Race cancelled? Hike a mountain

The path along Juneau Mountain ridge trails off into a cloud bank on Friday morning. Always pack more than enough food, water, and clothing for longer hikes in the area. Taking a cell phone and GPS, and a leaving a daily planner with a responsible second party are also sensible.

The Douglas 2-Mile Fun Run on the 4th of July has been cancelled, according to the Southeast Road Runners Facebook site.


Not to worry.

Saturday’s Mount Roberts Tram Run, the approximately 3.5 mile race that ascends 1,800 feet and finishes at the cross high above, is still a go.

As are all the other events on July 4th as well.

So what do you do when a race cancels?

Well, go climb, hike, jog or dance up a mountain.

Juneau has plenty in the area and most are accessible to the average hiker. Visit our Outdoors section on many Fridays and find out just what, where and how difficult these rises of alpine meadows, granite rocks or dusty dirt hills are. And if you do them, send Outdoors editor Abby Lowell some photos for Wild Shots.

Recently I heard that Nick Svinicki climbed 10,000 feet on Sunday.

That feat involved climbing Mt. Juneau in the morning, heading to Mt. McGinnis in the mid day and finishing with a late evening stroll up Mt. Jumbo.

The three require stamina and care as they have various steep areas.

His mother Jane went along for the last mountain.

Nick, being born and raised in Juneau, has a love of the outdoors.

Being born and raised in Petersburg I have morphed the love of sea and pickled herring into high altitude adventures.

Like many of the running buddies I have met here, a day does not go by that I do not receive a text from one saying “I just went around Blackerby!” or “Mt. Roberts to Sheep to Clark, leaving in five minutes!” or “Mt. Roberts to Sheep to Clark, back safe and sound, saw a brown bear!” or “Hello from Devils Paw!”

Of course many of these texts arrive after cell phone range is found, but still, to hear of others exploits is almost as good as being there.


I know it sure gets me motivated to be up a bit earlier and find a quiet path before the, roughly, 1 million denizens of the deep from the cruise ship industry’s barcaloungers disembark with bear bells and high chatter in the air.

On Saturday I was amazed at the number of individuals I encountered on the new switchbacks up Mt. Juneau.

Tom Thompson was up at 5 a.m. to do the “ridge run” and came down Granite Creek.

Phil Moritz was up an hour later doing it.

The Geoff Roes wedding party was doing part of it with Observation Ridge, Salmon Creek Ridge, and Blackerby thrown in.

The Saturday morning hiking group was out there.

Dogs were there dragging owners up and not vice versa.

Goats too, but they had a head start, following Glenn Frick no doubt.

There were judges, college students, young infants, and older adults, middle of the pack yuppies and sandal-flapping ex-hippies.

The amazement of seeing so many people enjoying our trails overwhelmed me.

I have also been amazed by the number of people who have not been on some of these adventures, even at smaller scales like Perseverance Trail or the Mendenhall Glacier trails.

When asked to speak at high school classes I am always bewildered at the lack of hands shown when I ask who has been up Mt. Juneau, or Pers, or that big hunk of ice “out the road.”

Really it just takes that first step, no matter how many more follow, no matter how many you leave for the next day. Your adventure does not have to be grand; it just has to be yours.

For me, I love the point where I have to stop and catch my breath.

When I have to let my heart and lungs act like they belong in the same body again.

When my eyes refocus and the sight is something new to me.

When I can fish into my pack for a little goodie to tide me over.

Now if someone would just market freeze-dried Lutefisk or Lefse-flavored Shot Bloks I would be one really happy hiker!


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