Sunny Sunday on Peak 3 and Flat Top (3/4/2012)

Originally when I started this blog I pictured writing about all my epic ski adventures in the AK mountains.  Well dreams were more or less shattered (literally and figuratively) when I dislocated my elbow and broke my arm this fall.  I was told by my surgeon that I would not be skiing this season.  Well, after 5 months of physical therapy, and a LOOOOTTTT of work I am back at full force skiing and even rock climbing!  Below is a picture of my radial head replacement, yes I am partially made of metal now!

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Anyways, as most of you know, this winter in Alaska has not been short on snow and I have had some of the most epic powder days (both resort and back country).  Today was one of those unexpected, bluebird, powder days that tops my list for the season and I just had to tell the story!  It was too epic not to dedicate an entire post to it.  See, I was planning on heading to Alyeska, but they only reported 2″ of new snow and high winds so last minute, Brian and I decided to head to Peak 3.  The skies looked clear and it had snowed in Anchorage non-stop for the last 2 days, so we figured there was bound to be fresh snow… and alas, it was there waiting for us!

The skin up was unbelievably beautiful!  Apparently, no one got the bluebird, powder memo and we had the whole mountain to ourselves for a bit! Peak 2 and 3 are both straight ahead of Brian.

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Brian and Nuna STOKED on the fresh snow!

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Looking up towards Peak 3..Image

Brian breaking trail up towards Peak 3.

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Looking out towards Turnagain arm and down at the powder stash waiting for us 🙂

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I take over the lead for a bit…

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At the Top of Peak 3!

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Brian getting the helmet cam ready for the ride down

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View from the top

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360 view from the top!

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The pic above is me at the top of Peak 3 right before dropping into an amazing run on my K2 Coomba teles!  Brian got some good helmet cam footage of it too.  Unfortunately, we could only get one run in because of prior engagements but we left some truly memorable pow turns behind us.

Problem with a powder junkie is that one run is never enough and the better it is, the more you need it.  That’s why when Seth called me (after I returned home from adventure #1) to go do a winter summit of Flat Top, my only response was “can I bring my skis??”

So Seth met me at my house and we were off to Flat Top for a Sunday afternoon hike/ski!  Here’s Seth at the start of the Flat Top trail (summit is middle center- the flat one!)

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Theme of the day: “Dirty!!!!”  We were skiing dirty dirty mountains with dirty mountain men (see below) and Boulder hippies. pure dirt.

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Seth decided to take his own route and left me to suffer post-holing up some REALLY sketchy terrain!

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not so sketchy,

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sketchy! it’s steeper than it looks…

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I met Seth at the saddle and we made our way up the ridge line… looking towards the summit (moon is in the background)

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Conquering the world, one climb at a time!

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Seth told me to be “steezy” this is what I did….

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Looking up towards the top, I dropped in on my skis just to the right.

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Better angle on how steep it was up there…

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We made it to the top but it was getting cold and I was getting anxious to get skis off my back and onto my FEET! Seth got video of me dropping in and I got some video of him sliding down!

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We both had a very fun and quick decent!

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We got back to the car just in time for sunset…

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Panorama view of Flat Top and the ocean:

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Unfortunately, the lower mountain had some hidden rocks and I was a sad skier when we reached the parking lot and I found some nice core shots to my Coombas.  They are getting some love in the shop now and should be ready for the next ski adventure soon!

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Until then, this weekend warrior will be dreaming of what next weekend will bring!!!

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Posted in Skiing!, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

McCarthy for Labor Day

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A long standing, college tradition came to a pause this summer when I made the decision to move to Alaska.  For the last 5 years, labor day weekend has meant Dave Matthews at the Gorge.  This year, with the focus on my move and my new job, I accepted the fact that I would have to miss the show.  Fortunately, I came to terms with spending my weekend partaking in what I can only describe as a close second to Dave at the Gorge: McCarthy for Labor Day!  Replace the Columbia River with the Kennicott Glacier, replace thousands of tents with about 30 tents, replace the steep river canyon with steep Alaskan mountains, replace the huge outdoor ampitheater with a tiny local bar, replace the fear of getting lost in a jungle of people with the fear of getting lost in the woods (add bears), and replace dresses and flip flops with dresses and boots (add long underwear).  Other than those few small differences, these two weekends seemed all together too similar: good friends, good music, good booze, camp stove creations, sleeping in tents, and long walks back to the campsite after dancing for hours. 

Friday, I got off work early and after a painful trip to Fred Meyer where everyone and their moms were shopping for the weekend, we (Cait and I) purchased a much needed stash of IPAs and hit the road.  The first 200 miles aren’t bad but the last 60 miles to McCarthy are on a narrow dirt road with max speeds at 30 mph.  It was dark and that segment of the drive seemed to go on forever.  We had good tunes, good attitudes, and good beer to distract us along the way (Cait drank, I sang).  We FINALLY arrived at what was labeled “base camp” and coincidently pulled into a spot next to our friend Sam and his roomie.  Love when life works like that (also happens at the Gorge).  We set up camp and passed out. 

In the morning light, our surroundings were completely new to us and GORGEOUS!!!  We decided to walk to McCarthy to see the town and grab some coffee before the race.  It was the 10th annual McCarthy 6 mile and half marathon which started at Glacier View campsite and weaved on the Wagon Trail through the woods up to Kennicott and then back down on the dirt road to finish in downtown McCarthy.  By far the MOST beautiful race I have ever run.  Amazing views of glaciers and fall color change and many miles in deep forest with plenty of high bush cranberries to eat on the way (maybe too many cranberries!) haha.. I finished with a time of 1:55 which is 1 minute slower than my last half marathon but I blame that on the rocky trails and uphill course.  I was actually shocked to hear my time because I felt as if I was moving so slow due to the difficult course and the breathtaking views.

After the race, we walked the mile back to the campsite and made some dinner before indulging in some tequila- yes dad, you taught me well!  We hung out with the boys (Sam and Erik) and made friends with the lovely girls camping next to us (Irene and Meaghan).  Then the 6 of us walked into McCarthy just before dark to dance the night away to live bluegrass.  WHAT A BLAST!!!  Not sure what time we stumbled back to the campsite but I am glad that Irene brought her industrial sized flashlight. 

Sunday we had no plans at all but also no intention of leaving any time soon.  The morning was lazy, cold, and rainy.   At one point we discussed crawling back into our sleeping bags but then decided it would be better to rally and go see Kennicott.   Breakfast consisted of cowboy coffee and scrambled pancakes… We were smart enough to bring pancake mix, a pan, and mixing bowl but we forgot spatula and cooking oil.  Haha… so there was no flipping of the pancakes.  You know what I always say: when your omelette doesn’t work, what do you do?! YOU MAKE SCRAMBLED! done. (and this absolutely applies to pancakes)!

Anyways, the boys set off on their own glacier adventure and us 4 girls took the noon shuttle into Kennicott.  Kennicott is an old abandoned mining town that is stationed on a hill above the vast Kennicott glacier.  Other than the lodge and the info center the town looks as though it has been untouched since the day everyone left.   

We hiked about 2 miles down to where the Root glacier meets the Kennicott glacier.  The Kennicott glacier looks like miles and miles of dirt piles when really it’s just a glacier covered in dirt from the many years carving through the mountains- super interesting (definitely unlike any glacier I have ever been on before)!  So we played on the foot of the Root glacier as much as we could without crampons before heading back to Kennicott.  We spent some time exploring the abandoned buildings before exhaustion took over from the adventures of the previous day and we hopped on the next shuttle back to McCarthy for nap time in the tents.

Sunday night was a low-key repeat of Saturday night.  The local bar opened their doors again and everyone piled in for more live music and beer.  Sam and I left to explore the town and ended up in the hostel next door to the bar.  When the bar shut down the music, all the local musicians ended up in the cramped lobby of this hostel and the show kept going.  We were the only ones there not holding BOTH a glass of bourbon and an instrument.  haha… the private show was great and went on for hours before we made our way back to the tents.  That’s when we found the helicopter in the woods!  Another GREAT night in McCarthy with good friends!

Monday consisted of a late morning and a long drive back to Anchorage.  Cait and I had a blast on the road as always!  My life would not be nearly as fun without that girl’s brilliant attitude and non-stop laughter.  I could not have survived this move without her and now we get to play every day in Alaska together!!

It was on this trip that I started to realize my life in Alaska still feels like one big vacation. 

I live in a giant playground.  🙂 

 

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Alaska or BUST!

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Well I’m officially over 1 month in…

I should have started this blog long ago.  Alas, I am here now and will try to get caught up on the already ridiculous adventures I have had, starting with MOVING TO ALASKA!!!  The pictures are from my trip up through the US, picking dad up in Spokane, driving through Canada, and our first few days in Alaska together.  THANKS DAD!!!!

I don’t really know how I got here.  I think I have been talking myself into it for over a year now.  Knowing that if I said it outloud enough, it might actually happen.   If you know me, you know that I follow through (proof! I just moved to Alaska bitches!)  At first, ending up in Alaska was the result of a lot of things not going my way and a very circumstantial order of events that lead me into the door of CRW engineering group in Anchorage, Alaska.  Also, a good friend (Cait) putting the idea into my head, the goal of wanting to leave my beautiful home state of Colorado for an adventure and the need to make some money to pay off student loans in this crappy economy.  All of a sudden, Alaska was starting to sound like a better and better idea.  All of these things combined together into a crazy mix and all of a sudden I am in my car in Spokane getting pulled over for speeding on my way to the airport to pick up my dad so we can drive through Canada together.  AWESOME!  (didn’t know sparky had it in him!)

I somehow made it here and the last month has been a mix of tears, ridiculous hikes, good food, good beer, lots of working, and trying to get as much out of the sunlight while we still have it.  There’s been a lot of growth… my first day at work quickly became my first month, new acquaintances became friends, friends became good friends, short runs turned into long ones, day hikes turned into weekend trips, and more and more this place is feeling like home! Alaska is amazingly beautiful.  More so than I ever thought possible.

I am not sure how this move fits in with my life path but as Cait always says… it’s better to do something that will result in ridiculous stories than something that won’t (or something like that).  haha

I figure someday we can look back and say… hey, remember when we moved to ALASKA?!?

This is my ridiculous story…

Posted in AK adventures, Uncategorized | 2 Comments