Travel Tuesday: Mt. Healy

Travel Tuesday: Mt. Healy

I was not what one would call “outdoorsy” before I met my husband. I detest camping, bugs are gross, and nature was always more of a hassle than an escape.

And then my husband (boyfriend at the time) took me hiking in Sierra Vista, Arizona in 2012. I saw nature from a new point of view. Literally. From up high looking down on this beautiful thing we call earth and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Hooked to the feeling of climbing as high as I possibly can and looking down at the vastness before me. No where gives me that feeling quite like Mt. Healy in Denali National Park and Preserve.

Mt. Healy

Yep that view is real.

Mt. Healy Overlook is a path that can be found directly next to the Park’s Visitors Center. There are a series of short hikes behind the Center, one of which is the trail head for Mt. Healy. At first the path is flat, tar covered and easy but it begins to ascend rapidly after the first fifteen minutes.

The hike gets difficult quickly and since my husband has mile long legs, I haven’t made it through the hike without having to stop a handful of times.

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This is the view from one of the giant rocks we sprawled out on during one of our hikes to the overlook / summit. Not too shabby for a resting point.

The hike is through forests for just over an hour, but turns to shrubs, and then rocks. It’s a well worn path maintained by the park and hiked by many able visitors, so no worries about having to fight through brush or back country. Your biggest fight will be to catch your breath during the ascent. The tree line fades away just before the overlook, making it hard not to stop and gape at the view, but I fought the urge both times until I reached the overlook.

FullSizeRender(1)The wait was beyond worth it.

360 stunning mountain views of the Alaska Range. In September of 2013 when I first hiked Healy, I thought making it to the overlook was the most amazing view I’d ever seen.

This past summer I made it to the summit at 5,400 ft above sea level. We’d been better prepared, better fueled, and there was better weather – so in July we added two hours to the already 4ish hour hike and went with our two friends to the Mt. Healy Summit. The hike to the summit is not maintained by the park and has far less foot traffic, so it’s narrower with jutting rocks and less stable ground. But it is completely above the tree line so there’s no potential to get lost or side tracked despite the less stable trail.

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The trail follows the steep narrow ridge line up, up, up to the tippy top of Mt. Healy. You can see the path following the ridge in this photo, along with the STELLAR LANDSCAPE.

That view was even better once we cautiously stepped atop the summit.

It was terrifying and such an adrenaline rush. We were teetering on this narrow rock platform that if we were to step wrong, plummeted hundreds of feet into a deep valley below. But it was so worth it.

So. Worth. It.

IMG_890110354945_10154341187240037_7701675722488405148_n (1)I adore this hike. I adore hiking. I adore the rush. I adore the adrenaline pulsing through me when I glance down momentarily and realize how far up we’ve climbed and how far we’ve yet to go.

The Mt. Healy summit is the ultimate hike for the intermediate hiker who wants to be blown away by some of the best mountain views in the world. All of these photos were taken on my iPhone 5 and they do not do it justice.

Come to Alaska. Hike it for yourself. Find yourself amid the silence on a mountain top looking at a scene that will bring you to tears.

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“I like the mountains because they make me feel small. They help me sort out what’s important in life.”
Mark Obmascik, Halfway to Heaven: My White-knuckled–and Knuckleheaded–Quest for the Rocky Mountain High

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