Summer Solstice Hike

~Summer Solstice 2011~

I am a fan of the “nature” holidays. In most cases they mean more to me than our “traditional” holidays i.e Easter, 4th of July, ect. Don’t get me wrong, I can get excited to see some fireworks or go to a halloween party. But for really marking the day for a particular reason I am all about the Solstice (Summer and Winter) and the Equinoxes. In my personal belief system they are important and overall they are just COOL!

The View from the Trail along Flat Top.

So Summer Solstice was upon me and in a way that was even cooler than usual… Here in Alaska the Sun is truly OUT 24 hrs on the Solstice (even this south in Alaska). Can’t really ignore that from the Earth. The days leading up to the longest day of the year are amazing, often find yourself wondering why Carr’s is closed and you still need sunglasses.  So I figured I would make an event out of it and go for a hike. Unlike the South were people go “why are you doing something on the what day?” In Alaska people get pretty pumped about it and have festivals and such. Way cool. My destination was Flat Top. A local very known well hike that I had made plans to do multiple times with multiple parties in the last six months and it always FELL THROUGH!  Yea it’s the middle of the week and I and other people work the next day, yea it would be way late till we even started since I wouldn’t be off work till 10pm. But it’s the Solstice ~ there would be light! Little did I know…in Anchorage TONS of people hike Flat Top for the Summer Solstice. Even late into the evening. It was more like a migration to Flat Top! But I had fun in spite of the herds of people running about. Some whom probably only hike once a year..or never again..or this was their first time… Besides the people it was a gorgeous hike and I plan to do it again and again! River came with (of course) and Reuben along with a few of his friends (who promptly left us behind when I had to slowly crawl up the steeper parts) who happened to be out that day. Flat Top is not a very long hike by any means, but it has a decent amount of steepness to it! http://www.localhikes.com/Hikes/Flattop_0380.asp Sadly with my hip and back problems uphill is VERY slow going for me. Not really a matter of being in shape (I ran down Flat Top after going up) as my body just cannot do a certain kind of motion repeatedly without stopping 😦 So I often opt out of hikes with others because I will slow them down (a lot) or I don’t want to be ‘that’ person who kept everyone else from being able to go farther or whatever.  But since this was MY hike I felt that people could deal with it! And Reuben very nicely waited for me as River darted back and forth (I think she hiked the dam mountain 3 times over!) to make sure I was okay.

The views as we made our way up.

 

 

Even at 12:30 at night the sky was bright and views great.

The Sun breaking through the clouds. The city of Anchorage are the little towers before the sun lit water.

Every few minutes the view changed just a little bit, revealing another side, another glimpse of our world. The sun looks like it’s smoking with the way the rain clouds were breaking up in front of it.

The closer we got to the top the lower the clouds were. Here a peak (I don’t remember its name) is rearing out of the foggy clouds.

We hit the top! All around there were MORE mountains, views of the cove, rivers and rolling hills.

The sun is getting close to being at its lowest point for the night. The lights of the city below are becoming visible. Random people have set up tents on the mountain, there are large groups chilling and waiting for the darkest moment of the night. Some hippies smoking, some guys drinking, a guitar player singing the worst country songs and little hipster girls trying to dance to his beat. It was epic.

We head off to the side away from people and gaze down at Campbell creek and take pictures! Reuben caught here in mid sentence!

 

Here I am in my plaid flannel shirt, Ariat horse boots (which aren’t that good for climbing rocks by the way), torn jeans and hand-me down backpack (thanks Danny) on top of the world (or at least the mountain) and feeling like royalty in land of wild things. And yes I am standing on the EDGE of the sheer. I like walking along line of life.

Reuben took this close up! I AM smiling on the inside people.

A good shot of me here (GO Reuben). The sun was almost as low as it got here and I was no longer hot from the climb up and now pleasantly chilly with my many layers.

Me again with the sights behind me

Anchorage way down there & Denali range behind it.

And on the other side (East) of the sun the water and mountains were still visible.

Everywhere I looked ~ Picture worthy

Below is one of my favorite shots!

Even famous authors have something to say about the Summer Solstice!

There came a Day at Summer’s full,
Entirely for me —
I thought that such were for the Saints,
Where Resurrections — be —

The Sun, as common, went abroad,
The flowers, accustomed, blew,
As if no soul the solstice passed
That maketh all things new —

The time was scarce profaned, by speech —
The symbol of a word
Was needless, as at Sacrament,
The Wardrobe — of our Lord —

Each was to each The Sealed Church,
Permitted to commune this — time —
Lest we too awkward show
At Supper of the Lamb.

The Hours slid fast — as Hours will,
Clutched tight, by greedy hands —
So faces on two Decks, look back,
Bound to opposing lands —

And so when all the time had leaked,
Without external sound
Each bound the Other’s Crucifix —
We gave no other Bond —

Sufficient troth, that we shall rise —
Deposed — at length, the Grave —
To that new Marriage,
Justified — through Calvaries of Love — ~ Emily Dickinson

And that is the night! At which point Reuben and I packed away the camera and started down the mountain. Scramble, run, run, scramble River Scurrying to keep up. Was a blast.

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