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Summer Distractions

I haven't been writing much for the last few weeks as news worthy events have been slim. One interesting opportunity that came to pass recently was that two friends and I bought a small, dry cabin on the Kenai. It should serve as a perfect base camp for ski, hiking and mountain bike adventures. The drive from town has always been a bit of a buzz kill for me so now we can eliminate some of the commute for multi-day excursions. We're putting in new windows and cleaning up the yard but otherwise the place is ready to go. Stay tuned for more on that. One thing is for sure, if you told me a year ago I'd own a condo and a cabin in Alaska I'd have shot coffee out my nose (at least, if I was drinking coffee at the time). 

As for mountain fun, I've been mostly hiking and riding the mountain bike. We've done some cool ridge traverses and I'll post some pictures here. I also finally did one of the classic Kenai MTB rides from the highway, over Devils Pass, over Resurrection Pass and down to the little town of Hope on Turnagain Arm. Door to door it was nearly 40 miles but some of that is on the road. Still, when you top out on Res Pass, you have nearly 20 miles of gradual descending through pretty remote terrain with plenty of large bears hiding in the bushes. It's a little unnerving to think of having a major mechanical that far out. It would be epic. Gotta trust carbon fiber.

Rendezvous Ridge/Symphony Lakes

This a cool hike/run from the South Fork of Eagle River along an alpine ridge and back along a cruiser valley trail. With the dry conditions this year, no mud to be found. Silver lining, I guess.

Rainbow Peak to South Suicide Peak Traverse

Jen, Kyle, Karol and I headed out on a mixed bag of weather day for a cool, longish ridge traverse high above Turnagain Arm. The rain danced around us all day and, except for some chilly wind near Suicide, the day was spectacular and capped by a pleasant 5,500 foot plummet down Falls Creek to the road. We worked a bike shuttle for the car and Jen enjoyed a 30 mph tail wind to fetch our ride at the end.


Kyle enjoying the slightly more technical variation to the summit of Rainbow

Back into Bearville in Falls CreekBack at sea level

Matanuska Peak

Mat Peak is huge mountain out near Hatcher Pass. It sits alone in the valley looming above everything. The view is outstanding and compares to the other monster in the area, Pioneer Peak. I've been up Mat Peak one other time the first summer I lived here. It was during the Mat Peak Challenge, a race that ascends the 3,000 foot slope of Lazy Mountain before heading up the valley to Mat Peak. Lucky racers then get to retrace their steps for a 9K day. You can read about that fun here.

On this day, Karol and I decided to forego the Lazy Mountain detour as we both had fairly active outings the day prior. My legs were sore but still felt good as we climbed the steep road right out of the gate from the Mat Peak Trailhead. It's pretty jungly in there but after about 40 minutes we were out of the alders and into alpine running goodness. The relief to the summit is daunting. There's no getting around the 5,500 vertical feet. 

The summit was busy with a whole host of characters. One dude was classic Alaskan, sporting jeans and a holstered firearm just in case a pesky bruin tried to get fresh. Only in AK, baby! (maybe Montana, too). The down went smoothly and it was fun running on the gentle downslope of tundra until we hit the bush bash to the finish.

As I write this I'm sitting in LAX waiting for a flight to Mendoza, Argentina. Yep, going skiing. The big trip of the season is a two week ski junket to Las Leñas. Seems like the winter is shaping up there so I should have plenty of snow to ski on. I've never been to South America in the winter. I'm staying in a pretty nice hotel so not exactly doing the dirt bag thing. My partner had to cancel at the last minute so I'm solo. Leñas seems to be on everyone's radar these days so hopefully I can scare up some fellow adventures for some steep skiing fun. Hopefully the internet connection is good enough to fire off a couple of posts to get you guys stoked for the coming season.

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