Sunday, October 18, 2009

Aurora Lit Tolovana Hot Springs

High today: 36 F (FAI)
Low today: 14 F (FAI)
We're going on an adventure!!! To Tolovana Hot Springs!!!
Holy cow! My body feels like I just ran a marathon, but I didn't expect anything less for the weekend since I haven't carried a pack since May and picked a not-necessarily-easy hike to start back up. Nine of us hiked out 11 miles on a sheet of ice and dirt to Tolovana Hot Springs where winter is trying to stay... to enjoy good company, hot spring tubs, and the simplicities of life in a cabin. (ok, there was a radio, an OVEN and range top, and even a guitar in our cabin...) Friday night we didn't get to the cabins until 1am. The hike was very tricky in the dark being that it was in fact a sheet of ice. Moreso, I kept slowing down to turn off my headlamp and look at the crystal clear sky. What was even better is that what was just stars evolved into a faint green aurora straight ahead. It got brighter at one point too which made me hike reallly slowly. haha. Having a day to relax those muscles and enjoy fun friends was a good buffer before hiking the 11 miles back out.
Above is my buddy, Kristen. We have known each other for 3 years now after meeting when we both worked as summer interns in Anchorage! This was our first adventure together since... well, I think the first summer I was here, really!Josh, Melissa and Kristen hanging out in their cabin.Here's everybody except Shake who was taking the photo!

Later that night, we made the mistake of letting Joel take care of the fire. All of a sudden it was as hot as the hot springs in our cabin with the door open!!! I could not believe it.
Water, anyone? If we get giardia we are all going down together....Luckily by morning the cabin cooled down a little bit.Ashlee and Joel brought a smorgasbord of deliciousness for breakfast! Of course that meant we had to do the dishes. :-PWe had the log cabin.. it was a pretty fun place up on the hill.
Andy, Katie and Ashlee enjoying a morning soak before hitting the trail.Time to hit the trail again! Too bad we can't stay longer.Picture below is Joel's but it is my fav of everyone's hiking photos.Our way out seemed icier than coming in, but I was glad to be able to see more than 20 feet ahead!
The scenery was pretty awesome despite the lack of snow. It was very refreshing to just get out, and I am still breathing in a good high from the trip. It was very satisfying to know that I am pretty much back to normal and can do physical activity again. Time to live it up! Joel above on the ridgeline and Ashlee and Katie below coming down the trail.
The last mile or so of the trail was beautiful. There was hoar frost all over the trees and it actually looked like it should look this time of year! Big thanks to everyone who made the weekend! It was a blast and can't wait to do it again.

Time to get down to the lower 48.... so excited to see everyone. Are those wedding bells I hear????

(some photos are courtesy of Kristen and Andy and Joel/Ashlee!)

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