Monday, April 19, 2010

The "Far Away" Mountains

When you hike a lot in the Chugach front range, you get many opportunities to gaze across the Cook Inlet and wonder what is out there. Sometimes on really clear days, you get a glimpse. "Look, you can see the far away mountains!" Brian will yell out every time the blue sky reveals the mountains to the west of Anchorage in the distance.

Actually the mountains across the inlet to the west of Anchorage are called the Tordrillos. They are part of the narrow expanse of mountains called the Alaska Range that form an arc around South Central Alaska, from Lake Clark up through Denali National Park and all the way over to Canada. But in our house we call them the far away mountains, because you can't drive to them and you rarely get to see them, which makes them seem so far away.

For the past few years Brian has been talking about going heli-skiing in the Tordrillos. This year he finally saved up all of the money to be able to do that, but wasn't able to get a group together to go out there.

Two weeks ago we were at a beer tasting party and some guys sat down at our table that we didn't know. We started chatting with them. They mentioned something about having to get a sat phone, so Brian asked where they were going.

"To the Tordrillos, and we need a fourth, wanna go?" I immediately said, "Yes he does!" It turns out they were not going heli-skiing, but getting dropped on a glacier somewhere, setting up a base camp and skiing the nearby peaks. That is actually much cheaper than what Brian was planning and it was happening now, so he couldn't refuse.

That's where Brian is now. Finally after years of wondering what is over there, he is finally finding out. Sunday morning, he and three others flew out of Talkeetna. I imagine today they have their base camp set up and are skinning up some nearby peak. I'm so glad that he got this opportunity to discover a part of Alaska he has been dreaming about for a long time.

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