Frum Outdoorsman: Rare but Possible

The wanderings and adventures of an orthodox Jew

Hiking in Kenai Fjords

Posted by Frum Hiker on December 26, 2006

As we crested the hill and burst through the treeline we noticed two fellow hikers gazing off into the distance. Even from our vantage point we could tell there was some sort of wildlife that they were looking at. We were just oustide Seward Alaska, Seward situated on the coast is at the mouth of a bay surrounded by glacier topped mountains. During the fall the tundra adorning the tops of the mountains turns bright red, with the non evergreen trees turning deep gold- providing one who hikes above treeline(which haqppens to be very low) with an amazing site. We were hiking up a trail past gray car sized boulders, the tundra was there up close and personal with deep shades of red and the last green plants holding on for their lives before they too, were forced by hard frost to change their precious green leaves to a deep shade of red as well. We were getting closer to the two men who appeared to have been standing where they were for quite a long time.

As we approached I wondered if they would thin k we were insane for hiking with a loaded shotgun. My friend Danny who is a heavy set fellow who resembles a lumberjack fits well with a shotgun strapped to his back- he looks like he could have been the machine gunner in the back during Viet Nam. They point to a rather large black bear about 200 yards in the distance. We whip out our binocs and proceed to look at this beast gathering its last food stores before it takes its yearly nap. The close proximity of this bear forces me to start looking around more and more. Then all of the sudden a second bear a little closer pops into view. They are both foraging the tundra for berries- I had in fact found some fresh ripe rather large raspberries on the way up. Prior to this in all my years hanging out in the woods I had never seen a bear. I had seen grizzlies in Glacier National Park in Montana- but that was also from several hundred yards.

We continued up and were brought to an amazing site. The massive valley we were hiking in became a steep rock filled halfpipe. The trail ended and we started making our way toward the massive blue colored glacier. Glaciers are said to be so dense that the only light that is let in is blue- or so a national park ranger had told me. We hiked up to the top of a ridge and were greeted with massive gorge that wasnt visible from below. On the bottom of the gorge was a lake of glacier water. The drop below us was a good 200 feet straight down and we had to scramble on this spine of a trail. Eventually we reached a point tat only technical climbers could get up. Simply amazing I thought as we sat up there in utter silence, solitude and beauty- as we took in the jagged spires meating the bays edge and the crisp blue sky. The city of Seward lay some 4000 feet below and we watched the small boat harbor as if we were looking at a frather large ant farm.

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