Sunday, August 22, 2010

I love the sunshine & McHugh Peak

Recently I read an article about how Anchorage has beat the record for the most rain EVER in one summer.  It also explained how it has been the 10th coldest summer on record.  This explains a lot to me.  Being that I knew no different, I was trying to take it with stride - bundling up each morning and drinking lots of hot tea - making the most of it.  I never realized how much I enjoyed the sunshine...until I never got to see it. 

Praise the Lord, though, the rain went away and the sun came out the last 3 days.  It was such a rare event, Matt and I both got off work early on Thursday and Friday to get outside and enjoy the weather.  I could just stand in the sun and soak it in for hours (which I did when Matt and I dragged our little table and chairs to the big lawn for lunch where the sun was shining). 

We also went to enjoy the mountains...because hiking in sunshine is so much more enjoyable than in the rain!

Thursday, when we both got off about 2:30, we hiked Flattop - one we had done before but knew it was a good 3 hour hike since I had to work the next day. The parking lot at the trailhead was packed.  I mean cars were everywhere fighting over spots.  It reminded me of a shopping mall on black Friday. Each man for himself. (Can you tell I'm going through shopping withdrawals?) 

But it was beautiful.

Mocha is getting really good at this hiking thing. Though her bad hip wears her out towards the end.  We forced her to the top this time around.  The summit is so steep, Matt had to literally pick her up and I had to pull her collar to help her get up a few spots.  My overprotective side kinda freaked out a few times, as well did Mocha.  But the views from the top were worth it (as always). 

Then Saturday we decided to do a peak climb.  McHugh Peak.  I think this qualifies as my favorite hike yet.  It was very challenging (basically hiking straight up about 4,000 feet), but the views were incredible!  We hiked along a ridgeline - with the valley one one side and Anchorage on the other.  A thick fog rolled through on our way up. There were several times we couldn't see anything within 20 feet around us, kinda eerie with nobody else around, but every once in awhile the fog would clear and we could see...yes, there is still another peak to climb over...

Enjoying the short-lived view of the other side when the fog cleared a bit

Enjoying the small accomplishments of reaching a ridge

It was intense, but when we reached the top, God blessed us, and the skies cleared and we could see for miles and miles.  It is one of the higher peaks around and which was obvious as the sights. 

We were all tired once we reached the car...well almost reached the car.  About 50 feet from the trailhead and our vehicle, Mocha decided she was too tired to contine and laid down. 

We could not get her to get up and come for the life of us!  I ended up hiking back up and having to carry her 70lb body a part of the way down before she realized that the car and a ride home was awaiting her tired self.

As challenging as it was, this hike ranks in the top of what we've experienced up here. I think this is one that we'll have to do again when company comes calling.  Get prepared. :)

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