Time to tackle the hike of the year: 7-Mile Saddle and Mt. Ripinsky.Image

Jenn drops us off at the 7-mile trail head which climbs straight up to the Saddle. This 10-mile hike is a real ass-kicker. In between breaths, I eat wild blueberries and salmon berries and then rest.Image

After a brief walk on level land, we climb again to the 3920 peak and absorb the view as if in an airplane.Image

Time to cross a few snow plains and climb again.

On the peak of Mt. Ripinski, we begin to see the city of Haines below.

Our legs are shot, we’re running out of water, and we’re only half-way through! Again, the view comforts us, and there’s nothing like eating a handful of trail mix while sitting on top of the world.

Through the woods, we sidestep scat while singing and making noise to ward off bears. Will this trail ever end? I’m starting to feel old…especially in the knees. The rooted straight-down trial tortures our joints but the constant sweating cleanses our toxins. Going to have to re-tox soon!

Finally, we reach the end with a highly respectable time of 7.5 hours, on a trail that brochures tout as an 8 to 10 hour jaunt. Jack the dog waits for us in the truck, what a good boy. Jack gets rewarded with an evening at a real house. Our closest neighbors, Dale and Renee have a place in paradise,

dwarfed only by their generosity. We spend lots of time drinking, fishing and hanging out with each other. As a matter of fact, we go halibut fishing the next day on Dale’s boat, but catch nothing worth keeping…sometimes that’s how it goes.

I’m down to two weeks left in Haines. I have a book signing at the Haines Public Library on August 22nd at 3:00PM, and then head to the lower 48 for book signings in Columbus and Mingo Junction, Ohio. My novel, Broken Collar is available on Amazon.com or Bottomdogpress.com or nook at Barnes & Noble.

For now, we have only a couple of weeks left to check off the bucket list. For me, absorbing and enjoying the environment here will probably fit the bill, but who knows what Mare has in store? Thank you Abundant Universe: www.ronaldgmitchell.com

Summit 3920 and Mt. Ripinski tower over Haines, Alaska

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