The Mint Hut
June 29, 2019
Jesse, Chris and I chose one of the hottest days Alaska has ever experienced to hike 24 miles in the back country. I had hiked this trail last year in diametric conditions equally as extreme. Last year my friend and I broke trail after several weeks of heavy rain and essentially swam our way to the hut. This time, Alaska’s record-setting temperatures contributed to equally memorable and miserable travel. With every step I felt my pack increase in weight. The midday sun’s heat radiated off of the trails surrounding foliage. Each time the trail cut back towards the river, a cool moment of relief. The relatively flat trail wound it’s way through thick brush, terminating at the end of the valley and base of the surrounding mountains. From there, an uphill scramble. The ascending trail seemed to be in worse shape than the year prior. A few sections required both hands and feet to work in unison to maintain traction. The inability to do so would result in a several hundred foot fall. Rounding the last corner, the hut. Like a beacon, it appears suddenly and without warning. The thought of heat stress and fatigue immediately faded as it came into sight. We set up camp and eventually ventured beyond the hut. As we climbed higher, the temperature began to drop and the green alpine floor gave way to boulders and snow. This trail is but a fraction of Alaska’s vast and unique wilderness. It’s a formidable challenge to endure, however when compared to the states untamed reputation, it remains a relatively accessible destination.