Carrying a load

November 12th, 2011 by

Hig, Katmai, Erin and Lituya, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Hig (carrying Katmai) and Erin (carrying Lituya) walk along the shore of a small lake at the edge of the Malaspina Glacier, looking north toward Mt. St. Elias and the Saint Elias Mountain Range.Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Please click on the image above to view a larger version of this photo.

Hey Folks,

Here’s another shot from the trip recently down along the coastline. This photo was one of my first days on the hike with hig and Erin, and their 2 children Katmai (wearing his “Prince-pants”, and carried here by Hig, on the left) and Lituya (whom Erin is carrying). What a treat it was to be invited to join this great family on their adventure! So, on this particular morning, we wanted to go and explore the edges of the Malaspina Glacier, and enjoyed a gorgeous morning hike up over the moraine and out on to the ice. The farther reaches of the glacier provided spectacular views of nearby Mt. St. Elias (pictured) and the Saint Elias Mountain Range, and the amazingly expansive view over the Malaspina. Incredible place.

It was really cool to hike with Erin and Hig, both accomplished backcountry travelers, but particularly to do so and accompany them with their 2 young children. Katmai is nearly 3, and Lituya is about 8 months old. Toddlers like this are always fascinating, but watching such young kids experience the wilderness was great fun.

What struck me most, I suppose, was the thought of how great it is that 2 young parents are here spending 24 hours a day with their children. Not too many parents do I know, or know of, ever do something like this, and it was really fun to observe. Almost every waking moment of their day Erin and//or Hig engaged their children, for 2 months. The kids had a blast, especially young Katmai, who soaked up the beach, the mountains, the views, the dirt, my peanut butter, any chocolate within a half mile, and the sunshine whenever he could.

Certainly, there was some “enduring” going on from time to time, but oh so rarely. For the most part, everyone simply enjoyed being in the backcountry. Good times all around.

We spent a few days in this area, then packrafted across this lake, hiked over the moraine, boated back down the next river to the beach, and then hiked the coast east to meet up with 2 other folks, Sam and Michael, for more adventures. I think my favorite area to explore was the grand old Sitka Spruce forests along the beach; absolutely amazing trees, mosses and vegetation in this dark and silent world. Silent, yet pounded by a mighty surf just outside; it’s a weird experience, hearing both silence and crashing, breaking waves pounding the shoreline simultaneously. Beautifully odd.

Erin and Hig and the family are still down in the area as I write this, but returning soon, and I’ll look forward to hearing from them about the rest of their trip. I had a great time with them, and will post a few more images from the trip as time permits.

Thanks for reading.



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