Sunday, July 5, 2009

The 10 day Smith tour

For the past 10 days I've been showing my friends Laurie and Mike from Pennsylvania around the state of Alaska. It was their first time here, their first time backpacking, their first time seeing a grizzly bear, their first time white water rafting and their first time walking on a glacier.

To say that we have had fun over the last 10 days would be an understatement. Here are some photos from their trip.

They hiked up to Reed Lakes (my favorite hike in Alaska) with Laura while I was riding in the 24 hour race.

Tuesday and Wednesday we backpacked up to the Kesugi Ridge and along the ridge for a bit.

I thought it would be a boring straight forward ridge, but the section we hiked between Ermine Hill and Byer's Lake had many valleys to explore in between. We wandered off the trail to set up our campsite with a spectacular unobstructed view of Denali.

This lake was hidden just over a bump by our campsite. The sun was up all night

By the time we got to our campsite the mountain was out and stayed out all through the next morning when we hiked back down to the car.

We drove the rest of the way up to Denali and rode the bus, which I was not particularly thrilled about, but it worked out because we actually got some sleep on the bus in between wildlife sightings.

After making a stop at home to repack we headed out to the Matanuska River to do a rafting trip in the Lion's Head rapids.

We camped next to the Matanuska glacier that night and stayed up till 5am.

The tour finished on the 4th with a hike out on the Mat glacier, then back to Anchorage for a party.

I always get stressed when people come to visit because I want them to see everything. We didn't get to do any mountain biking with them or take them down south to the Kenai to fish at all, but it sounds like they will be back again in the years to come.

We put them on a plane to PA this morning at 7am and are crashing hard today. We have three days to clean up the house, sort the gear, get some bike training in, and relax, before my mom and her boyfriend arrive on Wednesday.

Summer in Alaska is already short, but it goes so fast because you never have time to stop and think. It's a series of packing, going on a trip, unpacking, and getting ready for the next trip.

The weather has been amazing for the last week or so. Today it feels like 80 degrees. I just called my mom to tell her that she does, in fact, need to pack shorts. Hopefully the weather holds.

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