Dear Reader, please meet Katelyn, shareholder relations manager for Huna Totem, the parent company for Dear North and Alaska Native. Here, in her own words and images, she takes us on one of her hikes.
Born to Be Outdoors
Born and raised in Alaska, the need to be outside runs deeply through my veins. The Southeast Alaska wilderness offers a tranquility that is always calling out to me—I keep a day-hike bag packed and ready to go in my car. Outdoor adventurists might know what I mean when I say that “the earth has music for those who listen.”
I’m part of a women’s hiking group where we challenge ourselves every weekend to gain more elevation or distance on local trails.
Fortunately, I can get lost in the beauty of Alaska wilderness all year long. During summer, I can drive a few miles out the road later in the day to begin a 4.5 mile hike and not worry about the trail getting too dark because I know that Alaska’s midnight sun is lighting the way. In spring, I can hike until 8 p.m. when it starts getting dark.
Hiking in Juneau
You can find “easy” hikes or more challenging ones in Juneau—it depends on your level of commitment. The view is what you make of it: the better the view, typically the harder the hike. A few of my favorite trails in Juneau offer the best of the best: wild berries to snack on when in season that taste so sweet when you’ve been in the woods for hours. Then again, it’s good to prep adequately for hiking, picking trails based on the weather forecast. Growing up in Alaska, you learn to pack layers, so you’re ready for anything, especially if you’re hiking 8 miles to a cabin. I also always keep a pack of our Savory Sea Kelp & Sesame Salmon Bites with me because the protein keeps me going strong during my wilderness adventures.
Auke Nu Trail and the John Muir Cabin
One of my favorite hikes is the Auke Nu Trail to the John Muir Cabin. It’s 1,550 feet in elevation and takes 6.6 miles round-trip to get there and back on-foot. To get there, go "out the road" as the locals call the road that leads to harbors, more homes, camping sites, and picnic areas past the Ferry Terminal in Juneau. This trail boasts benefits of a long uphill hike with the convenience of being in town. You start from a small seven-car parking lot and immediately scale a medium incline gravel path up that leads to a boardwalk. Then, up the mountain you go on a gradual incline you can feel in your legs! You ascend through the woods and cross a small bridge strung over a run-off river then climb over tree roots and mud until you reach John Muir’s cabin. Every time I hike this trail it looks different as the seasons paint the trees and backdrop, making me come back for more. But don’t take my word for it; see it for yourself.
March 12, 2016: We had to hike through some snow on the way up which was more time consuming than we had thought and much darker. Our headlamps proved useful on the way down as we found difficulty crossing the tree roots and mud after the sun went down.
April 16, 2016: This photo is almost the same as the one from March, but now the blueberry bushes are beginning to bud and turn colors. Beautiful!
April 16, 2016: At the summit sits the John Muir cabin. The views from the cabin and the top of the mountain are gorgeous. They offer the feeling of seclusion but also the lights of town glimmering in the distance. It’s a true accomplishment knowing how far I’ve hiked.
April 16, 2016: When I see the cabin, I know I’ve made it. This is what the trail is all about! I’m excited to go back to the top of the mountain and the cabin in June to pick blueberries along the trail.
I look forward to bringing you along on my Alaska. Please let me know what you think and what you’d like to see in future posts.