DICK GRIFFITH AN ALASKAN LEGEND

http://www.canyonsandice.com/index.phpdgI moved to Alaska in the fall of 1992,from Truckee California,to take a job in Anchorage.We found a nice log home to rent,a stones throw away from the Eagle River visitors center.Living out at the end of Eagle River Rd.,more then made up for the long commute into Anchorage every day,it was like I thought life would be like living in Alaska.
Having always been a trail runner,not a very good or fast one,but its my passion,mentally and physically, the next summer I signed up for the Crow Pass race,which ended at my doorstep.I was running the trail quite often from the Eagle River side ,and got pretty familiar with that part of the trail,but never been to the Girwood side.So one Saturday two or three weeks before the race,my wife Wendy drove me to the trail head on the Girwood side, dropped me off,and wished me luck,it couldn’t of been a more perfect day,blue skies,temperature of 72 degrees,it was as good as it gets.So I headed out on my 32 mile journey back to the Eagle River visitors center,in 1993 the race was 32 miles,later they called it a 28 mile race,then it became a marathon,about 26 mile race,know its a 24 mile race,still the same exact race,would love to do this race again before it becomes a 5k fun run.
I got up the pass ,stopped and admired the incredible view up there,and headed down the trail,a few miles down the trail,there was a small muddy drop-off,it was obvious some one slipped and slid down on there butt,at the bottom was a cassette player with a headset,so I picked it up,brushed off the mud,put it on,and the Eagles album the Long Run ,and song,The Long Run were playing,just went wow,it cant get any better then this,another mile or so down the trail,i ran into a hiker headed towards Eagle River,i stopped and started talking with him,asked if he lost his cassette player,he reached back to his backpack,and realized he had lost it,so I started taking the headset off to give back to him,he said just keep it,his buddy who started on the Eagle River side heading towards Girwood,they would meet somewhere and swop keys and meet back in Anchorage somewhere,he told me when you run into him,just give him the cassette player,thought that was pretty awesome,we chatted a little more ,then I was on my way back down the trail.Some where before Eagle River I ran into his friend,talked briefly with him,gave him the cassette back,thanked him,and went on my way down to the river crossing.
Finally got to the river,it was ragging,it was probably class3,if not pushing class4 ,i went yikes,i didn’t realize at the time your suppose to cross the river about another quarter mile or so up towards the glacier,where the river gets more braided,and shallow.Was having serious doubts about crossing the river,looked back at the trail going back to Girwood, twelve to sixteen miles,2.5 k,whatever back to Girwood,that was the least of it,i would have to hitchhike back home,the thought of that scared me more then the river crossing.So I jumped into the river and swam as hard as I could, and ended up a couple hundred feet downstream,on the same dam side I started from.Was not a happy camper. I was soaken wet,cold as all heck,screaming the ‘F’ word at the top of my lungs,not thinking there was anyone within many miles of me,but there was,Dick Griffith was just on the other side of the river,watching this hole thing play out,he was probably getting a good laugh,wondering who the hell is this idiot.
At this point I was determined to cross that dam river,so I jumped back in, in a seated position, this time I guided myself across the river to the other side,as I was getting out I saw Dick walking away,back towards Eagle River,at the time I didn’t know who Dick Griffith was ,later after living in Alaska for a while, found out about him and his adventures.Dick was about 65 years old or so at this time,for him,it was just a nice Saturday walk in the park,for me ,it was the biggest adventure of my life up to that point.
When I got to the other side I was wet and really cold,took off my shoes and socks,and tried to thaw out a bit,if you have ever crossed a glacier river,you know what I mean,it took five to ten minutes,to get back jogging again,slowly gaining feeling in my toes.I caught up with Dick down the trail a bit,and just nodded at him,he just kind of looked at me,and I proceeded to run back to Eagle River.I am sure
Dick would of helped me out if I got in real trouble crossing the river,as soon as he saw that I had crossed the river,he headed back towards Eagle River.I guess if it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger.

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