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By: Betsy Fischer on June 8, 2014 - 8:38am - Add new comment

I must have met Sharon soon after she moved to Juneau. She showed up for some weekly evening bike rides I organized through the Juneau Freewheelers Bike Club to encourage women to bicycle and train together. She was a strong rider, not particularly fast, but she could ride forever. I didn’t realize she was training for a long distance solo bike tour until she was almost ready to leave on her trip. She kept pretty quiet about her plans, and I remember I had to pry details out of her.

By: Betsy Fischer on May 20, 2014 - 2:20pm - Add new comment

Have you ever hiked a trail that left you so traumatized you never wanted to return there again?

By: Betsy Fischer on June 20, 2014 - 5:25pm - Add new comment

One of the methods I use to fall asleep is to hike up the Spaulding Trail and over to Muir Cabin in my mind. I try to be as detailed as possible. If I find that I’ve skipped ahead or missed a section, I backtrack and start over again. I usually get a good distance across the meadows to the cabin before I nod off.

By: Betsy Fischer on November 3, 2012 - 5:44pm - Add new comment

Scott and I had just returned from our annual fall vacation a few days early (see my previous blog for that story). So we found ourselves with a free weekend and the tail end of a rare October cycle of clear, cold weather.

Fall can provide great hiking opportunities. Thick brush loses its summer energy and obediently lies down, the bugs are gone, and the bears go into hibernation. If we’re lucky, we get a cold snap and the ground freezes. These conditions made a perfect opportunity to traverse the normally boggy Spaulding Meadows all the way over to Montana Creek.

By: Betsy Fischer on September 2, 2013 - 6:48pm - Add new comment

I should have brought an ice axe.

A friend of mine cautioned me when I told him I was planning to hike up Hawthorne Peak. “The snowpack can be pretty icy up there this time of year. You should take an ice axe with you.” I agreed with him, and I did pack a set of ice grippers and a hiking pole. But no ice axe.

By: Betsy Fischer on January 18, 2013 - 8:07pm - Add new comment

The heavy rains of the past week kept many Juneau residents inside. I was scheduled to teach cross country ski lessons at Eaglecrest last Saturday and Sunday, so I spent two full days skiing and it wasn't too bad. My students were eager to learn, and when I wasn't teaching I enjoyed the nicely groomed Lower Loop trail, working on both my classic and skate skiing. Scott and I made a few runs on the mountain Sunday morning, but were defeated by the low visibility and wet conditions.

By: Betsy Fischer on March 9, 2013 - 7:42pm - Add new comment

Things were not looking good for me in the weeks leading up to the Tour of Anchorage.

By: Betsy Fischer on June 6, 2013 - 6:30pm - Add new comment

This year’s hiking season has had a slow start. First I was distracted by all the skiing that I could do well into May, and then family obligations took precedence over recreation. When I was finally ready to get out on the trails and just hike, I couldn’t believe it was still snowing up in the mountains and raining hard below. On Saturday, the first of June, I decided enough was enough. I put on all of my rain gear and waterproof boots and headed up the Lake Creek trail.

By: Betsy Fischer on July 2, 2014 - 1:34pm - Add new comment

“We need to do a ridge hike,” I told Scott. “We haven’t done a good ridge hike yet this summer.”

He looked surprised as he replied, “Sure we have. We hiked Gold Ridge and up Mt. Gastineau in May.”

“Doesn’t count. That’s not a real ridge hike.”

“O.k., then, we hiked part way along the Juneau ridge a few weeks ago.”

“Doesn’t count. We should have done the whole ridge.”

He looked mildly exasperated with me. “We hiked to the top of Powerline Ridge.”

“That really doesn’t count. That’s more like hiking up a peak and not along a ridge.”

By: Betsy Fischer on March 27, 2013 - 12:26pm - Add new comment

Eighty minutes. That’s all the time it took Scott and me to go from our ordinary, everyday routine of work and home projects to a cross country skiing paradise.  One hour and twenty minutes of easy hiking on packed snow through the woods up the Spaulding Trail gave us full access to rolling, open meadows just begging to be skied and enjoyed. Sometimes the trip is faster, but we had all day so we were in no rush.

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