Thursday, September 13, 2007

Juneau Ridge

Date: Sept. 13
Mileage: 8.0
September mileage: 302.6
Temperature upon departure: 49
Rainfall: 0"

I am so in love with these places, these ridges, these gravel-strewn mountaintops that stretch like fingers from my home to the icy unknown.

Today I hiked the Juneau Ridge. The climb from the Perseverance Trail was rougher than usual; I was on the verge of quitting before I even reached Mount Juneau. I spend so much time on bikes that it's easy for me to forget the importance of shoes. Today I learned that when embarking on a 12-mile hike with extreme elevation changes, choosing one's shoes based on the observation that they are probably the "driest" - only because they haven't been worn in months - isn't the best idea. I had horrible blisters after mile 1. But once I arrived at the ridge, I became so lost in the sweeping scenery that I forgot about my foot pain.

The summit of Mount Juneau is only the beginning.

One last look at the Mendenhall Valley.

Some amazing singletrack ... if only I could get my bike up here somehow.

Looking out toward Blackerby Ridge. Salmon Creek reservoir is a little sliver in the center.

The remnants of last winter meet autumn.

Observation Peak. If I was a faster walker or had an 12-hour+ day to work with, I could connect the Juneau Ridge and Blackerby Ridge via this 5,000-foot peak.

This lake was almost completely frozen the last time I was here, Aug. 8. It won't be long now before it's frozen again.

Descending into the Silverbow Basin, back to reality.

....

Do you ever think about places where, after you die, you might like to leave your ashes? I always imagined my friends and/or family carrying my earthly remains deep into Canyonlands, Utah, and tossing them into the desert wind. That way, I could spend eternity drifting with the sand and lingering against sandstone walls in the red shadows. But now, I don't know ...

I may just have them save a few spoonfuls for the tundra above Juneau.