Experience Hiking on Lazy Mountain, Palmer, Alaska.
UNTUK VERSI BAHASA MELAYU, KLIK SINI.
I never considered myself as an active, outdoorsy person. It was my nature since I was a little that I like to stay at home and read comic like Gila-Gila and Gelihati. At school, I can be categorized as a mellow student. I never joined any sports activities and I don’t even go down to the field to cheer for my school team. When it came to cross country challenge, (which I was unable to skip it at all) I was the last student that reach the finishing line. I hid in the school restroom and talk to the mirror during physical education session.
It came to my surprise that I am quite an outdoor person at this age. Without I realized it, I went hiking and do the jungle trekking at least once a year. Maybe because I was surrounded with active, outdoorsy people. Morever, my husband is a work out addict. He will go crazy if he didn’t go for 10 kilometers run in a week. Regardless where we are, it must happen. Even in between overseas trip. He woke up as early as 5 am in the morning and leave hotel room to run around the city. He did it when we were in Mexico City visit last January too. I am thankful that I’m not that work out lunatic, yet.
Now I wanted to tell you guys about my experience and feelings on hiking abroad, in foreign country for the first time. This is also considered as my new breakthrough height record. The latest hiking I did was at Gunung Tangga in Cameron Highland, sitting n between Kelantan-Pahang border, looking for Raffelsia. I have the post on that last year on this blog. I swore that I never want to go for hiking again after Gunung Tangga.
People say, be careful with what you wished for, or you might just get it. Then, now, I am hiking Lazy Mountain located in Palmer, Alaska with 3,720 feet in height, 8 kilometers trail (round trip).
Actually I was convinced to do this hiking after my husband told me that it took him 45 minutes to get to the top of the mountain. He keep saying it’s a small hill. So, whatever time it took by my husband to get something done, I always times it by three when it comes to my agility.
That morning, I had 2 sunny side up for breakfast and 1 mug of coffee. I brought with me 3 bottles of 500ml mineral water. I didn’t get a heavy breakfast like fried rice or coconut rice because I don’t want to become lazy, slow poke Malay. Sorry, I was just joking. Haha.
At the same time, Mike (my husband) get his great grand niece, Lacey, a 5 year old to join us in this expedition. This made my assumption on difficulty level of Lazy Mountain is at the easiest since a 5 year old can do it. Meaning, adult like me can do it with with giggles and laughter. So, I was so happy by thinking of it.
Mike was quite worry for a start. Although he never claimed that I am a mellow, weak person when it comes to stamina and strength, he knew me too well. I am just like any other Malaysian. “Malaysian are lazy” according to him. He noticed that Malaysian prefer to drive their car rather than walking to the distance lesser than 2 kilometers. So he suggested for us to hike Bodenburg Butte (900 ft), which is located next to Lazy Mountain for a start. But I insisted to hike Lazy Mountain because of Lacey. If she can join this hiking expedition for Lazy Mountain, why not me?
We started around 11 am. It was sunny and the skies at it bluest with nice cool breeze. The Spring is at it best this year until we do not have to wait until Summer to do the hiking.
I was told by Mike that Lazy Mountain has 3 trails. So he picked the easiest for me and Lacey. The trail is quite even (flat) but it took more time to reach the peak which is around 4 kilometers.
Mike had to bear with me when it comes to photo shoot. Or else, I won’t be where ever, what ever he is into. So, if the journey took about 2 hours or so under normal condition, it will become 3 hours or so when I am around. He did told me that it’s killing him every time I asked him to stop and take my pictures. He complained and grunted, but he still did it. Because he has no option. Well, my case is just the same. I have no option when it comes to his farting obsession. He farted in closed spaces, room and in the car and I had to bear with it and continue breathing. I screamed and grunted, but I still keep breathing. Because I have no option. I told him that, I might have lung cancer one day because I breathe on smelly fart, carbon dioxide excessively.
By looking at my pictures, it was pretty easy and the trail is fairly even for the first 1 kilometer. It feels like going for picnic.
I was kinda exhausted when we hit kilometer 2 and made my 1st stop for drink and continue with enjoying the view. The best thing hiking in Alaska in Spring and Summer is its cool weather. I didn’t sweat since the air is dry compared to Malaysia which is humid. I don’t have to worry about bloodsucker creatures, wasp, wild animals, mosquito, djinn, goblins and ghost. The trail is dry and without funny smell. It’s all bright and I think I have no problem to do this alone.
I unable to spot a single trash too. Not even a cigarrette butt. People here do not need campaign like “Love our River” or Love the drain in front of your house since their awareness towards mother nature is there since they were born. So, for someone like me who came from a country where tonnes of trash sitting at parking lot for days, becoming very cautious in handling rubbish here.
It was a very relaxing hiking at first. Our journey were accompanied with butterflies and singing bird. And I took a close shot on details that adorn the ground.
Little benches are provided in every kilometer. Actually, Mike and Lacey wasn’t tired at all. But they were waiting for me since I was walking far behind them just like what I used to in cross country race at school.
Once I got to Mike, I asked him to snap a picture of me with this marvelous background.
The trail is getting steeper as we approached kilometer 2.5. I was starting to pant and said to myself – “I knew it, hiking is never easy”. I started to regret and angry at the whole thing at this point.
But the anger and frustration subsided immediately once I look up to this view in front of me.
High spirited Mike and Lacey ahead of me.
Look at the slope. I prayed hard for my patient at this point.
This was the last point I managed to catch up with Mike. After this point, there are no more picture of me posing around since Mike is 1 kilometer ahead of me. He already figured out that I won’t make it to the peak. So he had to sprint to the peak and meet me in the middle on his way down. Before he left, he did asked me whether I wanted to continue or turn around. But I insisted to go on since I must finish what I started or else, I will end up feel like a loser.
After a while, Mike left Lacey with me since she unable to catch up with Mike and Mike refused to stop anymore.
The truth is, it was kind of boring to do hike with Lacey. She talks a lot and never stop talking since we left the house until now. I also wonder, she never felt tired at least a little? She keep asking where is Uncle Mike. Then she wanted to pluck the flowers. Pushed me to walk faster and busy petting dogs that passes by. I unable to take a break because she kept on pushing me to keep on walking. Then we found a lady bug on the ground. The lady bug kept her busy for a while until she forgot about me. But only for 5 minutes, after the lady bug flew away, she back at me, torturing me with her non stop talking and asked me where is uncle Mike. Urgghhh.. my blood pressure went up as high as the current mountain level that I stood on.
For your information, you can see Bodenburg Butte hill, the supposedly hiking level for me in picture above. Serves me right.
Actually, I wanted to stop at this level and wait for Mike to come down. But Lacey kept whining to find her uncle Mike. I feel like want to commit suicide since I have to keep on climbing to find Mike. Slope is crazy steep at kilometer 3 but Lacey still managed to run up the slope like it was nothing. She talked to every other hikers that passes by and described them how Uncle Mike looked like. Lacey really thought we lost her Uncle Mike. The other hikers asked me how old Lacey is and thought that I carried her up here on my back. Yea right, it is more believable if I throw her down hill than carry her up hill. The truth is, Lacey is the only kid below 10 that was seen that day. Her presence convinced the other hikers to bring their kid up here next time.
There were a lot of other hikers that day. But there were coming from different trail. Some hike in group, some in couple, and some alone with dog. But most of them hike in ‘jog’ mode. Drenched in sweat. There was a guy shirtless passed me by, also in jog mode. I was startled. 4 kilometers, 3,700 ft and yet they use this location for jog? I’m dying!
Finally I made up to this point by CRAWLING. I assume it is at 2000ft or so. I unable to proceed to the peak. It has a flat surface and I sat down here, decided to wait for Mike. Lacey, almost cry, asked for Mike. Luckily, I saw Mike walking down from the peak from the distance. So I told Lacey to get her Uncle Mike on her own.
I managed to rest at this point around 10-20 minutes. It was 2 pm. I took few pictures but forgot to take video shot since I was dying.
Now it’s time to go down. Mike picked different trail this time, which is shorter than the first trail we used to come up. But according to my logic, the shorter the trail, the steeper the slope. Mike consoled me and told me that the trail will get pretty even at the middle of the hill, just like the one we came up. So I BELIEVED him.
See how steep the slope is. At this moment, my knees, thigh, leg, ankle and toes starting to hurt pretty bad. Maybe I used a wrong technique to walk down the hill.
Above is the last picture I took for the day. After that I totally lost the mood to hold my camera since my legs hurt like hell. At one point of time, I went down the slope by dragging my butt on the ground. I can’t use my leg at all. My knees turned into jell-o. I can’t see Mike and Lacey because they are too far ahead. Not long after that, Mike came back to find me. He can sensed that I won’t be able to make it.
Ok, you can laugh at me now. I must admit that, I cried that day. Mike carried me on his shoulder, on his back, support me from left and right. I was like a dead person. It was 5 pm, and we, I mean I, still struggle to reach mountain base. I was so hungry. Remember that I just had 2 eggs for breakfast? 2 eggs from 11 am until now. Lacey still talking non stop. I told Mike not to bring her next time. She makes me even more crazy and depressed with the sound of her talking.
I felt like I lost my leg this time. We finally reached the parking lot at 7pm
Once home, I went to bed after dinner without shower. Then, I woke up at 1 am with a little feverish. I made myself a bread toast and drank one can of coke. Apparently I was still hungry and I figured that my sugar level is very low . Mike came find me in the living room and saw me crying, again. I had to take pain killer and continue sleeping in the living room since it has Lazy Boy kind of chair over there. The chair can recline with pop up leg rest. Plus, it was too hard for me to get down from the bed every time I went to the loo. I slept with tears, enduring the pain in my whole body.
The killing pain is even more noticeble when I woke up the next morning. I saw Lacey jumping up and down outside. I asked her, how’s your leg? No pain? She said no. When can we go hiking again?
Suddenly I found her so annoying. She and her Uncle Mike are just the same. LOL.