Sunburned Success: Mountain Biking to Eklutna’s Serenity Falls Hut

Last Wednesday, during one of the hottest weeks the Anchorage area has ever seen in May, Nic and I both had a free evening.  Out into the wilderness we ventured, on mountain bikes with gigantic backpacks full of camping gear.  After a late start, we started from the Lake Eklutna trailhead around 6 PM or so.  It was still amazingly hot, with blazing summer sunlight illuminating the snow-capped peaks well into the night.  The scenery was absolutely stunning.

A family played by the distant lakeshore.

We rode onto the airstrip, where a flight student was practicing landing and taking off with an instructor in a pretty, shiny red plane.  The red of the plane, the blue of the sky, white mountains and green trees were an incredible combination.

Exhausted and with our butts aching from our bike seats (I was using a men’s bike, ouch), we finally arrived at the Serenity Falls Public Use Hut, where we had reserved bunks for the night.  Nestled between sweeping mountains, and overlooking a river, the cabin’s enormous windows made it an amazing place to stay.  The tips of the mountains gleamed in the nighttime sun while Nic prepared veggie burgers for dinner on a camping stove.  Scrabble ensued.

The next morning (at which time both of us simultaneously had Tatu’s “Not Gonna Get Us” stuck in our heads) we had some instant oatmeal and Clif Bars for breakfast, wrote in the guestbook, swept the floor, and were back on the trails by 10 AM – somewhat of a late start, but nothing beats sleeping in in a cabin.

The air temperature was actually hot outside!  Unlike the typical Alaskan “hot” (cool air, hot sun), the breeze itself was physically warm.  Weird!  We cruised the 13 miles back to the car in excruciating pain, but managed to use our hats as seat cushions.  It was beautiful – the water stood perfectly still, dandelions were in bloom, and swarms of bright yellow butterflies flew along with us in the summer sun.

Sunburnt, sore, and happy, we returned from nature paradise to the monotony of the workforce – but man, what a way to spend a free evening!  The area near the cabin is now burning away in a forest fire… we made it in the nick of time!

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