Like I said yesterday, my hike was sick. Let's start from the beginning.
I woke up at the ungodly hour of 7:10 a.m. When I wake up before 10:00 on a Saturday, you know it's for something important.
Full of positivity.
I'm sort of obsessed with getting places early, so I left to Eagle River much earlier than I needed to. The plan was to meet at a liquor store in front of one of the grocery stores there. I got there fifteen minutes early and decided to hit up the bathroom to kill some time. Well, I came out, sat in my car for a while, and was thinking about what a bunch of slackers the rest of the group was because they weren't there yet. 8:45 came and went and there was still no sign of anyone else, so I finally looked at the stupid piece of paper I had penciled down the meet-up info on. Turns out, we were supposed to meet at Walmart and not Carrs, where I was. Shit. Fortunately, I had had the foresight to write down someone's number so I was able to call them and have them wait for me. A great first impression!
The group was really nice about waiting up for me and we dropped cars off where they needed to go (we were doing a point-to-point so needed cars at both ends). Then we were off!
Initially, I was so hot. It was 11 degrees when we set out, but I was baking so started laughing about how I had brought an embarrassing number of layers, and was kicking myself for having to carry the extra weight. But in the end, this was a very good idea (that's foreshadowing, folks!).
We started going up, up, up,
Let the instagramming commence - sorry.
and once we hit the top of the first hill, the wind started. It actually wasn't that bad for the group I was with, but it was cold enough that we didn't sit long before getting moving again.
The scenery was breathtaking. If you don't like pictures of kickass mountains, get out of here, because there will be a lot from hereon out.
Scenery like this is why I hike. It's why I wake up at 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday to drive for 45 minutes to go meet randos from the internet, despite being really awkward around people I don't know. To me, it's all worth it to spend a day looking at this.
Anyway, my group found a lower trail to bypass a little bump on the way to Mt. Significant, the first peak we were slated to climb. We reached a nice little nook before the other group and waited... and waited... and waited. Finally, the others started trickling in, and they all looked completely shell-shocked. All they could do was curl up and mutter about how bad the wind was. I had a hard time sympathizing because I had been sheltered from the worst of it. It was at this point that most of the people in this group decided to turn around. Major props to the few who continued after experiencing that.
We got up to continue on, and suddenly the wind hit us. It was so cold. In less than 30 seconds, my entire face had gone numb. I couldn't even speak. It was at this point I put on the face mask I was desperately hoping I wouldn't have to wear. I looked like a twat, but it was really a lifesaver. It felt like it was around 0 degrees, but that's probably way off. The wind chill was cold, yo.
I stole this picture from someone else. Don't sue me. Face masks - the must-have fashion accessory of the future! I swear I wasn't actually this unhappy, I think I just had sun in my eyes. I think.
Funny side story - one of the women I was hiking with had brought her dog, and soon after we started hiking the dog disappeared. She told me it was normal for her to disappear for hours at a time, so although I was kind of worried about it, I kept it to myself. Well, about an hour later we were moving along the ridge and saw in the distance three or four white balls screaming down the side of a mountain farther along the ridge, followed by, you guessed it, this dog. She was chasing sheep down a mountain about a mile away from where we were. It was hilarious. Literally ten or fifteen minutes later, she was back with us and stayed by our side for the rest of the hike. Ridiculous.
Derg. Thank GOD she didn't have any signs of sheep blood on her. Apparently she's been known to kill a marmot or two.
The wind came and went, and we continued our way along the ridge. We went up Significant and continued on towards Magnificent (the other peak we wanted to bag), climbing over terrain that was, at times, somewhat iffy.
Stole another one. What can I say, they're good photos!
Is it annoying that all my instagrammed photos have different filters or whatever? Sorry.
It became apparent that we didn't have time to go up Magnificent as we had planned, so we decided to descend into a valley to the trailhead where we were to finish. We cut it extremely close and finished with literally 5-10 minutes of light left. Good thing we took the shorter route! I gotta say, though, watching the sun set and the moon rise was pretty spectacular and a rare treat.
I'm not sure of the exact mileage, but I think it was around 14 miles. A fantastic day! Significant was 5,400 feet, and I think total elevation gain and loss was something similar. Next time we'll have to try this hike in the summer when we have more sunlight. It gets dark around 7:00 these days, which really limited us. Not gonna lie, though, I was pretty sore by the time we were done. I'm not sure how that extra mileage would have gone.
To anyone in the Anchorage/Valley area, do this hike! We started at Ram Valley, headed up Significant, and continued along the ridge towards Magnificent. If you've got the time, hit Magnificent and head back down to the Mile Hi trailhead. Make sure you give yourself a good chunk of time to do it. We were out for a total of eight hours, although there was a fair amount of stopping along the way.
Like I said, I'm sore, but I'm going to see if I can get in a run today, preferably on flat ground. I was hoping for 5 but I'll have to see what my body tells me. I'm thinking it may just tell me to fuck off.
Some more pictures, because I can:
A repeat. Deal with it.