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  • Writer's pictureRoy Thomas

Flattop Mountain

Trailhead- the mountain wears its name well

Flattop Mountain is an urban hike, just 20 minutes from downtown Anchorage. You will spot a lot of families, trail runners, and sightseers on the trail. The trail jumps up quick and keeps a steady upward movement, gaining over 1400 feet in 1.6 miles. The last 200 yards require some scrambling to find your way and may require some rock crawling if you choose poorly. There really is no serious exposure the biggest challenge is loose gravel over packed soil which can be slippery. My Kodiak peers who have done Barometer Mountain will find this trail a breeze.

The trail pops up quickly
The views also come on fast
The weather likely formed this but I like Robert Frosts idea about bent trees
Not even a half mile in brings you this view
The use of railroad ties brings a distinct smell.

In some places the trail has been fortified with railroad ties to create a series of steep steps. It reminded me very much of Koko Head on Oahu in Hawaii.

If you ever visit Honolulu, don't miss Koko Head.

The ties cover a lot of steep terrain
Always be sure and check on those views
Use the switchbacks

I witnessed several hikers ignoring the nicely developed switchbacks in favor of going straight up and down. Nearly all of them were paralyzed with fear of injury or falling and moving very slowly. When a trail has switchbacks use them.

Look for the Macro

Kodiak's wildflowers are in full bloom. Anchorage appears to be about a week behind, but if you keep you eyes open you can enjoy some great floral expressions.

Blood on the trail represents poor choices

The reality of hiking mountains is that even with the best preparation and the best gear injuries happen. On the Flattop Mountain trail, however, I saw many hikers in street shoes and shorts, skipping the switchbacks in favor of "saving" time. The result of such decisions is often injury. Someone went home today with a bleeding knee or elbow. Save the shorts for the beach and get some shoes that have traction. They dont have to be heavy hikers but they should grip the trail.

Nearly there
Always feels great to be at the top
Even the wildflowers are happy about being on top
With the solstice just a week away 10:30 shadows run long

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