Near, or not so Near, Point

 Break time! 

Break time! 

It was yet another lovely weekend in Alaska. It was my my weekend off of Firefighter class. Lindsay was up and out at 7 for work. I awoke a few hours later to balmy 15 degree temperatures with clouds. My friends Berit and Josh were meeting me at 10 am to go on a hike. Fuck, hello winter. Its kind of cold. I guess I should get ready for this shit and quit my bitching if I am gonna be skiing. The three humans and three dogs caravaned to the trail head. Our objective was Near Point, a sub hill off of Wolverine, one of Anchorage's front range mountains. Near Point is a pretty trivial hike by Chugach Mountain Standards. The difficult part is that it is almost 8 miles round trip. Over two thirds of that distance is approaching it. The actual uphill is not too steep relative to other hikes in the area. However, for such a small hill, there is a pretty significant expenditure of time and energy just getting to it. 

 Almost there! Or are we... 

Almost there! Or are we... 

Shiro, per usual, was stoked. Their dogs, Ruby and Odin were also stoked. (but no one is as stoked for mountains as Shiro) There was a mini dog party. The humans chatted and caught up on life on the leisurely approach to the hill. The dogs played in every puddle and stream crossing. Odin's shaggy ear hairs froze into little icicles. After a couple of miles and a few clearly marked forks in the trail, we reached the trial to Near Point. It didn't look much farther from here! The temperatures were warming up too; it was at the sweet spot of it felt pretty comfortable but the trail was still frozen. As an added bonus, the clouds were burning off, making for optimum hiking weather. 

 Summit!

Summit!

Shiro bolted on up and ran 5 times farther than the rest of us. We got maybe half a mile up before reaching a fork in the trail. We assumed they all went to the top and picked the most direct seeming route to the right. After about 30 more minutes, it looked like we were almost there! Berit found her second wind and ran up. And made a dismayed sound shortly after. False summit. The true summit still loomed in front of us. Shiro didn't care but Ruby was starting to get tired and lose interest in walking uphill. Odin just had frozen ears. And wanted to be as excited about everything as Shiro. We named the false summit Not-so-Near Point and continued. 

 Shiro loves photos as usual. 

Shiro loves photos as usual. 

We pressed on. A short time later, we were greeted with sweeping views of the Chugach Front Range to one side, and Anchorage to the other. We all took some time to take in the views and give the dogs some water.  We turned back the route we came. After about 4.5 hours of leisurely hiking, we were back at the cars.