Hiking Collection No. 2

This weeks collection of hikes increases the level from easy/moderate to moderate/strenuous. Why do people hike? For great exercise, to see new places and for great views. To get great views, you usually have to go up. But this week we start by going down!

Carlsbad Caverns, Carlsbad, New Mexico
1 mile, 1 hour, strenuous. The National Park Service rates the hike into the caverns as strenuous.We don't remember it that way, but it definitely would be if you walked back up rather than take the elevator as we did.This hike is just fabulous, actually awesome and we don't use that term often.The structures that God put here are truly awesome. Don't miss this if you get to New Mexico.

Directions: From the city of Carlsbad, go south on the US180/US62, turn right on New Mexico 7 and travel seven files to the caverns.

These are just a few of the incredible formations you will see.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
1.3 miles, 2 hours, moderate.This are numerous hikes in Bryce Canyon.The hike we took began at Sunrise Point (we think! sorry). Take this hike in the morning as the sun's light on the formations is amazing.The rocks glow like shiny gold. You will get hundreds of excellent photos and it is awe inspiring.

Directions: From St. George, take Interstate 15 north.In 85 mile turn right on Hwy 20, south on the 89, left onto Utah 12 and right onto Utah 63.

What can you say besides wow!

Unbelievable colors and the trail is so interesting.

Whitewater Canyon, Glenwood, New Mexico
1.1 miles, easy to moderate.This hike on Catwalk Trail is just plain fun.A water pipeline was built in 1893 to bring water to the town and mill at the base of the canyon.In the 1930's the catwalk was built and then refurbished in 1961 and 1978.What a refreshing walk along the river with water rushing by and you are shaded by the canyon.

Directions: From Silver City, New Mexico: Take Hwy 180 northwest to Glenwood, turn right on 174 and in five miles you are there.

Parts of the trail are indeed a catwalk, safe and beautiful.

There are a variety of water features including falls and cascades.

Eklutna Lake, Alaska
2.5 miles, 3 hours, strenuous.We took this hike with our SOWERS' friends John and Rosie.This hike was very strenuous but you keep going because you want the fantastic view from the top.

Directions: From Anchorage, take Hwy 1 25 miles northeast, take the exit to the East toward Eklutna, about 15 miles to the lake.

This view of Lake Eklutna is only about 1/2 mile from the parking area.

But we kept going for 2 more miles.We did see some mountains up and away in the distance. But most of the trip was in the forest and we never reached a pinnacle with great views.Here's a tip. Bring a lunch, hike the 1/2 mile to the lake view and stop there!

Bodenburg Butte, Alaska
3 miles, 1 to 2 hours, challenging.We picked the Bodenburg Butte hike off the Internet.From the top you get a great view of several of Alaska's over 3,000 rivers (some web sites claim 12,000 rivers). This hike starts easy, goes to moderate and then challenging.

Directions: From Anchorage, take Hwy 1 to the northeast 28 miles, exit onto Old Glenn Hwy, left onto Bodenburg Loop and the trail start in 0.7 miles.

Here is your reward for making it to the top.

Along the way are easy paths, bridges, very steep stairs and even a rope climb.

Yes, Alaska is a fair distance away, but it is the best trip we ever took and hope to take again.The hikes are big, like the state. But, in the meantime check out some of the hikes in Western USA and enjoy God's country by foot.

Love, Pete, Ellen and Mandy (who hates to hike!)

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