Wandering down the country roads that surround Nome is one of my favorite things to do. I love being able to meander through the magnificent Alaskan countryside and then pull over on the side of the road and hike whatever hill I please. Hiking in the spring can be a little wet and a little rough around the edges in terms of gracefulness, but the beauty of this place makes it well worth it. As long as it’s above twenty degrees and/or sunny, it’s worth getting out in. Temps have found their way into the forties and fifties recently, so I broke out the (only) shorts I have up here. This unique time of year presents an appreciation for the land around Nome and I find it to be a privilege to be part of the spring season in Alaska.
Falling through snow that you think will hold you while hiking is funny the first time, but it quickly gets old. It stinks having to use snowshoes in May when you know everywhere else in the country people are hiking in, get this, hiking boots. Sometimes, in order to mentally cope with the cool spring, punching through the snow is an OK option.
These are a few photos of some spring hikes that I have taken. While the winter offers the opportunity to snowshoe, I’ve been eager both springs that I’ve lived here to hit the hills in just my hiking boots. You can tell when it’s spring in Nome, the snow feels warmer.
On a recent hike with some friends from town, we got to the top of one hill only to find two very unhappy hawks, actually I don’t know what kind of bird they were, but for the sake of this post let’s just say they were hawks. They circled around the top of the mountain and screeched at us the whole time we were there. ‘Tis the season for babies, so I’m assuming we were far too close to their nest for their liking. One of the adult birds even took a dive on us a few times, when it got too close for our liking we left. I don’t need to find out what it’s like to get clawed by a hawk.
Recent hikes have been filled with other wildlife too, including 8 pregnant moose, many groups of muskoxen, a bear, 2 fox, and (finally) a little bit of color on the tundra. A few flowers are starting to sprout in the earth and the amount of runoff in the area is incredible. Spring is definitely here to stay. As you can imagine, there is a lot of ice and snow that needs to melt each year, which leads to the large amount of water that the rivers have to deal with.
I have high hopes for the upcoming summer season. However, just in case we don’t have an adequate breeze to keep the bloodsuckers at bay, I’m enjoying each mosquito-less spring hike that I find myself on. Other than perhaps the month of September, which truly produced some fantastic hikes last year, this may be the best time to get out hiking, not too cold, no bloodsucking insects, and still a bit of a challenge from straggling piles of snow.