Mindy, Greg's co-worker, is his new best friend in Alaska. She was downtown and offered to take us sightseeing and shopping. We walked across the street to the office and met up with her. She got him to a convenience store quickly as he had been out of cigarettes since last night. Shudder at the thought. After a trip to Wal-Mart, Mindy took us on a tour of South Anchorage.
We rode by the ski area. Then we went up to the Flattop parking area in the Chugach State Park. Flattop is a huge mountain with a level area on top which is different from all the other jagged and peaked mountains around. It is a very popular hiking and cross-country ski area. It has fantastic views of Anchorage and the surrounding area. The Chugach State Park is the third largest State Park in the country with nearly 500,000 acres!
In the upper right corner of the photo from the Flattop parking lot, you can see skiers and hikers or snowshoers on the mountain. The snow was very deep here with the whole wooden stairs and platforms buried in the drifts. Since we weren't nearly dressed properly for a steep 1 1/2 mile climb to the summit of Flattop, we had to settle for a quick jaunt to an overlook near the parking lot. This short trail was a 1/2 mile loop, however, we soon discovered that the 9 degrees in the parking lot was like Cancun compared to what we experienced after the slight elevation gain to the exposed side of the mountain. This was more like what you'd expect Alaska to be like with very high winds, blowing snow, and frigid temperatures. We weren't prepared to do a half mile hike in these temps so we snapped a few pictures of this awesomely beautiful area and quickly descended down to the parking lot. In one of the photos, you'll see a park bench almost buried in the snow. Greg said these were the best few minutes he'd spent in Alaska yet. Greg loves to be in the wild and in the mountains. It was dramatically beautiful.
In the photo of me at the overlook, you can see the wind whipping up the snow near the men in the background. No, Greg is not smoking in his picture. You could see your breath with every exhale.
No moose sightings today. We even went on moose patrol through Mindy's neighborhood where there was one in her yard this morning. Alas, they hid from us yet again.
We topped off a great afternoon with a delightful dinner at Hula Hands. It is a Polynesian diner that some have declared the best kept secret in Anchorage. Greg discovered it when he came here in early January. On his first visit, he basically came in to warm up but wound up staying for dinner. The kahlua pig is similar to what we call bar-b-que at home, some people call it pulled pork. Whatever you call it, it is delicious! The Pelehu chicken was divine. This was a kind of marinated and broiled boneless chicken breast. Yum.