Earlier this week, fellow Commoner Natalie Britton talked about her experience as a city mouse and a country mouse. I am definitely a country mouse, more at home in small communities and wide open spaces typical of most of Alaska than I am with the hustle and bustle of Anchorage. I have however found *some* solace while living in Anchorage as I look for work and plan my future.
My Fortress of Solitude from this Metropolis has been the fantastic city park system. It’s nice being able to walk a few blocks and get lost in a menagerie of trees, creeks, and trails.
Last week I wandered off down the trails of the south side of Russian Jack Springs Park. Located off Boniface Parkway and split in half by Debarr, this is one of the larger Anchorage parks I’ve had the chance to explore. I walked over but there are several parking areas and access points. The park has a lot of history that I wasn’t fully aware of, but I could definitely feel as I walked along and explored.
Parking lot and entrance to south end of park from Boniface
I’m definitely a fan of “the road less traveled” and this park turned out to be the perfect place to let that side of me come out and play. I spent hours roaming down the little side trails, walking along creeks, poking around in Spruce thickets, and munching on the occasional highbush cranberry. There had been a hard frost the night before, and under the shade of trees the moss lightly crunched and the mushrooms sparkled and glistened.
Fall is a great time of year for color in Alaska, the hardwoods are turning yellow and orange, the cranberry bushes are turning bright red, and their falling foliage dust the brown wood chip trails with brilliant color.
This park has a lot of topography too, and my calves were sore after hiking a few of the taller hills. I was also delighted to see that the main trails were illuminated making it a good winter skiing or snow shoeing destination. I’ve since bought my first pair of snow shoes, and can’t wait to give them a trial run.
All in all this was a fun park, if you’ve never taken the time to explore it, then you’re really missing out. I only covered the south side in this excursion, but I plan to make a thorough exploration of the northern section at another time.