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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Rainy Hike in Girdwood

~Friday, August 12, 2022~

Day 789

Day 53 of Alaska Trip

It seems that it’s been a near daily routine driving these unpaved, pot-hole laden roads to get to any sort of civilization. Our campground at Hidden Lake in the Kenai Wildlife Refuge has given us a nice, secure haven these past 9 days, but we’re ready to move on. We’re hoping that tomorrow’s the day we can move on to our intended target of Homer which should be in our rearview mirror by now. Today’s the day we pick up our much needed part in Anchorage, a 2-hour drive that would easily be a 20-minute boat ride if we didn’t have to go all the way around Turnagain Arm. But on the flip side, it gave us amazing views along the way and a revisit through the town of Girdwood where we stayed about 2 weeks ago.

Hmm….it looks like Ginn’s Roadhouse in Cooper Landing is having some live entertainment tonight……noted as a possible stop on our return home. The construction on the Sterling Highway continues, even in the rain. You can tell they are under the gun in getting this thing done before winter sets in. The Sterling Highway is the only way to get to this section of the Kenai Peninsula, otherwise everyone would be cut off. So, yes, I’d say it’s a must to get ‘er done. One thing we’d never seen before was the use of kiddy pools to catch any spilled oil from the idle earth moving equipment. Smart! Whatever it takes to keep this gorgeous land looking the way it does.

Back at our old stomping ground of the UPS hub, I was comforted to see my favorite customer service person, Pam, at the counter. It’s so nice to see someone who really likes their job and in turn wants to service their customers. You definitely want a person like her in your corner if anything goes awry. When I showed her my tracking number and the name, she said she remembered checking in our package that morning but that it didn’t make it to her shelves…..something to do with not having it addressed specifically to “Customer Service Center”. (oops forgot to add that little detail when I placed the order with Lance). I had about 30 seconds of worry until I heard the words….”We got it!” It was one of those moments when you want to kiss your customer service rep and the package that is in your hands. Such a relief!!! Thank You to Raeshell at Lance for giving us immediate help, thank you pilot for getting our package here safely and on time, and thank you Pam at UPS for making sure it ended up in our hands.

While in a big city, well, bigger than most of what we’ve seen lately, why not tackle a few other errands. First a haircut for Jeffrey. Jeff has gone quite a while since the last one and has had enough of his long hair matching his long beard. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that Jeff had decided a while back to let his beard “go” until the end of the Alaska trip, though the intent was not to have his hair do the same. If you guys know my husband, it only takes him 3 or 4 days to grow a pretty decent beard, so you might see a Kris Kringle look by the trip’s end. Anyway, he just hasn’t had a chance to get it cut and it’s been driving him CRAZY! Great Clips used to handle only walk-ins, but now you’re able to make appointments online as well. The wait time lined up perfectly once we got our package. Nice to see my guy with a big smile, relieved of his “Grizzly Adams” look. Next stop……a fabric store for me. I have run out of a few colors of thread on my stitching project and was thrilled to discover they had a Joanne’s Fabrics in Anchorage. I scored on all 3 colors, narrowly missing the 1 “red” that was left on the shelf.

We had about a 30-minute drive heading back towards Girdwood and remembered this really cool trail that we were recommended to take, but were unable to do a few weeks ago…….The Winner Creek Trail. It is sort of strange going back to a town that we’d already been, and that we should be long

away from by now. But we welcomed it all the same. Despite the rain, we did the hike. I’ve always enjoyed hiking in the rain, but it’s not one of Jeff’s favorites. Of course Sadie likes any trail, rain or shine. The Winner Creek Trail is actually part of the Iditarod Historic Trail, so we couldn’t help but think about the many people and sled dogs who were met with the challenges of getting from Point A to Point B via this historic path so many years ago. There is an option

to do the Upper Creek portion which is about 8 miles one way or do only the 2 miles of the Lower Creek segment which is all we had time for today. You can’t get a rainforest more dense than this with its old growth cottonwood trees, ferns, palms and other low-growing shrubs. A short distance in, was an area that’s known as Zug’s Slide, where 3 lucky climbers were transported via less favorable means by a heavy avalanche back in 1981.

One of the things we had read about with this trail was the hand-operated tram that visitors can use to assist in getting across the river, but we never saw it. It has been closed for some time, so maybe they’ve dismantled it altogether. About 100 yards from the gorge, you can feel and hear the rumble of a gigantic amount of water coming through. A bridge that is over such a huge amount of water is always inviting. It was at this point we decided to turn around since it was already 6:00 and we still had about an hour’s hike back to the car and over an hour ride home. Before leaving Girdwood, we made a stop at our go-to spot for water to fill up just 2 bottles to carry us through until our arrival in Homer sometime this weekend.

All in all it was a very successful day. Jeff’s a “new man” with his haircut, we got our part successfully, I found thread for my cross-stitch project and we ended up on a wonderful trail.

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