Glissading Gone… ?

If sliding down a mountain slope on your butt is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

What goes up, gets to come down.

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Little O’Malley Summit, Anchorage

Glissading is by far the simplest, and most fun way to get off a mountain summit* until I learn how to paraglide. By it’s definition, glissading is simple: the climber sits on her butt, leans back, lifts feet, and slides down the angle quickly and efficiently. Of course, there’s technique and considerations if you’re on a steep angle and/or carrying an ice ax (checking Climbing.com for that information). And if you know me at all, that ain’t my game.

For your viewing pleasure:

Glissading done well:

Glissading done… not well (sound on):

As if I ever do anything with style and grace… A nylon skirt, well packed trail and a just right angle were ingredients for one seriously fast and funny trip to the bottom. You’re welcome!

*I am not a mountaineer, ice climber, or other high-octane adventure seeker. I stick to low angles and elevations. Glissade at your own risk!

Peak Bagging: Baldy Mountain, Eagle River

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.

The Details:

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.

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Looking back into the Chugach State Park from the summit of Baldy Mountain in Eagle River

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!).

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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.

Exploring Alaska: Denali Highway

Fall settling into Alaska’s interior. Scouting caribou during our annual hunt. Hiking and bushwhacking through rain, snow, and sun. These are a few of my favorite things. Photographs supplied by our friend Ryan S.

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Caribou on the hill above us
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Scouting a fallen caribou, determining a plan of approach
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Him and Her, pushing through Alder and blueberries galore