Sunday, February 28, 2016

Hiking in Spring Conditions

Max, Emily, and me at the Rainbow Overlook

A friend in Seattle once asked me if spring break was a good time to visit Alaska. I said "Sure, as long as you know it's still winter." After being back in Alaska for three years, I have changed my mind. We've barely even had winter the last two years. There are pussy willows out already, many trails are completely snow-free, and today it was 50 degrees at my house. By all accounts, that is spring in Alaska and it is not even March.

I hiked on the Turnagain Arm trail this weekend with my friend Emily and her dog Max. It was the first day I've been out and about that really felt like spring. We brought our grippers and expected to find ice but there was only mud. Emily wore long underwear and I wore lined soft shell pants. Both were a mistake. The forecast for the next week is for sun - one more week with no chance of snow. Soon enough it will be real spring and one more year will have passed with only a tiny fraction of our normal snow fall. I hope, like a lot of people, that this is not the new normal.

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