lookout peak. See how narrow it is?


We went up the far side of this peak, and came down on this side. Notice the 2 scree slopes beneath the rocky part. We came down the right one, clinging to the dark ridge of rocks above the scree. It was steep–a 4-limb creep-and-slide down–but do-able.


And we continued on the ridge, looking back, pleased with our accomplishment.

Then the camera battery pooped out.

Instead of returning along the known trail, we opted to make a loop of it, bushwhacking down a loooooong steep hill to our neighbor’s property. My legs were jelly by the time we were a quarter of the way down. It was tough going: lots of tripping on and in brush, stepping in unseen ruts and holes, twisting and turning of ankles and knees. But again, it was do-able; although, we’re not likely to re-do that particular portion of the trek!

When we stumbled out of the brush at last, I walked like a toddler on wobbly legs. I longed to walk uphill, which I got to do before reaching home. On the way, we stopped at a stream, took off our shoes and socks, and plunged our feet into the freezing-cold water. Mike was reluctant, but I knew how refreshing it would be. It perked my blistered feet right up and they were content on the short trip home.

It was a beautiful day!

Where to next?!

Categories: Alaska

9 replies »

  1. You write so well – it reminds me of the winter journals and illustrated too. How exciting!

  2. Jen,
    Your father sent me your blog. (If I knew what a “Blog” is), and it was just great. I envy you having such wonderful senery so close to home. The pictures were just super.
    Each day is a gift. Enjoy it and the people you meet.

  3. Aw, shucks, you guys! Thanks.

    I like having pictures on the blog, too–it’s way more interesting! I’ve never been one to take many pics, but I’m trying. All I do is point and shoot, though. For more than that we’ve got to get Mike on board.

  4. Jenny, this is great. So interesting, so articulate, and such great photos. It was great of your Dad to share this. Still hope one day to make a trip to Alaska to visit you.

  5. Wahoo! That sounds like a lot of fun! A couple of friends and I went trudging down lowly Aquia creek here in Virginia—but climbing up a steep hill like that beats the creek. I will come up there someday!