I am writing 10 posts about my 10 favorite hikes, here is more information.
I am glad I am spending time revisiting these hikes, as there is NOTHING going on in my life right now to otherwise write about. My posts could read: “It is cold. We might get snow on Monday. The air is dry. I itch all over. Today I worked on a puzzle. I tried to read a book and I scratched my dry skin and feel asleep” And repeat the next day. *Except: I do have a crafty Valentine's Day post in the works.
Trail: Flattop Trail
Ranking: number 7
Where: Anchorage, Alaska
When: June 2009
Cost: $5 to park
Who: A past co-worker/friend of mine, who visited me for 2 weeks. She is 20 years older than I, and the best PE teacher I have ever worked with. Also, randomly, we were with the wife of a good friend of mine. You may remember her from hike 10 in the Redwoods. She also makes an appearance in my favorite hike of all time. I don’t usually speak too much with her, just her husband, so it is hilarious she is in 3 of my favorite hikes (yes, I am just now realizing this). Side note – her husband flew in later that day, the couple were in Anchorage for a wedding and stayed with me.
I will go ahead and say it - there are only 2 reasons this hike is on here:
-the way I felt that day
-the perfect weather.
In June 2009 I was overweight after living in Anchorage for a year (I had a depressing winter and my eating habits consisted of wheat thins, cheese and a Diet Dr. Pepper diet), so it was surprising I easily overtook this hike – it is sketchy and strenuous at the top. I love rock scrambling, but some people compare the last part of the hike to actual rock climbing. And it was windy that day, it’s probably always windy, and I was a little shaky, but the top – which is flat, made it all worth it.
|It really is a flat top. The view from parking lot.|
|Where'd the trail go?|
(I just remember yet ANOTHER hike I have done – on Grandfather Mountain in NC – where it rains almost everyday in summer. I had to go down a wet rock slope. It was probably equal to 2 stories high. It was I against the wet rock slope, and I froze, the traction on my boots had worn thin. I often get myself into these incidents when hiking; I think that is what makes it adventurous. I finally took off my boots, threw them to my friend and crab walked barefoot down the rock).
This hike reminds me so much of Crowders mountain – sheer cliffs, just outside the city, moderate to strenuous hiking which turns into scrambling/climbing near the top, and views for miles. One difference – On Flattop you get to enjoy views almost the entire hike, not just on top. I read the trail is only 1.5 miles but it is up and up the whole time. There is also an additional loop that can be added to make the hike longer.
That day, not only were things as green as Ireland, we also saw many rainbows in the valleys, some more opaque than others. We also saw a mother and son hiking with their goat. And I wish I had a picture of a sign advising hikers to hold tight to small pets and small children. It gets windy!
On top I actually ran around like a kid, I felt that good.
|Do this hike for the views.|
|Me, running around the top like I lost my sense.|
|Can you see the rainbow? It's dim.|
If you are in Anchorage, and don’t want to drive far (the trailhead is just outside the city, if not in it) and you have pleasant weather, this hike is a wonderful way to spend the day. The views of Anchorage and the Cook Inlet are amazing.
I would NOT recommend this trail in the winter or early spring – you can fall pretty far. I guess with the right equipment, people handle it all the time. We also carried bear mace and kept out a watchful eye for moose. Even though it was a Wednesday, the trail was crowded. June is prime tourist time.
I absolutely loved this simple hike!