I fell asleep last night to the sound of rain, relentlessly pounding the roof then falling to the ground, puddling briefly before continuing down into the earth. August in Alaska. I woke up this morning to the clouds breaking apart and the sun shinning through. This first thing I always do after I wake up is go to the living room window and look out at the Chugach Mountains. What kind of day it is going to be in the mountains today? The clouds puffed up over the peaks filtering the morning light. While the mountains were still in shadows this morning, the silhouette brought a smile to my face. Beautiful.
Opening the front door I stepped outside and was met with crisp, refreshing air with a bite of cold. I know this air; fall. This is the feeling of snow looming in the near future. Just as you can smell rain and feel heat, snow also has a tell. Driving to my favorite coffee shop the clouds gave way and the sun reached the peaks, termination dust. The first dusting of snow signaling the end of summer is near. For me, this used to mean it was almost time to put the running shoes and bikes away and get the skis out for their first wax.
In more recent years my skis have stayed in the garage. My mountain bike and I go for longer rides further into the late fall. When the snow finally decides to stay for good through the winter I switch to my Fat Bike. It was instant love when I road my Fat Bike for the first time a few years ago. The five inch tires and extra wide handle bars, it was an entire new biking experience. We are not yet at the point in the year where I have to put my studded tires on my Fat Bike by any means, my mountain bike and I have several more weeks of exploring and riding to do. Just, perhaps with a few more layers than last week.
It is just this enjoyment of biking and exploring that has lead me to start up Alaska Trail Guides. I am lucky that my dream has come true and that I am able to live my passion. When I am not biking and sharing Anchorage and its trails with those who are visiting, I am out on my bike exploring, riding and looking for new places to share with people.
My most recent longer bike ride lead me into the Chugach Mountains. Pulling into the parking lot on a Tuesday morning I was shocked at how busy it was. Just three years ago I was coming here on weekday mornings and the parking lot would maybe be ⅓ full. This particular Tuesday it was 90% full. People are making their way to the mountains and trail heads more and more which is great to see. Get out! Enjoy the day and be an active participant in experiencing the world. My dog jump out the car to go great another as I unloaded my mountain bike. A few short minutes later we took off down the trail. This particular trail head is a jumping off point of large trail system and most hikers go up the nearest mountain. My plan, to bike as far as I could see up valley. Within a mile we had left the crowd behind and were on our own.
The trail is an old wide gravel road no longer used by vehicles. With mountains rising up on either side, a creeks steady flow can be heard below, I peddled further back. My dog dogging off the trail every now and then as the ground squirrels chirped. Song birds singing and jumping about in the alders that line the trail. The wilderness is never quiet, but it is peaceful. On the look out for moose and bears I made it to the saddle, about 6 miles up valley. Taking some time to enjoy a small mountain lake and my lunch, my dog waded in the water cooling off and getting a refreshing and much earned drink of water. Getting back on my bike we began our gradual decent back towards Anchorage.
As the winter draws nearer I know that this is a ride I can continue to do late into the fall and early winter. As the snow starts to fall I will switch to my Fat Bike. Hopefully I will have the pleasure of sharing this ride with you.