This weekend didn't work out at all like we planned. Originally, we were headed to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park for a camping trip.
That didn't work out.
So we were headed to Hatcher Pass for a camping trip. Then we woke up Friday morning to a sky filled with smoke from the wildfires burning on Kenai Peninsula. A quick call to a Ranger at Independence Mine State Historical Park revealed there was smoke out there too. I don't mind sniffing a little smoke from a campfire, but I didn’t want my whole weekend to be enveloped by wildfire smells.
So Gina and I used Friday afternoon to do some wildfire mitigation around the house. (A few wildfires and smoky conditions will inspire all sorts of activity.) We live on the Anchorage Hillside, an area that is always under the wildfire microscope, so it’s good to do some preparation work.
Then Saturday morning our plan was to head to Hatcher Pass for a shortened camping trip. This time we actually made the drive (the backpacks had been ready for days). It was raining when we left Anchorage, but I was told it was clear in Hatcher Pass. Well, by the time we arrived "clear" had been replaced by showers.
I've camped in the rain before. But I didn't feel like setting up the tent in weather that was getting worse as the day progressed, so we settled on a hike (a bit of a wimp-out, I realize). We looked around, found a peak that looked good and headed out.
It was steep, and we passed a couple other groups of hikers. As we pressed on to the summit, we were all alone -- absolutely the best way to experience the Alaska backcountry.
We stopped at the Ride'em In Haul'em Out Chowder House on Palmer-Fishhook Road for a piece of homemade apple pie on the way home.
It wasn't the weekend we planned, but sometimes you make the best of the situation, and as I was standing on the summit Saturday afternoon the situation was grand.