We made a bird friend. PSA: DON'T FEED THE ANIMALS (this is a rule my dad has yet to learn)
I mentioned yesterday that my dad and I had plans to go hiking near a town called Hope. Well, we didn't go to Hope. We went to Seward, which is 120 miles from Anchorage.
Let me explain. Before leaving out house, we looked at the weather. It was 8 below zero at that point, but the forecast had a high of 11 for Anchorage, so we figured it would warm up. Feel free to call us idiots for not looking at Hope's weather. We assumed it was the same.
We drove along the Seward Highway, which may quite possibly be the prettiest highway drive in the U.S., but is also unfortunately the most dangerous highway in the U.S. (if you look at accidents per mile). I could be not entirely right on this-don't quote me-but so many people are killed on this road each year. The road itself isn't that bad, really, but there aren't a lot of passing lanes so assholes in trucks try to speed past people while going around curves and inevitably crash head-on into someone in the opposite lane. This happens ALL THE TIME.
This is the only picture I got because I spent most of the time gripping my seat and staring at the road, willing cars not to hit us.
Anyway, when we stopped for gas about 30 miles outside of Anchorage, it was 4 below. Okay, not warming up as fast as we had hoped, but getting there. Literally two minutes later, the car's thermometer had dropped to 22 below. You read that right. The temperature dropped 18 degrees in a matter of minutes. I figured it had to be a mistake and looked up the weather on my phone. It confirmed that it was, in fact, cold as balls outside. Shit.
I kept waiting for my dad to turn us around, but to his credit, he had me check the weather in other nearby places to see what was going on. If nothing else, we could call it a scenic drive and be content. Surprisingly enough, Seward was allegedly enjoying temperatures around 20 above, which we didn't actually believe but decided to pretend we did. Seward it was!
A few years ago, a friend and I hiked to Lost Lake, a gem of a hike with spectacular views from the get-go, and I've always wanted to go back. There's actually a 15-mile run to the lake and back every August. I was kinda sorta scoping out the trail to see if I would ever be capable of doing it, and I think that I could (with a gazillion walking breaks, mind you). Unfortunately, if all goes to plan I won't be here for next year's race, so screw you, Lost Lake Run! Tangent over. You can approach the lake from two different sides, so my dad and I decided to leave from the trailhead closest to Seward since our car had the other trailhead at 12 below zero.
We knew we were in for a treat when, probably ten minutes in, we got a quick view of this guy:
As we continued up, the view got better and better.
Full disclosure: this was on the way back. If you think real hard, you can imagine us walking up it.
This is the same view, but it's still awesome.
The ascent felt pretty gentle, but on the way down I realized it was actually kind of steep. We probably gained somewhere around 1,500 feet. It's not as steep as Flattop, but seemed like a similar gain over a longer distance.
We had been hiking for about an hour and a half when we suddenly came upon a cabin. This was THE nicest cabin I've seen in the wilderness. On the outside, it looks like a legit nice house. IT HAD A HEATER (gas-powered) INSIDE. I'd live there.
We were entirely too excited about this cabin, but you have to admit, it's pretty awesome. It can be rented, and we have decided we have to go back at some point. This is an absolute necessity.
This belongs on cabin porn, right? They could have angled the cabin so I could get more of the view in, though. Rude.
We ate some lunch,
Flattering this is not. I was eating my sandwich.
talked to the birds (see photo above), and headed down. Before starting back to Anchorage, we took a short detour into Seward, which is so incredibly pretty. If you ever come to Alaska, go to Seward and Homer. Don't think, just go. Both are very maritime-y but surrounded by mountains. They've got the best of both worlds!
And eco-friendly! That's a wind turbine.
Then we hit the road back for the 2+ hour trip back to Anchorage. It was definitely a long way to drive for what turned out to be a short hike, but I'm so glad we got to do it!
And now I'm going to go bury my head in books.