Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hope, Alaska

I'll be the first to admit that using 'outdoorsy' and my name in the same sentence do not exactly go together (unless it involves a pool or a deck of some kind)...but being up here makes it almost impossible not to mix the two together.  I definitely was a slug during the winter compared to those I saw riding their fat tire bikes or wearing their cross country skis (to be fair, I DID go downhill skiing but that doesn't really count).  But having been through the *snowiest* winter on record, I feel I have a deeper appreciation for the beautiful, sunny days we are getting and agreed to go on an 11 mile (gulp) hike last Saturday.  I was assured it was an 'easy' hike (translation - not a lot of elevation increase), so I decided to give it a shot.  Plus it was exploring a new area for me...Hope, Alaska.
See where it says "Potter Marsh" just below Anchorage on the map?  I live sort of near there - up in the hills a bit, so on the map, I'm kind of to the right of Potter Marsh.  You can see where it says "Hope" just across the water of the Turnagain Arm, across from Rainbow's 'only' 15 miles from one side of the water over to Hope, and you can SEE Hope across the water from the Anchorage side...but there are no bridges, so you have to DRIVE all the way around the Turnagain Arm on the Seward Hwy (the red solid line) until you reach the Hope Hwy turn even though it's close, it's far (approx. 80 miles)...make sense? :)
 the view from the OTHER side of Turnagain Arm
 it was a beautiful day!  We were armed with bear spray as they are in the area, but the only evidence we saw of bear was some black, tar looking poop
 we had to cross this 'avalanche' of snow...and in other areas, there were muddy, boggy messes to slog through.  I had one mishap with my left shoe - it was squishy and gross as my foot sunk into the mud and covered the entire shoe, but that's what trail shoes are for, right? :)
 Mountain reflection in the water
 Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to hike we go...
 the U.S. Forest Service comes through and clears fallen trees from the trails but this tree was tall enough for us to walk under
 we didn't let an old, rickety bridge slow us down...
 we all made it safely across
 These plants are called "Devils Club" and I would NOT recommend reaching out blindly to grab them to help you balance as you're slogging through mud...I'm still trying to get nettles out of my hand and wrist...
 the tide was out as we reached the end of our hike at Gull Rock
 This was the only wildlife we saw...a Stellar Blue Jay
 He was a little scavenger and we could tell he was used to being around campsites as he quickly swooped in to catch whatever crumbs he could find
We stopped for lunch at our end destination, Gull Rock
 The Alaska Range (above)
 The Chugach Mountains (below)
I was hurtin' by the end of the hike...sore feet, sore knees, sore back...and a word of advice...or warning...however you want to take it....if you find yourself at a fork in the trail and some of the group thinks you should go to the left because that's the way you came but the leader of the group cuts you off and says you should go to the right because he "knows where he's going" but after about 15 minutes of hiking UP and further away from the campsite that was IN VIEW at the trail fork, that same leader says, "huh, I'd have thought this trail would have met up to the beginning by now", I cannot promise that I will exercise the same restraint I did on Saturday and not cause bodily harm to the arrogant SOB.  All I can say is, it's a good thing I don't have a gun...yet... :)

We DID make it back eventually...although we definitely added more time and length to our return trip (I'm not bitter about that, REALLY, I'm not...), and stopped in the actual town of Hope (population - 192) for refreshments...

This is how they serve beer on tap in Hope, AK...
 Hope was a gold mining town, established in 1889
This is the Social Hall, built in 1902 and still used today for various events.  It's a quaint town, in a beautiful area ~ was definitely a great way to spend the day...hike and all! :)


Mary said...

So excited for labor day weekend! So beautiful!

You know, if you'd had your Hunter boots on.... ;)

Melody said...

Love the pictures! And I think canning jars are perfect for serving everything - although some people in attendance here frown on using them for mimosas. Snobs! Thanks so much for sharing the pictures Melody. I love it.

atvmtngirl said...

So beautiful, 11 miles-I am so impressed!!! Gorgeous is all I can say about the views!

Tara said...

Great pictures, they are all beautiful!

ashley @ ashley's adventures in alaska said...

I've always wanted to go to Hope! Looks beautiful! I'm looking for a partner to do the hike across the bay here to the glacier lake... let me know if you head this way and I'll set up the water taxi across the bay (free) for us! :)

Melody said...

Mary - I KNOW...if only Hunter boots made hiking / rain boots - that would be perfect!

Ashley - I booked my groupon halibut fishing trip for mid-July...and my friend Mary is coming to visit over Labor Day weekend and we're doing a bear viewing tour (another groupon) - so excited about doing that one! I'll let you know if I end up down your way for the glacier hike!

Tiffany said...

It's generally men who insist they're going the right direction and refuse to listen to anyone else . . . although I did once lead some teenagers on a long, long, long (much longer than it should have been) hike around Estes Park. Whoops. ;)