Turnagain Arm, as seen from Mount Alyeska in Girdwood, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Turnagain Arm, as seen from Mount Alyeska in Girdwood, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Tangled Up in Blue: Short and sweet

I went on a little vacation.

It was nothing too involved, and how could it have been? While we traverse the unknown world of a global pandemic, with travel restrictions, health mandates and social distancing policies in place, it’s not exactly the best time to trot the globe.

But, I couldn’t shake the thought of getting out of town, doing something different.

So, we trotted up to Girdwood. There were no skis in tow, with the snow that covers the slopes long melted. Instead, I had a pair of running shoes, some sunglasses and a good book.

And while the presence of the current pandemic was never ignored, with masks and hand sanitizer abound, it was nice to be somewhere different.

At Alyeska in the winter, your skis guide you.

In the summer months, there are plenty of routes and methods from which to choose. You can explore the woods or hike on up high. You can grab a bike and explore endless trails through the woods or along paved pathways. You could even just hang out and order room service.

We did a little bit of everything.

After we turned off the Sterling Highway and made it into town, we took off. My partner and I ran up and down around the Winner Creek Trail, following twists and turns along new pathways until we were back where we started.

The trails seemed familiar, those old wooded forests that lead to nowhere and everywhere all at once. We flew over roots and rocks, like they were the trails in our backyard, but with the refreshing and reviving thrill of something new.

We talked about all the places the trails, which are part of the old Iditarod Trails, could lead and where they have led before.

On our small trip, we put plenty of miles behind us.

After our run, we kept exploring. We went straight up, hiking over 2,000 feet along the North Face trail to the top of the tram. From there, you could see the Turnagain Arm and all of the beauty of Cook Inlet and beyond. Groups enjoyed an afternoon outside in the sunshine on the deck of tram terminal.

We took a quick, little trip, but got some big views.

And after doing all the hard work of making it up, the Alyeska tram will bring you back down to earth for free, a welcome treat.

Usually, we’re a pair that opts for a tent but for our “staycation” we cozied up at the Alyeska Resort. It was a 180, to go from exploring the wilderness around Girdwood to eating take-out sushi on top of a hotel room bed, careful not to spill the soy sauce.

There’s an excitement that is paired with a vacation that lets you indulge in the luxuries of take-out sushi and a tram ride down a mountain. It was a welcome treat to escape to Girdwood, while still staying safe and following protocols, with different summer plans being changed and canceled left and right.

We still got to take a little trip, though, and it still felt like a big adventure.

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