There are so many skiing destinations in Chugach State Park, it’s oftentimes difficult to choose. But in early April a good friend who lives on Anchorage’s Hillside, Carl Portman, made up my mind for me and suggested we point our skis uphill for a five-mile trek into Rabbit Lake, which lies about 3,000 feet at the base of North and South Suicide Peaks.
“It’s so peaceful here,” I told my son-in-law Nate Hanes as we rested on a snowy knoll overlooking Lost Lake, on the Kenai Peninsula. “It’s going to be hard to leave.”
With school graduation season, I was thinking about young people and how they are preparing for the future in an increasingly competitive world. I was reminded of a very short conversation I had many years ago when I was student at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.
As we begin to observe Mother’s Day, I started thinking again about my mom and what a remarkable person she was. Of course I’m biased. That’s an importantpart of a son’s job description, I would think.
If something was “cool” back in the 1960s, is it equally “cool” today? I’m no expert in etymology — the study of languages, words and their origins — but I’ve always found it fascinating how our language changes and evolves over time.
On March 26 a friend and I hiked from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim to the river and back up to the rim in about 10-1/2 hours. The Park Service’s warnings not to attempt a descent to the Colorado River and back up on the same day are dire and ubiquitous. They make it sound like one is entering Mt. Everest’s death zone without oxygen. In some ways I can understand their position. People have tried to make the hike during the summer months when the canyon bottom becomes an oven set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Many rescues have been required, and some people have died.
April 5 was the last in a string of bluebird days that were sure to end soon. A few other folks were enjoying the bright sunshine, appearing in the distance as small black dots as I peered out across the lake’s expanse. Drawing closer, I noticed that some were skate skiing and dashing quickly toward the lake’s far shore.
Conditions were ideal on March 6 as I skied along the frozen Knik River in a set ski track that had apparently been put in earlier that morning. The sky was deep blue, the sun felt warm on my face and there was no wind coming out of the east at the terminus of Knik Glacier.
Some folks might not remember the silly quote by comedian Billy Crystal when he impersonated actor Fernando Lamos, “It’s more important to look good than to feel good,” to which he added: “You look marvelous!”
With nearly one-half million acres, our big back yard called Chugach State Park is more than a recreationist wonderland. It is a spiritual refuge, or what I like to call a “sanctuary for the soul.”