Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Kalsin Ridge

I have one word for you: bushwhacking!  That's basically what the entire first half of our hike up Kalsin Ridge was about.  Definitely not my favorite hike.

Taking a rest after thrashing through the bushes

We're talking alders thick as a mass of cable wires, the dreaded pushki, thistles, rampant thorny branches, and endlessly scrambling through seemingly impenetrable bushes. - Until we got above the trees and brush to the alpine level, anyway.  Sounds fun, right?

This was also the first guided hike we went on.  The Kodiak Audubon Society has a guided summer hiking schedule each year, and one of our acquaintances was leading the hike, so we decided to check it out.

It was an excellent weather day with sunshine to spare, and the views were spectacular as usual. - But it's not a hike I would go on again.  We weren't even on a trail, we had to bushwhack a path through all the not very friendly vegetation as we went.

It was a big group, so that helped in the whole hacking our way through department, but it was mostly annoying.  I couldn't help thinking, "Where's Jack T. Colton with his machete to clear the trail for us?"  Bonus points if you get that 80's movie reference.

Once we hiked up and out of the alders, it was much more pleasant.

Getting higher...and less thorny!

So the trek through all the brush was slow going, as you can imagine, but once we cleared the treeline, it was nothing but outrageously green mountains & stunning views as far as you could see.

This really is what it looks like.  No enhancements here!

Another favorite hubby & Puggy Boy in Alaska shot

It took almost 2 hours of not that much fun jungle wrangling just to get to the first ridge.  At one point, the woman ahead of me started singing "Welcome to the Jungle" while we struggled to create a trail. I think she sang what we were all thinking.

The first ridge was about where we decided we'd rather renew our energy with our standard PB&J hiking lunch and head back down. Somehow ascending that final ridge became less compelling after the morning slog through the alders.

I have more than my fair share of scratches and bruises from the Kalsin Ridge hike.  There's nothing sexier than a three inch, mottled, blue contusion on your thigh, by the way.  It was totally the tree stumps fault.

Cheety was a trooper, too.  I'm pretty sure our short-legged pup wasn't that into crawling under and over branches for as long as we did.  The big Labs and Hounds that came along on the hike had it a little easier than the Cheety boy.

He kept looking back at me as he struggled through the chunky undergrowth as if to say, "Are we really going to keep going?" I have to say I was thinking the same thing.

Oh who am I kidding?  A mud puddle or two and the open fields were enough to erase any unpleasantness he might have had on the way up.

Now that's the face of a content pooch.  He slept well that night!

Even though this hike was tedious & a little light on the fun-factor, it's still not a bad way to spend the day.  Kind of like bad pizza.  It's not really that bad...it's still pizza!  Sure, it was on the harsh side...but it's still hiking in Alaska!  Fresh air, exercise and sunshine? It's just good for the soul. 

And I have to remind myself that I'll pine for days like this when it's thirty degrees in December and still dark at 10AM.  Perspective, right?

Kalsin Ridge gets an "eh, you may want to skip it" review in my book.  Unless you need a good excuse to channel Jack T. Colton. 

Ta-ta for now.

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