If you’re a hardcore Alaskan, or even a go-getting Alaskan, you might be scoffing at the idea of “bagging” Baldy. Admittedly, I’m scoffing a little. But hey! Summits are summits, and sunny days in Alaskan fall weather are not to be taken for granted.
There’s termination dust on the higher peaks in south-central AK, and my boondocking parents are getting ready to hightail it out of Alaska and toward warmer climates. As a last hurrah, we opted outside for Labor Day and hiked Baldy Mountain in Eagle River. The sun was shining and the trail was clear, making it a beautiful send off for these two.
We followed the directions in “50 Hikes in Alaska’s Church State Park” to get to the trailhead (available in local retailers, if you’re interested). They describe the hike as two (2) miles roundtrip, gaining ~ 1,100 feet of elevation from start to summit.
We followed the main trail up to the ‘pond’ and abandoned buildings. From there, we veered right and opted to follow the well-established herd path/trail about 3/4 of the way up. Mom and Bill hunkered down at a beautiful vista and put their creative muscles to use, painting watercolors of the Knik Arm (visible from Baldy) and taking photographs.
I finished the walk to the summit, where a handful of families were taking in the view. One selfie and landscape shot later, I was on my way down. From the top, there are a few trails: one leading southwest (toward the parking lot), another heading east (along the ridge, toward Blacktail Rocks and the valley), and the herd path I had come up. I took the SW trail down a few minutes, then cut across the ramp and back to where my parents were. Next time, I’ll stay longer to explore the ridge and pick blueberries (which were plentiful!).
It’s been real, having my folks in Alaska with us for the summer. How fortunate are we to have these opportunities, and this adventurous spirit, the means to do it all, and to like each other enough to do it together? There aren’t enough words. Looking forward to catching up with them on the road again soon.