Saturday, September 05, 2009

Mountain bender, day 6

I had to clean up and clear out of my temporary room this morning; my throat is sore; my leg muscles are well-blended to the point of being mushy; and to top it all off, blisters are starting to form on the tops of my toes. But when I woke up yet again to clean, untarnished blue sky, and a call from Sean inviting me to try out a new route that I had never even heard of before, I couldn't resist. Bah! Out again.

The guys were going for the Grandchild peaks. I didn't have time before work to go all the way to the top, but I figured it would be fun to traverse a new ridgeline. The guys couldn't really remember where the trailhead started off the Montana Creek trail, and we ended up climbing out of the creek about a quarter mile too soon. We bushwhacked for a half mile through thick blueberry brush, devil's club and several steep drainages before we finally found what turned out to be one of the most well-marked trails I have seen in Juneau.

From there, it was a quick jaunt up to the bowl.

One of the advantages of nice weather in Juneau is a rare opportunity to hike with guys who aren't wearing shirts. :-) I think the sole reason these guys go hiking in the summer is to scout out ski lines for winter.

Time was running short just as the terrain was getting good.

But I did make it high enough to catch a satisfying glimpse of the imposing north faces of Stroller White and Mount McGinnis.

Looking out toward Lynn Canal and the Chilkats. The air was so clear that we could see Mount Fairweather, a 15,000-foot giant far away in the St. Elias Mountains. In Southeast Alaska, Fairweather is our "mountain," our Denali. I've never see it from the ground before.

Another great day! I really can't describe how stoked I am on this week - the challenges, the new experiences, the company, the views, the supreme fatigue ... but I think the mountain bender is starting to wind down. Maybe. Maybe I'll start using that thing again ... um ... it has two wheels and these feet platforms you turn in circles to move it ... what was that called again?