Have you ever dreamed of going to a place where the land is so vast, beauty as far as the eyes can see? I have and I have been there too! Once there, if you are anything like me, you will become a starry-eyed dreamer; a person who becomes so engulfed in the experience they become one with the land. What will lay before you is worth the hike, you just wait and see.
To get there, you will start out with a slight incline, following switchbacks until you get to the sign. When you do, you have a choice to make, either stay to the left and go to Symphony and Eagle Lakes or venture off to the right, which leads to Hunter’s Pass. For this hike, make sure to stay to your left.
As you follow along the trail, you will experience some rolling hills. No steep incline on this hike, but the path you have chosen will take you back approximately seven miles before reaching the lakes. The trail is child and dog friendly. If you have a little one, a carrier is recommended to give them a ride if their little legs tire out.
Along the way, there will be two bridges, which cross over the river. These are great places for taking breaks and provide excellent photo opportunities as well. In between the two bridges, there is an area with some wooden planks and railroad ties that you can walk along. The trail can be soft, mushy and muddy, especially after a rainfall. Not all the muddy areas have wooden planks or railroad ties for stepping on, so do your best to navigate yourself through this area.
More than likely, the mud on your shoes will dry by the time you reach the second bridge unless of course, you go hiking on a rainy day. The second bridge you will cross leads directly into the boulder field. Upon arrival, your first steps will be big steps, so be ready to get yourself boosted up. From there, the trail will appear and do your best to follow. To help you navigate, there will be stacked piles of rocks that help lead you to the lakes. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, spend more time ascending the boulder field by stepping on the big rocks as you move along. Do what you can based on your experience and ability.
Beyond the rock fields lay beautiful bodies of water. Depending on how the sunlight hits the water, a most magnificent shade of green can appear but most often the coloring is glacier blue. This is the place where I could spend hours, in awe of such beauty, taking the whole experience in.
Those who want to spend more time should pack adequate gear for tenting out. Make sure to pack your fishing pole if you want to try your luck at catching trout in the lake. If you keep up a good and steady pace, you will reach your destination in approximately 2.5 hours (don’t forget, that’s one way, plan on doubling your hiking time and consider the amount of time you want to spend sitting back relaxing and having a snack or exploring more areas when you are there).
Whether you are the tortoise or the hare, remember it is not always about the destination, but the journey in life. We all have a different reason or motivation for doing what we do. The writer and photographer in me would like to take more time along the way to write, take notes, and be even more intentional in my photo subjects to capture the moments and tell a story. The team player in me also has that intrinsic motivation to keep up, keep pace with my family, and make good timing all while enjoying the scenery.
Whatever your reason for getting out and exploring more of Alaska trails, know you are doing your whole body a favor. Getting out in nature grounds us, provides us with a place to get away, and escape the noise of the city and rejuvenate our souls. Refreshed, recharged, ready to go. A new perspective, appreciation, that there is more to life than we know. Allow yourself some grace and be filled with gratitude!