Category: Travel Blog

Sweet to Bittersweet: Hiking Sagehen And Donner Summit Trails

Yesterday hiking in Nevada and California took me from the sweet to the bittersweet. The Sagehen trail can only be described as a “sweet” trail. Trails have personalities. Some played with you and make you earn the summit. Some are just sweetheart, girl-next-door trails. That is the Sagehen trail. A lovely 5 miles there-and-back to a lake with added side trails available. I then did the Donner Summit and Mount Judas trails. That one is not sweet but gorgeous. Think of Mary Ann and Ginger. It was a great combination on a spectacular day.

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The Beauty of Mount Rose

I am in California to speak among the judges and attorneys of the Eastern District in Lake Tahoe on Sunday. As many on this blog know, I am an avid hiker and often take the opportunity of these trips to explore the local trails and forests. Yesterday, I hiked the Tahoe Rim Trail and then the Mt. Rose Trail. These trails take you along the Nevada and California border. The latter is quite difficult as you work your way up the summit of the highest point in the area. At roughly 9000 feet, it is the highest peak of the greater Sierra Nevada range. It is a gorgeous though strenuous hike.

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Running The Nenana With Raft Denali

One the greatest highlights of the trip to Alaska was returning to join Nenana Raft Adventures ( on a whitewater adventure in Denali. This is one of my favorite companies, run by Judith White, who is a fixture in Denali with Nenana Raft Adventures and Denali Paddlesports. Judy attracts top raft operators from all over the country and the company is takes every precaution to give amateurs a safe but exciting time on Class Four runs along the Denali National Park. It is a wonderful way to break up days hiking at Denali and we had a ball.

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Day 10: Hiking Crow Creek

On our final full day in Alaska, we selected the Crow Creek trail. This was my first time on the trail but we received excellent advice from Jimmy Stokes, an amazing hotel staff member at the Alyeska Hotel in Girdwood. Jimmy saw us hiking and suggested Crow Creek. He gave us a map and great advice for the challenging hike. Like all things Jimmy, we soon discovered that he was right on the money with distances and other details. Alyeska is a terrific hotel that celebrates everything Alaska to its great food and outdoor adventures. Jimmy is an example of how the staff go the extra mile for every guest. This trail was a highlight of the trip.

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The Wonder of Blackstone Bay

On our eighth day, we went kayaking around the glaciers at Blackstone Bay near Whittier with Alaska Sea Kayakers. This is my second trip with the company and I could not recommend them more highly. The owner, Pete, is a fixture (and Vice Mayor) in Whittier and has been doing this work for decades. They are incredibly professional and excellent environmental stewards. We had two highly experienced guides, Todd and Kevin (who turned out to be a UConn law student), who were a wealth of knowledge about the animal life and glaciers.

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Day 5: Trekking Up Mount Healy

On our second day at Denali National Park, we decided to tackle the challenging Mount Healy Trail. This is my second time on Mount Healy, one of the highest mountains in the park. It is spectacular but high challenging due to the sharp ascent. It is however worth every exhausted muscle and sore knee. After weeks of rain, the skies cleared showing Denali in all of its splendor .

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Day 4: On The Road To Denali

On our fourth day in Alaska, we started with a last great breakfast at the Snow City Cafe. We then drove to Denali National Park where we will finish the day white water rafting with the outstanding people of RaftDenali (more on that later). We made a stop at a ramshackle rural store run by Mike Carpenter. It can easily be mistaken for a pile of discarded odds and ends but there is a genius to the place which sells everything from old washing machines to a severed human hand.

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The Great North: Day 1 & 2 In Alaska

The next couple of weeks, I will be blogging from Alaska — one of my favorite places on Earth. As a lifelong hiker and outdoor enthusiast, Alaska is simply unequaled anywhere in the world for its immense and wild beauty. We arrived late Sunday night and experienced the gorgeous wilderness from the air. Flying into Alaska is always awe-inspiring as the seemingly limitless wilderness unfolds before your eyes. We spent much of the first full day biking and enjoying the city.

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