Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Flat Top

The last time I heard the name Flat Top was way back in high school when I stopped into the barber shop after school one night and Johnny the Barber gave me the newest "do" by the same name. You may recall, the barber combed all your hair up in one fell swoop with a comb that was about 8 inches wide, then he zipped across that with the trimming shears and, presto chango, a flat top, held in place with enough bear grease until you could get it trained to stay there permanently. I never much liked that cut, but I had one for a while and I'm sure the barber did well with it because it only took about 30 seconds per cut- and out the door. The point, if there is one, is that this mountain must surely have been named for that 60's haircut! Either that or something even more obvious like- it has a flat top. Anyway, Flat Top is the most climbed mountain in Alaska. It is not on most, and certainly would not have been on our list of things to see while in Anchorage if it had not been for our friends, guides and Alaska mentors, Gary and Judy. They called us first clear day we got, then hauled us up the mountain to take in the view. And what a view it is. Sun glistening behind the skyline of Anchorage way off in the distance and shimmering on the silt flats ahead of the possible bore tide on the Turnagain Arm. Cook's Inlet off still further in the distance, radiant in the later-in-the-day light. Distant mountains from green through gray and blue with glimpses of white snow accents remaining now midway into July. A chilling crisp wind to remind you where you are in case there was any doubt that THIS is Alaska, and some clouds with attitudes in case you might otherwise overlook them as some insignificant participant in the scape.
Now those of you who wrote in to say you like the piece on Mount Marathon, well, this is the mountain that Clint trains on to stay in shape for the even bigger mountains- he runs up and down this one a half dozen times or so- just because HE CAN! There was a sign on the fence of a property in Roatan, Honduras where we used to live. The sign read, more or less as though the guard dog was "speaking at ya", "I can make it to the gate in 6 seconds. Can you?" OK then. Take a look at this photo of Flat Top real good. Clint can run up it and back down in 26 minutes. Can you?????

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