By: Dwayne Parton

When the Trail Disappears

Alaska has been pretty cool. If I told you I’ve been a little disappointed with it for the most part would you believe me? Not with the Aurora(definitely not with that) nor the driving but with the “wild” part. I expected the whole state to continue feeling wilder but when I left Fairbanks I felt like I had entered into a vacation. As beautiful as this place is, I was starting to feel ready to leave. I want to fall in love with it like I fell in LOVE with the Tetons, Hyalite Canyon, and the Bridgers. I haven’t felt that here.

Tyler and I went to the Flattop Mountain area just out side of anchorage. It’s a beautiful place, and at first just appears to be like another hike up to Climgman’s dome. Not that there is anything wrong that. The trail is groomed, the area beautiful, and there are lots of people. We didn’t hike up to Flattop but instead walked towards the adjacent mountain.

Tyler is truly a free spirit not to mention a fantastic chef. We’ve been friends since high school and he’s been in Alaska for 6 years now. “I’ve got a friend who lives in a green bus in Alaska!” That’s how I described him. He doesn’t like trails and I don’t really understand why. At least not yet.


The further we get from the car, the more diluted the trail becomes. Eventually, we are just walking up the mountain. It’s cold, rainy, and the sky is as dramatic as I’ve seen. The dogs are racing back and forth and beat us to the top. There it is! This is the feeling I was looking for and we are just a few miles from the car. The view is spectacular.


The dogs are going crazy. They love this freedom! Freija is all personality and she follows Bob-O step for step.


I’m feeling like a dog photographer. I’m having a blast, they are having a blast, and it’s insanely beautiful.


I kept trying to capture it all. The view of the bay and Anchorage, the clouds, the dogs, and the sky. We left right when the sun beams started to wain. The show was over and it was just about dark. My view of Alaska has changed. It feels different and that was barely a scratch on the surface. I returned a couple days later, to see if the feeling was still there.


Yep! I want to go into the bush! I want to walk through the mountains and see what’s out there. I walk to the Williwaw Lakes. It’s maybe a mile up the ridge from where me and Tyler had stopped. I feel like I’m standing on the brim of adventure. Pick a line through the mountains just keep walking. Doesn’t that sound fun!!!


If I tell you’ve I know what I’m going to do…don’t believe me, at least not yet. Between the conversation at starbucks and my first ascent into the Glen Alps, I’m starting to think Alaska isn’t finished with me yet! The trail has disappeared and every choice seems like a good one! That mountain looks cool….Let’s go!


Bob-O is still waiting…