Contributor ~ Kathryn Swartz
I value the accessibility of wilderness spaces here in the Mat-Su. There is a beautiful place where my family and I go to walk, occasionally, but regularly. Just a five minute drive from our neighborhood, there is an access point to the Little Susitna River where you can wander down to the river and walk up and down for quite a ways.
We visit this spot all throughout the year in any kind of weather, from the hottest summer days when we cool off with our feet in pools of icy water to a cold winter day with snow so deep you can barely walk. Our children have seen the river at flood stage when it is overflowing its banks and almost touching the underside of the bridge that crosses it. We have walked along the edge of the river in late fall when the water is just a few inches above the rocks and starting to freeze along the edges. In the summer, the river fills with salmon, keeping this little ecosystem intact and feeding the bald eagles in late fall. I always see something different each time. Some days I marvel at the giant Cottonwood trees. Other times I notice that every little willow has been topped by moose. In our most recent visit, we broke off large pieces of ice and sent them floating like icebergs down the river.
My husband introduced us to river crossing. Now, we all wear waterproof boots and at some point along the way, we cross to the other side, learning how to balance on slippery rocks and stand in the rushing current. Even just a half hour of exploring fills us with stories to share later in the day. It’s a special place, like so many other special places here in our community.
See you on the trail!
Kathy Swartz is the Board Chair for the Mat-Su Trails and Parks Foundation. To learn more about Kathy and our other board members visit ~ www.matsutrails.org