There is something about Alaska that you just can't get anywhere else...BIG. I am not talking big as in Texas, cause Texas isn't all that great. When you go to Alaska you feel like you are at the mercy of the wild, even in town. The buildings look like they have been through the worst storms and barely made it through. The roads are full of frost heaves that show the power of Earth's natural processes. Like the asphalt is a gnat in the face or something, just an annoyance.
Even though it can be so forbidding, I feel drawn to it. I like how wild and untamed it feels. I had the opportunity to take a backpacking trip there with my brother-in-law Zach. The hike was relatively short on the Granite Tors Trail. "The tors were formed 70 million to 90 million years ago when molten rock pushed upward and cooled before reaching the surface. The granite formations were exposed by the erosion of the surrounding earth which revealed the towering spires we see today." (http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/chena/trails.htm). We hiked up to the top and camped next to one of the Tors, then hiked back down the next day.
As we made our way to the top Zach and I heard an emergency whistle. It was coming from the ravine next to us. Being the heroes that we are, we left the path to find the poor helpless individual who had obviously hurt himself. As we climbed down we suddenly heard the whistle from just above us. How could we have missed the person? Must have been in a cleft or crevice...so we headed back up only to hear the whistle below us again. Well, it turns out that this rodent was the responsible one...and his friends. We were suckers.
When we arrived at the top where the Tors were, we noticed that the mosquito's were in giant clouds above the Tors. It was the weirdest thing, they wouldn't come down to bite us for anything. We could stick our arms in the cloud and then they would start showing some interest, but all we had to do was pull our arms back down and they would leave us alone. Weird. These pictures don't really do it justice.
Other cool pictures from the hike:
|I think there might actually be a droplet of spit hanging from my tooth. Scary.|
What could be manlier?
|The view from the bank. This is at Valdez.|
|That's a creepy face.|
|Dad's (in-law, but I just call him Dad) catch being reeled in.|
|Dad and Sarah.|
|There I go doing that creepy face again. What can I say, I like to eat 'em fresh.|
|Oh dear. Sarah lost her finger to a salmon.|
Like I said, Alaska is BIG, wild, and how could you not want to go?
And just cause I wanted to show these pictures:
|Stream from the bottom of a glacier.|
|Glacial terminal moraine.|
|Another glacier that we watched calve into the sea.|