My Alaskan Adventure | Teen Ink

My Alaskan Adventure

October 2, 2008
By Ryan Hotchkiss SILVER, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Ryan Hotchkiss SILVER, Albuquerque, New Mexico
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

It was like I was climbing Mount Doom, and like Frodo I had to cast the Ring into its fiery depths. Only I wasn’t Frodo, and I wasn’t clawing my way up Mount Doom. I was in Alaska, climbing one of the longest, steepest, and most grueling trails I’d ever been on. Thinking I was on a mission of unequivocal importance was the only way that I could keep going and not go insane from the physical and mental strain.

When my mom had said that our family would be going on a gentle, beautiful hike through the Alaskan wilderness, alongside a bright blue glacier, I was looking forward to it with unparalleled enthusiasm. What I got, however, was the Harding Ice Fields.

As soon as we came to some rocks we had to actually find footholds in, I should’ve said “Nope. You guys can hike this trail if you want, but I don’t hate myself that much. I’ll go wait in the car for the next 4 hours.”
The next red flag was the small blobs of moving color I saw much higher on the trail. Apparently the trail never ended. I’d be in the stratosphere by noon. I kept going though. “The view will be amazing,” I kept telling myself. Eventually we got to a series of switchbacks going up the side of the mountain. After climbing and climbing and climbing some more despite the burning in my calves, I reached the top! I took in the view, taking countless photos of the glacier sprawling out below me. Satisfied, I sat down on a rock, opened up my backpack, took out my water bottle and a sandwich and took a well deserved break. I looked around, taking in the scenery, when I noticed that this in fact was not the top of the mountain, and that the trail went on for probably another 2 or 3 miles.
“I think this is as far as we’re going,” wheezed my dad, out of breath. Everyone nodded in agreement. There was no way I was going to make it to the top of the trail and back down. “I really don’t think the view was worth it,” I said. “Yeah, I don’t think we’ll be doing another hike for awhile,” my mom replied.
The way down seemed to be much more interesting than the way up. I saw a bear walking with 2 cubs on a faraway patch of ice. That cheered me up and made me think that the trip wasn’t a complete waste of time. Near the bottom of the trail, we came across a mom, her teenage son, and her 5 year old daughter. I know she was 5 years old because while I decided to take a break as my parents told them how strenuous the trail was and how they would most likely need snacks and water (which they didn’t appear to be carrying), the little girl decided to strike up a conversation with me.

“Hi, I’m 5 years old. Are you 6?” This really made me laugh and I had no idea how to answer for a second. “No, I’m 17,” I replied. Then we got going back to the parking lot.
Soon (but not soon enough) we arrived back at the bed and breakfast we had been staying at. I was so tired and sore from the hike that I fell asleep on the couch almost the moment I stepped in the room. I have no idea how Frodo did it…

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This article has 1 comment.

Burger said...
on Oct. 14 2008 at 2:40 am
You have a really strong voice!!! My mom thought that is was good too. Keep it up Ryan.