Monday, July 06, 2009

It Was Like Giving Birth......To Myself....

"What the hell is she talking about?" you might be asking yourself .......well, it went down like this.....
A few months ago, my friend "Sassy Nurse Heather" (who you might remember from the Beer Train episode) and I were talking about growing older, bucket lists, life goals..etc. And one thing that we both wanted to do was hike the Crow Pass Trail from Girdwood to Eagle River. Crow Pass is a 26 mile hike through some incredibly rugged, yet stunningly beautiful wilderness, replete with glaciers, glacial streams, waterfalls, mountains, wildlife,...you name it. So guess what. We did it!

We planned and prepped and initially had thought to do a three day backpacking trip, but then decided to cut it down to two days, thereby lightening the backpacks by at least a pound or so.

Here we are at the trailhead, don't we look cute!


Gratuitous trailhead waterfall beauty shot.
Heather was very excited!



The view back from where we came....

why yes, now I CAN say "I've looked at clouds from both sides now"

The wildflowers were spectacular! Wild columbine, lupine.....


Miniature Jacob's Ladder.....

The first four miles or so are uphill all the way....but at least this part of the trail had relatively good footing...

Narrow, and steep...then things got a little more...'interesting''!



More of the looking back from whence we came....

And get, this, a mountain goat wandered right down the trail in front of us to munch on a bit of grass. Why yes...thoughts of cashmere did go through my mind...and nerd that I am, I might have even voiced them to fellow knitter Heather..who being not so much the nerd, rolled her eyes.



There was lots of the shlepping across steep and slippery snow berms....
But we were rewarded with an amazing up close and personal view of the glacier...
STRONG IS BEAUTIFUL!
About 7 miles in and still feeling good!
So is Heather!



How could you not in the presence of this type of greatness.....
The trail became progressively rougher....
3500 feet above sea level...now we are at truly in "The Pass"
Not a glacier but still a beautiful scene...



Me and Heather having a Kodak moment!

I know, doubles, but this was so gorgeous I couldn't help myself...

And we kept on trekking.....
and trekking.....

Not so happy with the slippery, steep slopes.....
In fact, after the third one, my knees were visibly shaking.....but still we kept going...and the terrain became even rougher...lots of sharp protruding rocks....



yep...lots of rocks...aka ankle busters...

with the occaissional 100 feet of decent trail just to give you hope...
amazing terrain.....

and this was only the tiny glacial stream we had to cross....so cold it stings...and then makes you go numb....and a two city block wide one yet to cross.......







It was an indescribable first day....we crossed this bridge and continued on to set up camp on the river bank...a total of just under 13 miles the first day. I was whipped. I'm waiting for someone else's pics of day 2...my camera battery died. Let's just say Day 2 was even more physically challenging....and I think my 40 lbs of backpacking stuff doubled it's weight. We crossed a big cold glacial river, crossed ravines on single peeled log bridges by holding onto a rope above our heads, and used knotted ropes to pull our sorry butts up and down steep gullies. More glaciers, more waterfalls, more incredible scenery. Oh, and we ran into not one...but two...black bears, one only 80 feet away. But I will save that part of the tale for the accompanying photos. Until then...I will tell you, I've only ever been so tired, so sore, so exhilarated and so dang amazed once before...and that was when I gave birth to my daughter. This two day trip gave me back my faith in my physical abilities. And, guess what, we are planning another big adventure in 3 weeks!

16 comments:

Grace said...

WOW You are awesome!

Suzann said...

I think YOU are the most amazing thing in Alaska!

Arctic Knitter said...

You go girl! I haven't done Crow Pass in about 10 years - your photos are the siren song to return. Can't wait to hear about day 2! Can you believe people actually run this trail in a day? Crazy!!!

Scrabblequeen said...

Awesome places, awesome hikers. How cool that you 'believe' again!

Laura Jane said...

How stunning!

I love glacial and alpine sceneery, and I can imagine how treacherous it got undefoot.

BLACK BEARS? Yikes!!!!!!

You superwoman you! (both, and company)

Holly Jo said...

You are an inspiration! :) Congratulations on accomplishing such an amazing physical feat. Now you can casually say, "yeah, that reminds me of the time I was backpacking in Crow Pass...." :)

smariek said...

Love reading about the journey. Enjoyed the photos here and on FB. You are amazing.

quiltyknitwit said...

Good for you! And the pictures are awesome. What a fantastic experience!

junior_goddess said...

Wow! You bad-assed hiker, you! Better get the other hike in before the snow...

Heather said...

One of the BEST times of my life! Thank you for sharing the experience!!!

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Milly said...

how breathtaking!

em said...

holy crap - amazing photos! is this near Valdez? I visited there in May and the scenery looks similar (ie spectacular!)

holly o said...

Hey Cuz. YOU ROCK!!!!! awesome pics. Makes me want to come see you more so than usual. I miss you so much. I'll call soon. Gotta get ready for Emma's bday this weekend. holly

Tara said...

Lisa, where for art thou? Are you okay?

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