The first stop, as per usual, was Anchorage, which someone I met quipped, “is only 10 minutes from Alaska.” Anchorage is the most populous city in the state and from there you an almost get anywhere in Alaska--by boat, plane, or car. Before we left for Seward, about two and half hours to the south, Katie and I headed to the Glen Alps Trailhead just 15 minutes from downtown. I’ve run and hiked here before, and I am always impressed with the amazing views and mega fauna; moose are omnipresent and bears frequent the hills nearby. In fact, just one week after our hike, a three year old black bear sow smashed into a car in the parking lot looking for food. Regrettably, that’s a death sentence for bears.
At 6:00am, Katie and I proceeded from the trailhead to the powerlines (an amazing running route, BTW) and then we descended into the lush green valley, which was dotted with no fewer than four moose this particular morning. We then began to ascend the rock scramble. Inch-by-inch we clawed our way over the scree to the top of the snow-covered ridgeline.
I cursed myself for leaving our micro spikes in the car, but I was grateful that there wasn’t any additional snow once we crested the ridge. From there, you can see all of Anchorage, the Cook Inlet to the west and south, and mountains…mountains in every direction. We were only two miles in (and only 15 minutes from the most populated city in the state), yet we were all alone. We began to trek across the famed “football field” or, more simply, “the ballfield”—an approximately one-mile by one-mile rock strewn valley that resembles, well, a football field of sorts. On the other side of the field are incredible views (the best views of the hike) of Deep Lake and Black Lake, which are hauntingly dark, cold, and still. You can see the bottom.
After negotiating (and tumbling) down the long scramble, we arrived at Williwaw Lakes. Due to the scree scrambles, the first four miles of the hike were covered in a pedestrian two hours, so once the lakes were behind us, we decided to beat feet along the valley floor until we linked back up to the front side of the range, about five miles later.
Shortly before we circled up our hike, we ran smack into a big bull moose, casually munching on greens.
By 11:00am we had wrapped our 10.5 mile hike, and we heading south...to Seward.
Part II of III coming soon.