Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Crossing Part I

We began our Alaskan adventure in the Chugach National Forest. Tasked with completing the Crow Pass Trail in two days, I confess, I was on edge from the get go. What about bears? Would seven granola bars suffice if we had to stay an extra day? How am I going to carry a 40lb backpack 27 miles?

Fiddling through my backpack and anxiously awaiting our destination, I knew my fate was sealed for me right around the the time we began navigating a remote, unforgiving, narrow dirt road one mile from the Crow Pass trail head. There was no turning back.

Around ten o'clock a.m we met up with the other two hikers and began assembling the last of our 40 pound backpacks. A few group photo's were taken, a couple "don't get eaten by a bear" jokes were cracked, and shortly there after we started our ascent to a higher elevation.

The initial climb was undeniably intense. Straight uphill, one of the more "in shape" members of our party confessed that he was already winded. As a result we took a brief rest. Shortly after recovering our winded lungs we came upon a section of the trail with several inches of snow.

One of the more distinct memory's that I have of the initial part of this hike was a cave that was carved out of snow by a bear that Sal had pointed out.

Here it was mid June and I was laboriously trudging through several inches of snow admiring bear caves. Where the hell was I, this is so foreign?

After several hundred more feet, aching legs complimented by sore backs we reached the three mile marker ..."the cabin".

From here it was less of a climb per say and more of an endurance of will power, nerves, and shear energy.

I honestly do not remember much from this point until we reached the first snow crossing (perhaps 2-3 more miles?). The first few crossings were hairy to say the least but in retrospect absolutely manageable.

Equipped with all the latest REI gear that a DC suburbanite hiker can get his hands on, one thing became apparent, I was completely unprepared for and lacked equipment for anything beyond these easy snow crossings.

Contintued in next blog...

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