You know you're getting old when you analyze whether the situation is worth the risk or be safe and don't proceed. I guess the word isn't "old" but I think you get my drift. When we are young and invincible, we look at things as an adventure, worth the adrenaline rush. When we realize that, hey I could potentially get hurt and then money won't be coming in, bills won't be paid, and will I still have a job; our view of adventure changes. West glacier trail did this to me on Saturday.
The trail begins nice and flat. It is wide and well maintained and the majority of the ice has melted. I just love to see the waterfalls but I always feel the pictures don't do justice. After about a mile or so the trail goes into switchbacks as it ascends the mountain side of Mt McGinnis. There is a nice bench to catch your breath and catch a view of Mendenhall lake. Weather was great for the end of March; I believe it reached 56 degrees. Winter coat is put away!!!
Still looking for wild life! Today, I only saw this bird who I believe was preening for the girls. Charlie made it difficult to get good pictures, but here are a few that I did get.
So I reach the split in the trail where you can continue up Mount McGinnis or continue with the west glacier trail which should lead you to the "backside" of the glacier. You actually don't go backside because the glacier goes on for miles, but you are able to look across it toward the visitor center. Just a really neat perspective of the glacier.
The Trail going up Mount McGinnis is rated as hard, so I don't have it on my "must do before I leave" list. West Glacier on the other hand is on my list. Shortly past the split in the trail you get your first view of the glacier. It is a great place to catch your breath, have a snack and do some photos.
And this is where the maintained trail ends!
I stood staring at this trailhead pondering if I dare try it. Now for those who are avid hikers, are young and adventurous, this would be a no-brainer. But, I only am a modest hiker, and alone. If I had a hiker partner, I would definitely have continued on. In my defense, in the 2.5 miles I hiked, I saw zero other hikers.
I probably stood at this trail head for about 10 minutes debating. I kept wondering, is this the easy part, does it get super sketchy, and I have to come back the same way. Oh, and lets not forget, I have Charlie with too! I even called Scott, sent him the picture, and took the advise of safety first. After talking to some locals this week, I found out I probably made the right decision. The most injuries come from that portion of the trail.
On our way back, we began seeing more hikers. Evidently, hiking here in Alaska doesn't start mid morning. It seems that I meet most hikers after the noon hour. Charlie and I had a great day!