Monday, June 28, 2010

Lemon Creek Trail

This week the plan was Mt. Juneau which I've been looking forward to for the past three years. Unfortunately, the weather was overcast with rain in the afternoon. Don't know about you, but I don't want to be on a mountain ridge in fog with wind and rain.

The backup plan was Lemon Creek. This trail is supposed to be the gateway to the snow fields for glacier researchers. For the past 60 years students have hiked out to their research stations via this route.

Well, hm. They must have stopped using it because about a mile in, the trail was very clearly marked as, "unmaintained and unimproved from this point, hazards may exist". Obviously this trail is not as important as it once was.

We hiked up 700 feet and then back down, then meandered through the woods following the general direction of the creek. At one point, I was quite disillusioned hiking all this way only to look across the creek to see a parking lot!

Eventually we came out of the woods to find that erosion had completely washed away the trail. We worked our way down to the beach to see if there was a way around the cliff. Mr. X suggested wading to our knees, scrambling up on a windfall log and scurrying over the roiling spring glacier runoff. Um. No.

As we were returning to the car, a helicopter buzzed the trail, landing in the parking lot across the creek. I guess that answers the question of why the trail is in such poor repair. Who would hike it when you can just fly?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Imagine a Happier You

Deseret Media Companies recently kicked off a massive campaign to help women learn about money....and you know me, can't pass up the opportunity. The new website hosts daily financial challenges, has financial calculators, and a blog.

Imagine a Happier You will be selecting 3 women to receive financial "makeovers". IAHY will follow the women over the next year as they receive financial counseling and put the lessons to the test. The first blog post suggested that they hoped the makeovers would be similar to the popular show The Biggest Loser, where the pressure to lose weight in public is motivating.

Zions bank has even gotten in on it, sponsoring a free Smart Women, Smart Money Conference at the Salt Palace on August 19th.

I'm excited to see Imagine a Happier You, and hope that it changes the financial life of a few women.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father's [Satur]Day: Grandchild Peaks

Our plan Friday night was simple. Let's do something new and easy. Something like the Herbert Glacier Trail which is so flat your four year old could bike it with training wheels. Oh, and let's just go for a few hours.
Rather than drive all the way out to Herbert Glacier, Saturday, I totally changed things up and suggested Montana Creek, which is just a few minutes drive, and then threw Mr. X for a loop when I suggested we try Grandchild Peaks.

Instructions: "Follow the Montana Creek trail for about 2 miles. After crossing the creek on the new bridge, and a couple small switchbacks, follow a bear trail up the face of the mountain for 200 feet. The Grandchild Peak trail is unmarked and unmaintained. This 1.1 mile trail leads to the alpine." Okay...

Apparently, our trail book is a little out-dated. The turn-off or -up, was well marked with cairns and orange flagging. And once on the trail, red and white trail markers could be seen every 25 feet (curtesy USDA Forest Service).

After taking last week off, we were a little rusty and pretty grumpy about hiking through the trees. We slogged along groaning and complaining. Not sure what to expect. And then we stepped out into the open tundra. The back of Mt. McGinnis at 3 o' clock. Stroller White at 1. The snow capped Glacier Bay ridges behind us. A huge emerald green ridge line dead ahead. Incredible. One of Juneau's best kept secrets as far as I'm concerned.

We stopped for a water break. Mr. X said we were going right up the ridge. I said, "maybe". I'm terrified of heights, you know. Mr. X disagrees. We start up and things aren't so bad. We pass the marmot holes, getting whistled at as we go. We joke about sledding hills, about movie lines "aaaaaahhssssss yoooooou wiiiish", singing "The Hills are Alive", and then the ridge line narrowed down so that as I watched my feet I was looking down into the McGinnis Bowl on one side and some other bowl on the other. I got dizzy and reminded Mr. X I'm afraid of heights. He said again that I'm not; that I'm merely cautious. And a thought from my grandfather popped into my head.

No, not that grandfather. Not the one whose memory conjures up the lyrics:
When I look down
From lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook
And feel the gentle breeze.

The other one. My Grandpa Charles. The one who claims vertigo so acute he - while at the wheel - closes his eyes when crossing bridges. The grandfather that warned me never to hike Y-mountain beyond the Y. The grandfather that recommended the self-help book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. That's the line that came to mind - feel the fear and do it anyway. So, I did.

That's not the first time those words have come in handy, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

Happy Father's Day to all the men that teach their children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, to take reasonable risks, build confidence in themselves and reach for the stars.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Favorite: Friends of the Library

Saturday was National Get-Outside you thought I was going to post about a hike...but we didn't spend too much time outdoors.

The weather report called for a storm front full of wind and rain. And since I'd been claiming irresponsibilty -- kind of like insanity, only not -- for weeks and weeks, the fridge needed to be cleaned out.

There also were a couple boxes taking up the living room. One with a (quite uneven homemade) baby blanket inside, the other contained 32 pounds of books waiting to be mailed. I'd been putting them off too.

Why 32 pounds of books? Simply put we love our Friends of the Library store. We love it so much we like to send it to our friends and family. You might recall that Mr. X's nieces and nephews received over 50 lbs of books last year. This box was headed for friends/family by marriage in Nashville.

Saturday at high noon, we delivered the boxes to the Auke Bay post office and immediately after went to Friends. Much to my chagrin, as soon as I walked into the store I spotted a book that I'd seen in pictures of a flooded Nashville apartment. For $0.25 I couldn't not get it. Hmm. Hope they don't mind that it's got Jerrod's name all over it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mt McGinnis Trail

hanging glacier above Mendenhall Glacier
Saturday was National Trails Day...what to do but hike.

We loaded up our packs with EVERYTHING we'll need for the Chilkoot: tent, Mountain House meals, stove, fuel, TP, sunscreen. Everything that is except the sleeping bags; I just plopped a dumbell in my bag instead.

Then, dreading it, we shuffled out the door. We made quick work of the West Glacier Trail and started on the Mt. McGinnis trail.

No, we didn't finish. The wind picked up, it was pouring rain, visability was worsening, and we were plunging hip deep in rotten snow on a very steep mountainside (McGinnis is used for ice climbing in winter months). We figure we hiked up between 2500' and 2700'.

Mr. X spotted a boulder cut out of the mountain without hands; I was glad it was on the next mountain over because it was doing serious damage. A stellar's jay posed for pictures. And I learned that despite my morning running, Mr. X is still in better shape.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It's a girl!

Join the Celebration over at the Adoption Blog today.

Nugget Creek Trail via East Glacier Trail

On Memorial Day we decided to take a cool hike. Nugget Creek easily fits that requirement because it's entirely in the shade. The trail is also one of the least scenic and unimproved, so we were able to avoid tourists for the most part; we did happen upon a lone hiker with a shiny six-shooter and pomeranian however. Mr. X managed to find his first stinging nettle in 4 years. We also found some sunbaked bear scat.
Mendenhall Glacier from the East Glacier Trail. Once back at the trail head I spotted a yellow-rumped warbler, barn swallows and a yellow finch.

Improvements to the East Glacier trail are apparently being funded by the stimulus. Have you seen similar signs in your area?