This post is coming from a place of total contentment, fulfillment and happiness, thanks to an incredible experience with incredible friends.
Four months back, when winter was still a thing we expected to happen, my girlfriends booked cabins on both ends of Resurrection Pass. We figured that we could ski the 39 mile trail with packs and sleds – a major haul, but with daylight and a whole season of skiing ahead of us – we could do it.
Well, physical abilities aside… Winter never really came to south central and a week or two ago, we started plotting details for the trip and we realized there was no skiing to be had. So… what are we going to do?
We’ve all through-hiked Resurrection and I don’t remember anyone feeling particularly warm to doing that again. So we settled on biking and based on reports of conditions mid-trail, decided to do an ‘innie/outtie’ trip – in to cabin #1, back out; drive around, in to cabin #2, back out.
This was my first ever mountain biking and bike-packing experience. So, silly me… I biked 4.5 miles to work Friday morning with all my gear and it took me ~30-35 mins to get there. I felt good, strong… And based on that, I figured it would take us ~1 to 1.5 hours to get to the Juneau Lake cabin (9 miles) Friday night.
Adam, Lisl & I left the Cooper Landing parking lot between 8 – 8:30 PM. The first three miles were where we gained the most elevation and it was muddy and dark and a total shakedown. You can imagine: we were pushing our bikes, laughing, cursing and sweating a ton. Overall though – a sweet experience. The moon rose while we were biking, there were owls and waterfalls and eventually we hit the sweet spot and cruised to Juneau Lake.
Juneau Lake is my favorite portion of trail on Resurrection. The trail follows the edge of the lake and in the summer, wildflowers grow like mad between the trail and water. It’s beautiful. That night, the moon was making shadows from the trees that stretched over the ice on the lake, the ice was groaning and creaking and it was cool and calm.
Finally, four hours after we left the car – Adam rounds a point on the lake and yells “We’re here!” and Stacia yells down from the cabin and we were finally done biking. It took Stacia, Tamra and Tyler about 4 hours to get there too – they had only been there for two hours. We broke out the whiskey, Girl Scout cookies and Easter candy and eventually crawled into our sleeping bags.
It was so nice the next morning, we spent more time outside of the cabin on the deck overlooking the lake than we did inside. We moved slow, but not from tiredness or laziness. I think more from a place of general happiness. The sun was out, everything looked nice and we were just having fun.
Around 1 PM, we took off for the parking lot. Juneau Lake was totally frozen, so we biked the ice to the trail at the end.
The ride back to the car was fun. The trail went between hardpack snow, ice, dirt, gravel and mud. We were kicking it up all over the place. Maybe less frequently than the night before, but still a few times, we had to get off and push our bikes through mud puddles or up slick hills. No shame in our game, we still did it!
Three hours later we were rolling into the parking lot at Cooper Landing. It didn’t take much for our group to decide to scrap the ride into Caribou Creek and head straight to Girdwood for beer, wings and pizza at Chair 5. 18 miles round-trip , uphill both ways… We were feeling good about ourselves and wanted to end on a high note.
Resurrection Pass was a great experience. The ride and trail were a blast, and I wouldn’t have wanted to go with anyone else. We laughed, we cursed, we ate a lot of candy, we eventually slipped into a food coma. There’s a joke in here somewhere about Jesus, Easter and the Resurrection, but I’m not coming up with anything good. If you think of something, add it in the comments.
Happy Easter all!