Summer Shade

The vibrance of summer is paling, its sunlit greens draining with the chlorophyll as these northern latitudes shy from the sun.

And with it bleed the memories of our escapades, words and images tangled on my desk, tiptoeing through my late night thoughts before I anxiously turn, leaving them yet again, to a colder tomorrow.

Windswept, deadened leaves gather on my doorstep and pause, resting before they rise, forming a ghostly, brittle specter. He leans ominously towards my entry, rasping on the doormat, obscuring ‘Welcome’, so I see only his waiting invitation: ‘Come’.

Come, and gather your procrastination as the squirrels gather nuts, running along the back fence line, pursued by the failing light.

Come, harvest your photos and stories, sift them, weigh them, tally their values.

Come, he turns aside, gesturing at the gaping, emptied columbine, lupine and violet seed pods, the whiskered, aged fireweed. Come; scatter your seeds abroad.

So here I am, with a full cornucopia of stories grown in the summer sun:

The Butte

is that hike every place has, that small lookout crawled over in popularity.

Here is what I love about the Butte: it is close, there is a gum tree (super bear safe idea),

the stairs wear me out, it is the lone standing rock in the midst of a valley obviously carved by a glacier which ground everything else to dust and house sized boulders,

and the kids can tear around at the top while I time travel and imagine ice flowing on all sides hundreds of years ago.

Portage Pass

This was my first time on this saunter and we went as part of a quorum.

We went on the hottest day Whittier has ever experienced (I’m not completely sure that isn’t true, but it was HOT), and the trail climbs to the pass

before dropping back down through the trees

and opening onto the beach.

Probably the hardest part of this trail is that it’s easy to underestimate the climb back when you head home.

Reed Lakes

This again, is one of the most popular hikes in the area. In fact you are guaranteed to see other people (crowded in Alaska is my favorite tongue in cheek jest). It is a relatively mild trip that we backpacked in to.

What stands out about Reed Lakes is the boulder fields. Our dog had the most trouble and the kids actually had a blast boulder hopping.

After the boulders you come to the Swimming Hole.

There are another few steep sections and a false summit, but soon you come to lower Reed Lake. It was here that we set up camp.

Dropping the packs and legging it up to upper Reed Lake is a must. Portage had given us a taste for attempting jumping photos…

In the morning the reflections got a bit trippy and we spent some time in the upside down.

A quick dip in the freezing lake

Before heading back down

Across the boulders

Keeping a wary eye out. Then home.

There—Shadow of Fall, Summer Shedding Incarnate, we have come to the end.

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