HIking · Living in Alaska · Trail Running

The Most Alaskan Weekend Ever

Hi everyone!  Since moving to Alaska, I’ve been trying to make the most out of each and every weekend here.  The problem is that when you’ve lived here long enough, you start to settle into a routine where you end up using the weekends to relax and refuel just like people living in every other place on earth.  But since the summer is starting to wind down, I’m starting to feel like I need to go out and do ALL THE THINGS before it starts snowing.  And this weekend ended up being jam packed with all of my favorite Alaskan activities!

Saturday:  Andrew and I used a Groupon for kayak lessons out on Wasilla lake.  We’ve gone so many times but never actually learned how paddle backwards, sideways, or how to stop.  Our class was really thorough and I learned so much!  It was crazy foggy on the lake for most of the class but it cleared up by the end.

IMG_6290My first time in a single kayak!

IMG_6284Our view on Wasilla Lake

After kayaking, I knew that I had to run 6 miles to get ready for my upcoming race.  But it was such a gorgeous day that I just didn’t feel like doing one of my typical running routes.  So I called up my friend and we went for a trail run on the Powerline Pass trail!  It’s only about 20 minutes from my apartment but I’ve never run there before because I am really afraid of bears.  Running with a buddy (and bear spray) made me feel so much better.  But it was still really tough – trail running is hard but beautiful!  The trail is really wide but really rocky so we had to walk some portions to stay safe.

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IMG_6297Taking my road shoes out on the trail!

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Later that night after the run we were hanging out at our friend’s house, sitting around the fire, and we happened to look up…and right above our heads was the northern lights!  It’s super rare to see them while in the city because of all the light pollution, but they were really bright and were even moving!  So we grabbed our cameras, jumped in the car, and drove up to Glen Alps to see them better.  My friends and I spent hours laying on the parking lot wrapped in blankets staring at the northern lights, which were literally filling the whole sky with green and purple moving light.  I’ve never seen anything like it and people are calling it a “once in a lifetime” show!  One of my friends took a ton of pictures which don’t do them justice at all.  I wish there was a way our cameras could capture their movement so you all could see it!

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aurora6Looking straight up!

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Sunday:  Since we were up all night, we slept in pretty late and had trouble getting started with our day.  But it was another gorgeous sunny day, so we went on a hike to Rabbit Lake.  We took the trail from Upper DeArmoun Road, which was 8.8 miles round trip.  Finding any information about this trail is hard, so if you’re in Alaska and want to do this hike here’s what you need to know:

  • There’s two ways to get to the lake:  McHugh Creek which has a big parking lot and is steeper, and Upper DeArmoun which takes more effort to drive to but has a long and gradual elevation gain.
  • To get to the more gradual hike, take the Upper DeArmoun exit on the Seward Highway.  Drive towards the mountains until you get to an intersection with Canyon Road.  Turn right on Canyon, and follow the road for a few minutes.  It’s a pretty bumpy dirt road, and it will eventually pass through an open gate.  If you have a good SUV, drive as far as you can up to the end of the road and park wherever you can – there’s not really a parking lot.  The potholes were insane so take a car that can handle that.
  • The trail is really gradual and we saw lots of kids and dogs on the trail, but most of those groups turned around way before the lake.
  • Despite the fact that it was warm and sunny, once you get above the tree line it’s really windy and cold.  Bring layers and be prepared for any weather!

The trail took us a few hours round trip and was so worth it – the view was incredible!  We didn’t bring enough layers for the high level of wind that was coming through the pass so we were pretty cold the whole time, which kept us moving fast.  I think I’d like to try the trail from McHugh Creek next time I want to get to the lake because I’m sure the views of Turnagain Arm are amazing!

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After doing all of my favorite Alaskan activities this weekend I’m pretty worn out.  I don’t think I’ll get a weekend to relax for a while, but it’s worth it when you get to fill your weekends with gorgeous views and awesome friends.

What did you do this weekend?  Any trail runners out there?  And have you ever seen the northern lights before?

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12 thoughts on “The Most Alaskan Weekend Ever

  1. WOW! First – those trails look beautiful. You’re so lucky to get to run in that beauty! Although it’s different to have to be concerned about running into bears. And those Northern Lights!!! Unbelievable.

    1. Thanks! The trails are gorgeous but I swear I’m going to get mauled one of these days. I go in groups, talk loudly, and carry bear spray, but you just never know! I’ll honestly feel much better when they’re hibernating haha.

  2. Bucket list item is definitely to check out the Northern Lights. We’re lucky to see stars, period, due to the lights coming from Chicago. Such spectacular scenery–I’m so glad that you are soaking it up!

    1. I know how you feel – in Philly I never saw stars. It was always my goal to live somewhere where I could see the stars, and I got even luckier ending up somewhere where I could see the northern lights too!

  3. This looks incredible! I need to come back up to Alaska to do more adventuring! Are the pictures of the Northern lights the ones your friend took on a camera? I can never get shots of stars or moons to show up on my phone…

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