Saturday, July 4, 2009

Death Hike to Raven Glacier

The following refers to day nine of our journey: Sunday, June 28th.

Marc had Sunday off, so he took us for a hike. Marc, Superhiker Extraordinaire, took us on a hike. I should have been scared. Fortunately, I was too excited for the chance to see more of Alaska’s treasures to fully comprehend the word “hike” and its horrific implications. We geared up and headed out around 9:00 am. The hike starts near Girdwood, so we headed back in that direction. On our way, we saw a moose in Potter Marsh! Marc stopped so we could take a few pictures.
We headed back out, and by the time we reached Girdwood I was getting pretty drowsy…not a good sign! I had to pinch myself to stay awake, lol. We pulled into the parking lot, and I gave myself a mental pep-talk. Usually I am not so thrilled about hiking, but every once in a while I manage to convince myself it’s not a bad idea. This happened to be one of those times…I was bound and determined not to let this hike get the best of me. We started out and things looked promising.
The hike is entirely uphill until the return journey, so I knew it wouldn’t be easy going up. But I realized that all I had to do was survive the initial ascent; everything afterwards would be a cakewalk. And truthfully, it wasn’t too bad most of the way. There were several beautiful waterfalls, and the mountains were lovely.
The air was nice and cool; not only that, but there was plenty of it! Not like Utah where the air is so thin that you find yourself winded just getting up from the couch! Okay maybe that’s just cuz I’m really out of shape; nonetheless, hiking at sea level is a very pleasant experience in that regard.
Once we got nearer to the top, things started becoming rather strenuous. I huffed and puffed, muscles screaming and joints hollering the entire time. Marc didn’t break a sweat…I’m pretty sure he’s super-human. 090628_5317
We reached the summit and then traveled a bit further to see the glacier. It was amazing!
Click here to see Marc's photo of us at the glacier. We look hammered, lol.
This sight definitely made the huffing and puffing worthwhile. We stopped and ate sandwiches, relaxing and gearing up for the return journey. I marveled at what a difference the temperature made…I’m fairly certain if we had done this hike in Utah, I would have died. My will to live would have evaporated in the heat, and that would have been the end of Rachie. However, the brisk temperature actually made things considerably more comfortable. Maybe, if I lived in Alaska, I might actually like to hike! What a concept!

After a nice little lunch break, we headed back for round two. I was looking forward to this part because my legs were tired of climbing…I couldn’t wait to use my “descent” muscles for a change.
This portion of the hike definitely went much quicker…although Marc and Hunter were way too quick for me! There are some rather treacherous parts where the ground is basically gravel consisting of large rocks. These rocks shift around quite a bit, so I moved very carefully through this portion. Marc and Hunter fairly ran…how they did this without twisting an ankle is beyond me! I managed to pick my way through this section, and then we were on solid ground once again. Before I knew it, we were back at the parking lot! I was definitely tired, but it was a good, satisfying feeling. I had earned this fatigue!

We stopped for ice cream in Girdwood…I had a flavor called Glacier that was delicious! Then we headed back to Anchorage. This time, I absolutely could not keep my eyes open the entire way, and found myself nodding off. Somehow I managed to make it from the car to the bedroom, and the rest is a blur…lol! My body was in shock from so much exercise. Hunter and I both conked out for several hours. I’m not even sure Marc sat down during this time! He even made dinner, while Hunter and I rubbed our bleary eyes and wondered where he got his energy.

After dinner I took a few photos of Dane, who is an absolute cutie.
I also got a couple shots of Ann & Marc. I love these guys.
Hunter wanted to go find a pond and run his boat, since he didn’t get the chance yesterday. We also wanted to get one last view of the town before heading out in the morning. We ended up at Westchester Lagoon, where Hunter was able to take Old Yeller for a spin.
We went to Walmart to pick up a few drinks and such, and then headed back home and called it a day. I can hardly believe the Anchorage portion of our trip is at an end, and we are starting the last leg of our journey tomorrow. It’s hard to leave Anchorage knowing it could be several years before I see my dear friends again. That’s the downside of this journey; I knew before we left that it would be hard to say goodbye! I also don’t want to see this adventure come to a close. If I had my way, we’d be on the road every day!


Nathan and Esther said...

I'm so glad that you lived through that hike! what amazing pictures!

Sandy said...

I'm impressed with the exercise you got, Rachie! Maybe this will inspire you to get running again! LOL!

Jess said...

Those mountains don't look real! They kind of remind me of a black and white spotted dog... or a cow. LOL! They look really cool, they just don't seem real.

ang said...

i am loving your vacation. are you bringing back a bunch of slides to show at the barkers??

ps i'm glad you didn't die.

Marc said...

You guys kicked butt on the hike. You left out the part of the day where you helped us out with Dane when we had to get to the doctor. It was nothing, fortunately, but your help and kindness still meant the world. Thanks x 100, Rachael. Move to AK!

Smiley Family said...

Simply stunning photos! What a trip. I liked what Marc said about nobody ever driving up to see them - only you two!! What a great adventure. This is going to make one awesome book and I can't wait to see it!