When I was a young girl my summers where spent with dirt stained feet, walking through the cornfields with my first summer job and running out through the grass during a family game of kickball. The Minnesota landscape is flat for as far as the eye can see in my hometown. Upon my recent trip to Alaska I was in awe with the height of the mountain peaks that were interrupted by the flimsy, seemingly transparent clouds.
I stayed in the town of Wasilla during my time in Alaska. The mornings came early with my baby boy not used to the four hour difference from Central Minnesota to the far off land of Alaska. We awoke to a quiet house, playing hide and go seek in the covers until the girls awoke and left for work. We then went upstairs, to brew coffee and for him to start the day pulling oats, sugar and anything else he could find out of the cupboards.
On this Thursday the girls offered to take us down to Whittier, a town that is located two hours south of Anchorage, a drive that took you along the river and through a two and a half mile tunnel. We wanted to hike Portage Pass, a trail that started at sea level and approached 800 feet.
Arriving at the trail head I filled my backpack with a diaper, wipes, water bottle and snacks. Baby G fought his way to stay on the ground, while I tried to buckle him into the backpack. The trail was 800 feet, seemed simple right? The three women I was hiking with were all experience hikers, something that reminded I was not, but also proved to be inspiring.
100 feet: Holy, we made it to 100 feet already that seemed short and easy. I loved the moody, foggy clouds that blanketed the hills and mountains ahead.
200 feet: The Girls suggest that we should make a lot of noise to scare bears. Good luck with the Moose they will come find you anyways. After that tidbit of information I gabbed back and forth with Baby G, making sure to make plenty of noise.
300 feet: Feeling the burn throughout my hips, calf muscles, arms and heart. Cousin Kristi is relaying the story of her Belize trip, I am doing my best to keep up and using all my energy to respond to her.
400 feet: Is it to late to turn around?!
500 feet: One. Step. At. A. Time.
600 feet: Stopping for a breather and fresh water.
700 feet: Almost there, turning around to see stunning views and I am in fear of falling of this cliff because my mouth is hanging wide open, in awe.
800 feet: WE MADE IT. The first words out of my mouth “Wow, this was SO worth it.”
When we reached a flat head I set my pack down and took out Baby G. He immediately climbed over to the rock pile to pick up a rock in each of his hands, shoving it into his mouth to grind his teeth. I had my camera out, turning 365 degrees, snapping photos, thinking in my head that pictures will not do this place justice.
After half and hour the fog lifted and William Sound Bay was open for all eyes to see. It robbed my breath and made my heart thudder with an ever increasing beat that went faster and faster. It was alluring, frightening, fascinating, graceful and wild all at the same time.
The straight, uphill battle of a hike cleared my head and breathed mountain air into my soul and left me with a peaceful, calming feeling. The view gave me a sense of energy, yet begged me to stay for the afternoon and maybe into late evening.
As I began the walk down all I could of think of is that I could not of spent my day and better or more memorable.