I had figured since we were on a cruise ship sailing the Inside Passage, this particular shore excursion would include plenty of us oldies. Somehow I overlooked the icon that showed this to be on the upper end of the easy-to-extreme scale.
The hike was at a time when Robin (on board as tour director for a group of Australians) could come with me. So I signed up for a two-hour hike on the famous Chilkoot Trail and a float back along the Taiya River.
On the drive to the trailhead, I fretted over how I would keep up. At the start of the trail, I contemplated the steep stretch ahead and wondered how I could gracefully opt out.
Like most personal mountains in life, this one turned out to be a molehill. Steep sections were short. Trail conditions were ideal. The group was congenial and kind. The guide stopped frequently.
The piles of fresh bear scat didn’t worry me. I’d lived around a bear family one summer and knew they preferred to avoid contact with humans.
By the time we reached the river and the rubber raft, we were a friendly group. So when the skies opened, we all donned the ponchos provided by Chilkat Guides, climbed in the yellow craft, and bobbed cheerfully down the river to the waiting hot chocolate. Water was high, near flood level, but the guide knew where all the boulders and snags [dead trees] were.
The outing turned out to be a highlight of our Alaska cruise. I didn’t slow the group down. Robin bought a t-shirt that gives bragging rights to having hiked a small part of a famous trail.
And all that pre-hike worry was exactly what my ex used to call the 75/25 rule: “75% of the things you worry about never happen.”