So yesterday Jai came by and picked me up and we drove out to Girdwood (after some delays, like discovering the road over to Jai’s daughter’s dance studio was being worked on and so there were detours before we could pick up her recital costume, and then there was the stopping for the mocha and hot chocolate, but then there was the driving out to Girdwood!

We got up to the Alyeska Prince Hotel, which is where the volkswalk was supposed tos tart, and we went to the front desk, and we said, “Do you know anything about this volkswalk?” and they said, “Um,” and sent us upstairs to see if the bike shop knew anything about it, and the bike shop said, “Um,” and so we said, “Ok, we’ll just do a different hike,” and then Jai noticed the Summer Activities Lady, whom we were relieved to see, because clearly if she wasn’t there, there could be no summer! Jai took to calling her the Summer Fairy. :)

The Summer Fairy was on a rather long phone call. When she got off the phone, she told us with great enthusiasm that she had left her (apparently fairly new) boyfriend at (her) home alone for the first time, and he’d called her to cheer her up and say hi while she was at work.

Unfortunately, the way he did this was to say, “Hi, it’s me, I don’t want you to panic, because the fire department’s already gone…”

After rather a lot of time of establishing that he was indeed screwing with her, she told him that the way to cheer a person up was *not* to call them at their job 40 miles away and tell them their house was on fire. She said, “Tell me the kitchen is sparkling clean. Tell me the garage has been cleared out. Do *not* tell me my house is on fire!”

Eventually we established that she also didn’t know anything about this volkswalk thing, which offended her sense of propriety. She did give us a map of sorts which indicated a 3 mile hike, the Winner Creek trail, which we suspected might be the volkswalk, and we took the map and went out hiking.

At *some* point, either at the front desk or at the early part of the trail, we saw another map which had a green loop delineated, and we said to each other, “We’ll go up to the point where the loop goes from a dotted line to a solid line, and we’ll see if we want to go on (which looked slightly longer) or go back.”

So! Off we went! The first mile or so of the trail was packed gravel and then heavy 1×12 boards laid down over streams and very muddy spots, and so we balanced along the boards and stepped off the board paths when runners came along (we hates runners, we do! especially 5’10” blonde skinny ones!) and then we saw a PORCUPINE. Climbing a TREE! That was very cool. And we clambered over roots and we complained about walking up mountainsides and we stopped and panted every once in a while and generally had a very fine time.

And then we reached a Fork In The Road. To the right, there were Cabin Ruins down the trail. To the left, there was the Winner Creek Gorge. what there wasn’t, and should’ve been, was a sign indicating how far it was to the Cabin Ruins, but we headed that way anyway. After a while we turned around and came back, because we couldn’t find them and we didn’t know how far it would be and our map didn’t have anything beyond the entrance of the Winner Creek trail, so it was no actual use, although later we found another map and we suspect that basically the Cabin Ruins were probably about two hundred yards beyond where we’d gone. Hnf. Well. Oh well.

It was okay, because then we went on the other fork and /it/ lead down to a big wide footbridge which we sat down on and watched the water rush beneath us as we talked, and then after we’d taken a little break we got up again and went the rest of the way down the trail, and found — well! First we found a door to Elfland. There was a tall stone with moss and earth on top of it, just sort of sheered out of the hillside, and Jai said, “I love that rock!” and then she said, “It’s a door to fairyland!” And by God, she was right, too. It even had been worn away so that you could curl your fingers around the front of the stone, like you could pull it open. But neither of us knew how to say, “Friend” in Elvish, and we didn’t think of “Open Sesame!” and so we had to continue on our way without visiting Faery.

And then we found a bridge over trouble waters, man. We were going along and the water got louder and louder and I said, “That sounds like a waterfall,” and a couple of twists further on, indeed, there /was/ a waterfall! A stunning, amazing waterfall that had dug pools into the stone, and the pools boiled and bubbled like icy jacuzzis, the water all crystal blue and foamy. It was *so* gorgeous — and we hadn’t brought a camera. Must go again! So we climbed down the gorge some and peeked into the pools and then we climbed back up the gorge and followed the trail to The Tram.

The Tram, which was the point on the green-loop map where the trail went from a dotted line to a solid line, turned out to be a 3-rope deelie which supported a harness in which you were to PULL YOURSELF OVER THE GORGE.


I mean, I swear, it looked like a movie set, or something. This isn’t something I’d ever come across in real life. Furthermore, it didn’t actually have the /harness/, so we’re left standing there on the EDGE OF A HUGE GORGE, staring down at the water and at this pully setup and going, “No. Frelling. WAY.”

We went back the way we’d come. O.O

By that time we were pretty tired, and were starting to be pretty giggly. We admired scenery on our way back, most especially a very large broken off tree-trunk which twisted, causing Jai to say, “Ooh, twisty,” and then she thought she sounded *very* vacant, and so she said, “Twisty!” even *more* dizzily, and that made us laugh very hard indeed.

And we saw the porcupine again, climbing a different tree, and a spruce hen walked along the path with us for a while, and finally we staggered back to the hotel, and went to ask the Summer Fairy what the hell the deal with the tram was. It turned out that yeah, there was supposed to be a carriage, and also that she thought but didn’t know for sure that the trail on the other side of the big wide footbridge continued off to Places Unknown, and having gotten that information from her, we went away and ate pizza and then went home and collapsed.

Well, no, at least, /I/ didn’t collapse, but this is quite long enough for one entry so I’ll write more about the rest of the day later after we get back from shopping. :)

miles to Rivendell:
Catie: 98.7 (100 *so* *close*!)
Jai: 87.1

4 thoughts on “EIGHT MILE WALK!

  1. I want to go on this walk! Though you may have to stop me from doing unwise things on The Tram. ^_^ Definitely gotta visit AK.

  2. Well, at the /moment/, you can’t do anything on The Tram anyway, because there’s no *carriage* on it.

    However, Jai did say, “Wow, Angie should see this,” when we got to the waterfall. :)

  3. That sounds *so* much fun! There’s a tram like that in Kennicott too…or at least there used to be. I hear they were thinking about putting in a wimpy ol’ bridge.

  4. Lucky! The last time I was in Girdwood to eat pizza, Matt, Jenny, Aaron and I got stuck there for 6 hours because there was a complete and utter volcanic ash blackout that so cheerfully became a whiteout if you turned on headlights. And the pizza was burnt!

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