Every day at ten o’clock in the morning, I take Tok—the dog who might make me a dog person—for a walk.
We walk through the neighborhood and onto the trails that exist about a block from our house. If I have extra time, we hike with the Happy Hikers an awesome Anchorage hiking group.
The trail system in Anchorage is internationally known—or should be anyway. It is a serious perk to living here. Not only are there trails in our nearby state and national parks, but there are also trails that wind through the city’s green belts and along its coastline. During the summer, they are multi-use trails. In the winter, some are designated for cross country skiing.
My friends and fellow quilters, Beth Nordlund and Petra Wilm both work to keep those trails in great shape. Beth is the Executive Director of the Anchorage Park Foundation and Petra is on their board. Just another example of how great quilters are.
If you want to get a sense of how wonderful and important our trails are, take a look at this video.
This bridge, on our neighborhood trail, is one of many projects the Anchorage Park Foundation has made happen.
Walking in the winter requires some thought and preparation. I don’t really like to walk when it is below zero. One day this winter, I went for walk in what I thought was seven degree weather. I felt incredibly cold. I had misread outdoor digtal thermometer! It was actually negative seven. It was good thing though. Now I walk even when it is below zero. I can do it!
My normal walking attire consists of a wool hat, scarf and gloves. I am very fond of these gloves. They provide maximum warmth with maximum mobility.
A wool base layer and then a fleece mid-layer and a parka on top. A wool base layer and hiking pants or snow pants on the bottom.
And last, but certainly not least, wool socks, winter hiking boots, and ice cleats. Kahtoola Microspike ice cleats are the best.
You put it all together, and it looks like this.
The past two winters have been incredibly icy, warm, and snow-less—kind of sad and slippery.
This winter was full of glorious snow.
Only in the last week have warmer temperatures created real ice to contend with.
When it first snows the trail look like this.
Weeks later the trail looks like this.
And that is where we are at—walking towards winter’s end with my cleats making a crunching sound the entire time. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.
It is March. There is plenty of light and by mid-day it can be 20-30 degrees. I know you southerns think that is chilly, but those temps can feel quite balmy after a long Alaskan winter. I might just wear two layers instead of three.
The snow is no longer alpine pretty.
Snow conceals, but it also reveals. If there were no snow, we would not know this.
This snow’s days are numbered. It’s aged. It’s old. It’s used. Snow can be weather, and it can be weathered.
This snow and I have had some good times this winter, but I, for one, am ready to move on. Ready to watch it melt. Trickle down the hillside and disappear.
In fact, I think it might just be time to load it up in a dump trucks and haul it away.
Tomorrow I will walk again, and it will be warmer, and sunnier, and lighter, and another day closer to spring.