Sunday hiking adventures are one of the highlights of the week. Enjoying part of the weekend with Layla on Alaska's beautiful trails and mountains are incredible ways to spend time.
Today, we climbed to what is called the 'Second Saddle' of FlatTop. This is a location about 2/3 of the way to the top of the peak of the mountain. It's the base of the actual 'climb' that requires a little hand action as hikers make the final ascent.
Friends Karen and Jenni agreed to team up with me today. They brought along their dogs Elim, Chevy, Skyler and Haley. We were outfitted with crampons, ski poles, gloves (weather was about 37 degrees), and thin layers.
On our way back around 'the saddle' we were caught up in a bit of a slip and slide. Between icy conditions and loose gravel, we encountered an accidental slip and slide down part of the mountainside. It was more than a little precarious. Suddenly we were three people sliding flat, face down on gravel on ice at a 45 degree angle. All three of us had to use our best judgment in calculating our positions and movements to regain stable ground to avoid sliding the full 300' down the mountain side. Eventually we found solid footing - grabbing at whatever rare mountain shrubs we could find and hold onto. It was a 30-minute task to find safe footing.
There was definitely some danger in this situation. At first, our five dogs thought we were playing around. Soon, however, they understood it wasn't playtime. Layla was especially concerned. She knew I was in jeopardy. Her four legs were sound and secure. Thank God.
But I had to raise my voice to her to have her stay where she was. I did't want her to stir other rubble on the mountainside. I didn't want her to become part of the problem or worse, a victim.
In the end, it was a learning experience. A good story. And I learned even more about my Layla.