Sunrise, sunset, at Flattop

In Alaska, autumn comes fast and hard. Suddenly, it’s dark at 10:30 p.m. and the air is crisp and the leaves are beginning to turn, and something inside your chest clenches because you realize that it’s almost over, summer is almost over.

So you scurry out the door, intent on breathing in as much as is left of the short season.

Last night, it was a hike up Flattop late in the evening, so that we climbed up to the sunset and climbed down to the moonlight.

MM was catching a nasty cold and I had run a very hard and hilly 11-miler the day before, so we took it slow. We stopped at lot, looked around. We marveled.

There was a wonderful energy in the air. almost as if it were whispering to us: Hurry, hurry, soon it will all be gone.

And I wanted more than anything to keep on hiking, up past Peak 2 and over to Peak 3. I wanted to climb up high enough so that I could reach the moon, which was fat and hanging low in the sky.

But first, the sunset, which spread out across the sky in pinks and blues and lavenders. Sometimes I think that the color of the evening sky is what keep me grounded in Alaska, year after year after year.

MM in the sunset, at the top of the peak

It was cold on top of Flattop, so cold that I wore two long-sleeve tech shirts, a feece, windbreaker and mittens, and after sitting at the base of the other side for 15 minutes, facing Peak 2 and the beautiful moon, my teeth where chattering so much that I was afraid I might trip on the way down. But it was worth it. Seeing the moon rise above the mountains was worth any amount of chill.

These moon pics are disappointing. For the moon was big and fat! It hung in the sky like something ripe! Try and image it, okay?

On the way down we met up with a paraglider, his gear spread out before him. He was waiting for the wind to die down, he told us. We wished him luck and a few minutes later, looked up to see him floating across the sky. It was surreal and timeless. I wanted to know what it felt like to fly like that.

I’m off for a run in the partial sunshine. Hope everyone is out soaking up the last of summer.

2 thoughts on “Sunrise, sunset, at Flattop

  1. Karen

    Awesome hike! I like the part about the cold whispering to you. 🙂

    Do you have a zoomed out photo of the mountain? That might show how huge the moon is.


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