In Lay Terms

Random Ramblings From a Church Nerd

Monday, August 20, 2007

Alaksa: Hiking in Denali

Today, we hiked a couple of trails in Denali National Park. First, we started off at the Horseshoe Lake Trail. It’s a nice little stroll that leads down to a lovely lake. After that, we decided we were up for a bigger challenge, so we hiked the Mt. Healey Overlook Trail. This one was 4.4 miles (round trip). My brother-in-law is a much better outdoorsman than the rest of us, so he led the way. Soon, we left my parents behind. The were climbing at a slower rate than the rest of us.

The first quarter of the trip was pretty nice. The trail was wide. The incline wasn’t too bad. However, after the first quarter (this is where there were little benches to take a rest), then the trail took a very steep nature. We walked up about 3000 feet as we tried to head toward the peak of the mountain. I was doing pretty well. My sister was usually behind me, and my Other Half was a ways behind her. Every so often they would just stop to take a break, and I had to let my brother-in-law know to stop as well (he was quite a trooper).

Just when I thought like I couldn’t go anymore, we were nearing the peak. It was an exciting moment. We got to the top. To celebrate, we broke out our food (trail mix and granola bars). We looked at the view. I attempted to take a nap (unsuccessfully).

Then, we noticed that the trail continued past this first peak that we did. There was a second peak, not visible from the ground. It was only a little higher than where we were, and the path looked pretty easy. So, we decided that we should go for the second, higher peak. That might have been a mistake. We were really dying by the time we got there. It also got very windy and cold. I had been chilly for most of the morning, but the climb had made me sweat. Now there was cold wind blowing over my sweat-soaked shirt. Brrrr.

We found a little space out of the wind. I took out my jacket (finally), and we settled in for lunch. My brother-in-law had picked up some bagels, cheese, and reindeer sausage (which, upon closer inspection, was really caribou sausage). That was our lunch. We ate it at the second peak of the mountain. At noon, we decided that we should start to head back. We made our way back to the first peak (the original goal) and found my parents there, watching us the whole time. I honestly didn’t think they were going to make it. We had asked people about them, and they told me stories of my mother lounging out on a rock, using it as a recliner. It was pretty fun to see them at the top.

After a while sitting with them (where I came closer to taking a nap), we started the descent. My Other Half and I ended up out in front. We tried to take it slow coming down, but gravity often got the better of us. We got back to the benches, where I finally fell asleep (for about 5 minutes). Then we walked back to the van and moved it to the visitor’s center, where we drank root beer while we waited for the rest of the family. They eventually showed up, and we headed out.

Back at our insulated tents (yup, that’s where we are staying), I laid down for about 15 minutes. When I got up, my back hurt to high heaven (it had already been hurting by the time I climbed down the mountain). But now my right knee was joining in the pain as well!

So I’m spending tonight scared to move my back or knee too much. I’m hoping we get better by tomorrow. There is a lot more to do. I knew that we would hike, but I had no idea how much I would be hurting by now.

I guess that’s what happens once you get over 30!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Ross, I'm sure saying "lots" of prayers for you tonight, hoping you don't get like you did a while back, when you missed Lion King & a Twins game. Take pain pill, don't try and tough it out. Gram

9:59 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home