Woofie and Bunny go Hiking

On a brisk Sunday morning the family and I set out for a day hike. We had planned on hiking to Stiles Creek Cabin for a overnighter, but Lizzy had a low fever the day prior so we turned it into a day hike instead. Lizzy and Molly started off walking and after a hour or so switched to being carried. The hike was wonderful – we did this hike in 2006 with the kids and the first mile was an utter mess – huge ruts, massive muddle puddles, and other general “Lets drive our ATVs though a muddy swamp!” madness. It had been getting worse in the last couple of years, and was getting so bad it was actually starting to make winter skiing unpleasant as the ruts where not completely filled with snow even in spring. In the last couple of years (I think last 2 years) Alaska State Parks had been in the process of doing some sort of reroute of the first 2 miles of the trail to deal with the really bad sections, and it appears they finally finished or at least reached some stage of completeness. The trail is now completely different – its dry and mostly free of killer mud holes and ruts. In fact, it would have been great mountain biking. I am going to have to come back here in the spring and try it out. Go State Parks! Its really refreshing to see the state spend money on things like trail improvements. The skiing this winter should be much improved too, as the reroute is not quite as steep. Parts of the old trail can be a bit tricky on skis – steep, fast, and a not a lot of room to snow plow.

Lizzy and Molly started off walking and carrying Bunny and Woofie in their backpacks.  After a brief stop to stick Bunny’s and Woofie’s head out (“No, no, Bunny can’t see” – Molly) we where off.

As mentioned before, the re-route has dried stuff up a lot – this is a good example of what the new section looks like.

Contrast this with the old trail, circa fall 2005.

The dogs had fun running around and exploring. Soon the “exploring” part will stop and they will have to start pulling pulks when ski season starts.

Molly outfitted herself with hiking poles for a while.  It is really rewarding to see the twins enjoy hiking.  I hope it lasts, as many adventures await.

The walk was quite beautiful, with the fall colors giving way to the winter gray, black, and white. I love this time of year, as there are constant reminders that the best season is about to arrive, Winter!

Eventually the little trekkers wore out and it was nap time. They rode for the next couple of miles in the backpacks, wrapped up in lots of layers.  Its funny – now that I have started carrying the twins, it really puts backpack weights into perspective – when I put on a normal multi-day pack for a trip without kids I am surprised how little it weighs.

After nap time came snack time, when the passengers where treated to a delightful repast, artfully served in a small zip lock bag. 

Eventually we returned to the trail head where the girls played on some left over trail hardening material (also known as a pile of rocks).  This kept them busy for almost a hour, which was truly amazing.

Just before we left Molly found a small stick that was sort of shaped like a person, and after some help from Nancy, soon became more person shaped and was christened the “Tree Man”.

All in all it was quite a fun way to spend a day.  We even made it to Mias, where Nancy and the twins had Korean food, and I was treated to a fantastic burger!   I am looking forward to skiing this in a month (or less if all goes well – bring on the snow!), and biking it next summer.

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