Well the summer is dwindling down here in AK, both because we start school next Monday and because the weather is cooling off. So with that in mind we decided to hit the road this weekend. Hope was our destination. It's a small, actually tiny, town across the Cook Inlet from Anchorage where mining was once a way of life there. Now it survives on tourists money. Needless to say, there is some very fantastic scenery.
Sadie and I had to do an overdistance workout on Saturday so we decided to run on a trail that follows the coastline. Scared as we are, we had our bear bells out, but were shamed into putting it away as the boys made endless fun of us. As we began down the trail however, we passed about 10 piles of bear poop in the first 1/2 mile of trail, and they all looked fresh. So, we got the bell back out and began conversing about anything and everything we could think of (luckily, that's not a hard task for either of us). We made it a ways out this trail, but the trail became very overgrown and our fear of bears in combination with the millions of spiderwebs we were plowing through led us to turn around and start heading back. We met a nice Russian couple on the way back that asked us if we had reach the end of the trail. We explained that our fears had gotten to us so we turned around. He took one look at us and said "bears? you guys are so loud, you won't see a thing." We laughed and kept on our way. Less than a mile from the finish, we heard something in the bushes so we stopped and started yelling, it was most definitely a bear. It seemed to be running away, as it should, so we stopped yelling for a moment, but then it began to run again, this time it sounded like it was running towards us. So again we put our hands up and yelled some more. The bushes were thick so it was hard to tell how big, what type, which direction it was going or anything making it all the more spooky. Unsure of which direction was the safest, Sadie convinced me we should head backwards to her boyfriend you was hiking just a little ways behind us. We slowly walked down the trail, yelling and hollering until we reached Jo. Then all of us set forth again, hoping that we did a sufficient job in scaring the bear away. We kept up some hollering and made it through without any encounters. Sadie and I were very pleased to have survived our first bear incident. I was thinking that I had kept my cool and didn't get too scared, however, the evening all I did was dream about bear attacks so clearly my fear lives on.
After that nice adventure, Sadie and I decided to get some culture so we checked out "downtown" Hope. There was some square dancing going on in the Social Hall and many people fishing in the stream. We went to the museum and learned a thing or two about the gold rush there. Both of us came to the realization that Alaskans are all a little crazy because they have descended from people that decided it would be a great idea to move from the lower 48, probably the eastern half, all the way to Alaska. Growing up, we were taught the hardship people took crossing the country on the Oregon Trail, but that seems an easy task compared to those that ventured up here.
Sadie and I on the trail
Looking across to Anchorage and pondering why I drove 2 hours around the Cook Inlet when I could have swam
Sadie's first fish!
It was a great weekend to get out of town and see some sights. Now we are back to intensity week here in town before heading back to the glacier next week.