We are yearning to get some hiking in on this beautiful day in Girdwood. It is easy to get occupied with laundry, groceries and work, even when you are traveling. It is a 2.5 mile hike to get to the hand tram on the Lower Winner Creek trail. Just perfect in case we don’t manage to do the tram with the dog. On the other side of the tram, the trail continues.
When we arrive at the trail head, we find out from some berry pickers that we are approaching the hand tram from the other end of the trail than we were planning on. We only have about a mile to go until we reach it. Whoops, change of plan. It is a beautiful hike through rain forest, and even our toddler toddles along. Closer to the hand tram the path is narrow and the sides go steeply down. It gets slightly harder to keep the two year old safe.
The hand tram is a little cage attached to a cable over a deep ravine. You pull on one of the cables to get across. We expect the 5 year old to have some hesitation crossing a river like this, but he tuns out to be more excited than any of us. It takes a moment to convince our oldest, but there are so many people going back and forth that she is easily convinced. I am happy to see that everyone helps each other getting across. Getting stuck in the middle with burnt out arms doesn’t strike me as a great experience.
I get in first with Finn. The people who help us cross pull so hard that I have to keep my hands off the rope so I don’t burn myself. In no time we are on the other side. Antoine comes across with Metta, Zoe and the dog. Our black lab enters the cage fearlessly and with no hesitation. They too get raced across the ravine and I can barely make a picture. There is a huge line on the other side to get back, and many hands to help out. We decide to hike on for now and put some sweat in on our way back.
We don’t go far and find a lunch spot on the river. It is a busy day and enjoying lunch on the side of a hiking trail feels a bit like sitting on a Dutch terrace and watching people come by. They are locals, tourists, Japanese and Americans. We see mountain bikers and Finn finds out that they carried their bikes on the hand tram, on a special hook.
Heading back on the hand tram I take Zoe along and we try to make pictures. On the other side, we help pulling the tram for several people. It is surprisingly heavy and our arms really get a workout. During the mile back through the forest, we run into the girls who are still picking berries. The kids tag along for a little bit and gather sour blueberries.
Hiking to the hand tram in Girdwood is very doable with kids, especially if you approach it from Crow Creek Mine road. If you hike here at the end of the summer, make sure to bring something to put berries in. Unless you like purple hats and pants pockets.