For two summers Tommie had been asking me to hike Tonsina Mountain with her; we decided that if we did not schedule a date it was never going to get done. So we decided to leave Tommie's house by 9 a.m.. We had only heard that there was a four-wheeler trail that led up and around the mountain. We were given directions that once we got to the trail just to follow it, They forgot to tell us that this trail never actually went up the mountain. After about an hour we decided that we were going to bush-whack up a ridge of the mountain. So off we went from the safety of our trail into the unknown woods. We started to climb the ridge and were quite happy about the way things were going, and we had not seen or heard any signs of bears. Up and up we went, through dense woods, past boulders, and up some small rock faces. Soon the tree line disappeared and the wondrous world around us became visible. So we decided to stop for lunch; we thought we didn’t have much left to climb. After lunch we continued to climb, but soon we discovered every hiker’s dismay, A FALSE SUMMIT, which meant a longer trip to the actual top of the mountain.
Because each of us told our parents we would be home by 5 p.m., we were running out of time. If we did not reach the summit in 45 minutes we would be forced to turn back, but the thought of coming all this way and not reaching the summit was agony. Within 30 minutes, we finally reached the top. It was beautiful. The sky had cleared even more since we had left the house six hours ago, and you could see all the across the valley, from Mt. Drum almost all the way to Thompson Pass. From that moment on I wanted to hike any mountain taller than Tonsina, just to see the view. It was incredible to see how Kenny Lake is really laid out, and that distances seem so much farther when you're standing on the top of a mountain. Tommie and I took pictures and found a land marker that was installed in 1941 by the U.S Coast and Geographic Survey .The wind was so strong at the summit that Tommie's boot, which she had tied to her backpack, was sticking straight out. I had never experienced such strong winds.
The descent took longer than expected because it was so steep. About a quarter of the way down, we ended up calling our parents to tell them we would be late getting home; after all we did not want them to worry. After about two hours, we made it to the base of the mountain. This is when things got harder. We needed to find the four-wheeler trail A.K.A . the needle in the haystack. At one point we were starting to think we were never going to find it, when I spotted the electrical line that ran along the pipeline. We had planned out our descent from the summit and had ended up in exactly the same spot from where we had left the safety of the pipeline trail. By the time we reached Tommie's house we were exhausted, but felt like we could conquer just about any mountain.
In the end, the trip was exciting and fulfilling. This was the first hike that our parents had let us take by ourselves, and we returned home in good condition with a only a few cuts and scrapes after about 8 hours. This was the beginning of many more great hikes to come!