The bridge at Tonsina Point. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Out of the Office: Tackling Tonsina

I’m reluctant to hike alone in Alaska. As much as I like being by myself and wandering in the woods, my concerns about encountering wildlife or falling off of a cliff with no one around is a common deterrent.

That wasn’t the case last weekend. Like a good hiker, I checked trail conditions on Facebook ahead of time before driving across the peninsula to hike one of my favorite trails on the peninsula: Tonsina Point.

The trail is fairly well known for its bear activity, but I figured it was early enough in the year for that to not be as much of a concern. It’s also pretty heavily trafficked as far as trails go.

Stepping out of my car in the parking lot at the Lowell Point State Recreation site, I breathed in the chilly air and relished the scent of dense moss and wet bark. If you ask me, a day in Seward will always be a day well spent.

Securing my ice cleats, I headed toward the trail. Tonsina is such a splendid example of the Kenai Peninsula’s biodiversity. The shaggy vegetation and soft sound of Resurrection Bay lapping at the base of the cliff are pleasures specific to Seward.

The best part of hiking alone is being able to move at my own pace. Rest when I want, run when I want, etc. Like a lot of people, I think a residual effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on my life will be that desire to move at my own speed.

To the tune of episodes of “This American Life” about Vladimir Putin and policing, I trekked down the trail’s switchbacks until I arrived at the wooden bridge. Standing in the intermittent sunlight, the water ebbed and flowed beneath me while jagged mountains poked the sky.

I was struck by how amazing I felt despite being at the end of a trail that winded me at the same time last year. In all areas of life, I think it’s important to remember that the only thing you can control is yourself. Nurturing my strengths and respecting my shortcomings made the hike the perfect day.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at

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