If you read my previous blogs then you know that Don Barber is a ranger for this beautiful state and has been for many years. He knows just about all there is to know around here, including all the cool trails. John and I are always asking Don to recommend trails for us to do, because we are a glutens for punishment. Don was the one that recommended the Skyline Trail! The Skyline Trail is the trail that not only impaired my walking for 3 days but caused me to have numerous fights with the childproof Tylenol bottle. Don on the other hand, can probably skip up the Skyline Trail! I'm sure there's no trail around here or mountain that can even make this man sweat!
Anyway, after asking Don once again what would be a cool trail to do, he recommended Hideout Hill Trail. Of course I had to ask, "Is it like the Skyline Trail?". He said it was the same elevation as the Skyline Trail but a more gradual climb, not as steep. I think the real red flag was when he said to take extra water and make sure we take our time. This statement made me raise an eyebrow! Flashbacks of crawling up the Skyline Trail were suddenly coming back to me. I had a vision of me on bended knees begging John to stop, lifting my weak, heavy legs just to go another five feet so I could rest once more. I remember John saying, "You can't rest because I still see your last resting spot." Apparently there's some kind of hiking rule, unwritten I'm sure, that states a person cannot rest if their prior resting spot is in view. I'm ashamed to say that I broke this rule quite a few times. After having this vivid memory, I decided to hike Hideout Hill Trail anyway!
We headed towards mile 63.5 of the Sterling Highway where Hideout Hill is located and proceeded to hike. The first part of the hike is somewhat flat but it takes you through some marshy areas that are densely populated by those horrible, violent and blood sucking creatures called, MOSQUITOS! Needless to say, the backpacks came off and the mosquito repellent went on! With two extra pounds of repellent on our bodies we started our gradual climb. It seemed like the more we climbed the more ungradual it became. It got quite steep! As we climbed and climbed, I felt like we were never going to get there! After 2 1/2 hours we finally made it! This trail is kind of steep and moderately strenuous but the views of Skilak lake and the surrounding smaller lakes is spectacular especially on a clear day. We enjoyed the view, ate our snacks and laid back for a nap. After about an hour we headed back down.
It took us 1 hour and 15 minutes to get down which is about the same time it takes Don to get up there, which proves my point, THIS MAN IS HALF MACHINE! The good thing is that I only slid three times going down this trail.
On my first slip I reached out and grabbed the nearest handhold to arrest my fall. A pain stabs into my hand. I saved myself by grabbing hold of a stem of, Oplopanax horridus, the devil's club.
Thank you Don for recommending this trail, it really was worth the effort. I just have to say, this trail wasn't as hard as the Skyline, I'll agree with you on that, but it sure was pretty darn close!