On a recent Wednesday, University of Alaska Southeast’s spring semester Outdoor Studies Leadership group went up Mount Troy. Everyone in the group, including me, will continue to work on our outdoor skills until our final capstone in May. Every Wednesday we go on an adventure to practice outdoor skills and stay in shape for the season.
Last Wednesday, 15 or so of us ventured out to climb Mount Troy. We were a group of mixed skill level. Some were spit boarders, some have skied for decades, and for some, it was the first time skiing. As with most good trips, we started at Eaglecrest Ski Area. With loose ski boots and summit jackets, we headed off.
Everyone loves their sunny Juneau days, but none of us expect them. And as we all know, those sucker holes — holes in the clouds that let the sun shine through — mean you’re a sucker if you think the sun is going to stay out. They give you a false sense of hope.
At the base of the Black Bear chairlift is the start of the unofficial trail up Mount Troy. Just before you enter the woods was a stream parting the snow. What a wonderful snow season we are having. (Just kidding.)
At the summit it’s our tradition to do a headstand. Maybe it’s to drain the lactic acid from our legs like runners do, or maybe it’s to see the world from another perspective. Either way. it’s what happens. Not everyone was pumped to participate because the freezing wind was relentless. Pictured online is my fellow student Eva in said headstand while our instructor, Forest, stabilizes her. Students Riley and Seth wait for their turn. At this point we transitioned into descent mode: lighter layers, ski boots in touring position and skins off. This is also the time we usually take for a much-deserved snack, but it was way too cold to hang out. And to top it off, I didn’t get a chance that morning to pick up any doughnut holes.
The way down took a quarter of the time it took to get up. The first ones to go were the ones with real life jobs they had to get back to. Then went the experienced students, who planned to do two runs, and lastly the ones still learning.
I sometimes feel like writing an advertisement for Douglas. Adventuring around the island is always phenomenal, no matter the weather.
• California-born and Alaska-bred, Gabe Donohoe has taken photos daily for the past five years. He is currently a student of the University of Alaska Southeast’s Outdoor Studies program. His photo archives can be seen on www.gabedonohoe.com.