This big, wide world: Broaden your footprint on Alaska’s vastness, one hike at a time

by • June 4, 2018 • Highlights, ToastComments (0)207

It’s a rare sunny afternoon and an even more rare occasion in which I don’t have a to-do list a mile long. I have hours stretching before me. I can take a nap, go for a run, do some gardening, read a book, call a friend – the choices are tantalizingly endless.

The author hikes with her dog, Benny, a fan of Baldy and Blacktail Rocks in Eagle River. MELISSA DEVAUGHN

So I dig out my trail runners and head
to my go-to spot for hiking: Eagle River’s Mount Baldy. This popular north-of- Anchorage destination is a favorite among locals because access is easy, the hike can be knocked out quickly but with some effort, and the views at the top are stunning. Once at the top, it’s satisfying to look down on our town and take it all in – the shops we locals frequent, the schools that help shape the community, the forests and trees that give it a less urban feel and the inlet out beyond all that land.

No matter how many times I come here, I am not disappointed.

On this particular day, I’m loose and lim- ber from the strenuous last push to the top. Most people turn around here, but I linger, not willing to head back quite yet. The sun is high and warm. Baldy offers great access to the rest of Chugach State Park and its half-million acres of beauty. From here I can walk to Blacktail Rocks, or continue even further for a traverse north toward Ptar- migan. I’m with my dog, Benny, who looks pleadingly at me, ready to keep going, so I do, hiking another 25 minutes or so before turning around at Blacktail.

This time of year is what makes living in Alaska worthwhile for so many people here. For now is when we can finally be outside
for long periods of time – days that literally don’t end, thanks to the long daylight and high sun. Now we are finally rewarded and can blend in with the gorgeous surroundings that for so much of the year are off limits, covered in snow or avalanche prone. It’s always a treat, always worth the effort, when I take to the mountains for a hike with my dog.

This month we share with you a few of our favorite hikes – tried-and-true favorites that will not disappoint and can be tackled on a sunny day like this one.

And for those who prefer to get their out- doors fix by a more sporting challenge, we also celebrate the annual Anchorage Mayor’s

Marathon, a 26.2-mile race that takes place back down at sea level each solstice weekend and is an Alaska classic. Learn all about
the race, where to watch, how to participate – there are half-marathon, relay and 5K options as well – and more.

No matter what, simply take advantage
of this accessible summer season to ap- preciate all there is to do and see in Alaska. Before long, the days will shorten and it will be sweater weather again, so don’t waste a minute: Get outside and enjoy.

 

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