Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Flattop Mountain (the peak on the right in the back) is the most climbed mountain in Alaska. At 3510 ft and just a few miles outside Anchorage, it seemed like the perfect easy afternoon hike. It was perfect, but it wasn't easy. The trail was a really good workout and exceptionally beautiful, but the final ascent to the summit was something totally different. No trail, just find your way up the rocks. It would be a fun challenge. Add a kid who is terrified of heights, certain he is going to plunge to his death, but determined to reach the top anyway and it becomes an experience that won't ever be forgotten. I have never seen Elliot so terrified, not even close. I have never, never seen the fierceness of his determination like that. When he made it to the summit I thought I'd die of pride. He came down from the mountain a different kid. How cool is that?

Gotta have my science teacher moment: The Chugach Mountain Range is formed from the collision of the Pacific Plate with the North American Plate. Usually oceanic plates subduct beneath continental plates and the plunge back into the Earth's mantle to be melted. In the case of the Chugach Mountains, a part of the oceanic plate scraped off and was grafted to the continental plate. From what I've learned so far scientists aren't really sure why. Another cool thing about the mountains is that they supposedly get the most snowfall per year of any place in the world. Michael took advantage of this fact and pummeled me with 3 snowballs!