Friday afternoon, late April. End of a busy workweek — so busy that I’ve kept myself sequestered indoors, despite six straight days of glorious sunshine and springtime warmth. Today, finally, I leave my hurried, too-much-to-do city life and head for the hills. After too long away, I return to Anchorage’s backyard wilderness, Chugach State Park. Back to visit an old friend: 3,550-foot Flattop Mountain.
Huffing and puffing, sweating heavily in 50-degree air, I slog my way up Flattop’s still snowy trail. Following bootprints of other hikers through mud and slush, I experience a strong sense of dij` vu. The feeling, however, seems less eerie than inevitable: I have indeed passed this way many times before. Enough times that my feet have almost memorized the trail’s twists and turns.