Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Date: Aug. 6
Mileage: 8.5
August mileage: 90.3
Temperature: 67

Another beautiful day, another post where I inundate my blog with photos from Juneau's ceiling. Today I headed up Mount Roberts. I woke up earlier but didn't rush out the door the same way I did yesterday, so I ended up with the same amount of time to burn - about four and a half hours. And like yesterday, I pushed my time limit to its very brink.

I made better choices than I did yesterday - Claritin, sunglasses, no shirt (Just kidding. I did have a shirt. It just got so soaked in sweat that I took it off for the solitude walk along the ridge, but I put it back on before I descended back to tourist zone.) Despite my better choices, I felt like I was still in recovery from Tuesday. I hike up mountains because the space makes me feel awake and alive, but the actual activity makes for a tough workout ... two to three hours constantly pushing between 70 and 90 percent of my MHR, followed by two hours of high-impact downhill pounding. My joints hate me now, but they'll thank me later. I'm still convinced that all the hiking I did in summer 2007 strengthened my knees and set me up for an injury-free winter.

But while I'm getting such a great workout, I stop often to observe the geography, visualize a future adventure and, of course, take photos. I'm not sure why I'm so intent on photographing mountains. It seems an injustice to box in all that jaw-dropping space, but I do it just the same. This photo was taken from the top of Gastineau Peak, looking down Gold Ridge toward the Juneau Ridge, where I walked yesterday. To the far left you can see Mount Juneau; the middle right is about the distance I made Tuesday before I had to turn around. Directly behind is Cairn Peak, on Blackerby Ridge - a future goal for a day when I have more than four and a half hours to burn.

I took this photo to show off Juneau's August offerings to my skiing friends. Unfortunately, in my effort to box in all the sweeping space, I cut off one really friendly, fun-looking run a thousand feet down into the bowl. I would ride it myself if I had my snowboard, which I'll likely never carry up to Gold Ridge (I don't see how one four-minute run could possibly be worth it, but, then again, I'm not a rabid snow-rider like some of my skier friends.)

Snow proved to be my undoing about 200 feet shy of Mount Roberts, when I could not find a way around this snow field, and I just wasn't willing to kick up it. The snow was soft enough, but one slip would have sent me on the fast (and deadly) track down to the bowl. So I didn't make that peak today. As it turned out, I was really pushing my schedule as it was. I didn't even have time to stop into the tram terminal for a Pepsi before I had to fast-track down through the rain forest and back to my bike.

All in all, another good day. I only GPS'ed the walking today. I think it shorted me a couple miles of distance (it doesn't seem to register forward movement too well at slow speed on steep pitches). But, anyway, today I have 8.46 miles, a total ascent of 4,019 feet and a maximum elevation of 3,664 feet. I feel cooked! Both by the trail, and by the sun. It's a wonderful feeling.