Anchorage: Snowshoe Far North Bicentennial Park

I’m dogsitting for a college buddy’s mom while here in Anchorage, but she hasn’t left for her trip to Myanmar yet. The other day, she invited me to tag along with her to Anchorage’s Far North Bicentennial Park. Since I don’t have a car, you can bet I said yes to the ride, and off we went!
Bicentennial Park has over 100 miles of multi-use trails and is bordered on three sides by major roads, with the fourth side coming right up against Chugach State Park and the Chugach Mountains. There was too much snowfall to safely go anywhere up above the foothills (avalanche precautions), but at Bicentennial we were free to roam the trails and beyond. Lula and Comet, the sled dogs, were mighty pleased as Sue took off on her skis and I somehow managed to keep up with them while in snowshoes. It helped that temps were in the low teens, keeping the incentive for movement high.
“We get a lot of snow here,” Sue told me. “But it’s the best snow you’ll ever see.” Indeed, she was right. Powder-fresh and squeaky-dry, that snow kept my snowshoes singing–the best snow they’ve seen in the two years I’ve owned them. We stayed out for several hours and I’m not sure how far we went, but we sure didn’t stop moving. The moments I paused to take these photographs I paid for later, as I hustled to keep pace with those four-legged critters up ahead of me on the trail. My breath turned to ice crystals and my curls froze, giving me that tell-tale Alaskan ice-glazed look. Felt good to earn it!
Red-singed bark on a white birch tree. Frozen curls!
I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, and there’s nothing like getting my heart rate going to help me shift perspective. But without running shoes and no gym membership, and without a car, and with diminishing emotional reserves to explore new terrain, I’ve struggled a bit this week with some sense of paralysis. Sue didn’t know it, but her invitation to tag along was just the companionship I needed. By the end of our time in the woods, I felt a little more like myself. And who couldn’t, with a view like this?

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