Non-writer, hiking spouse at Bouchercon ISO hiking buddies

I'm going to Bouchercon. My wife would rather be hiking in the mountains, either one day hikes or even a two or three day backpacking trip. Does anyone out there have a spouse in a similar condition? Or know of any good hiking groups in Anchorage?

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Hey Eric--Karen Laubenstein is on CS and is a coordinator for BCon. I sent her an email asking if she had any local connections to keep your wife busy with the hiking thing. Hopefully, she will get back to you directly through this thread.

If she doesn't know of anyone, I can poll my Alaskan friends on MySpace and from my personal address book to see what they can do. I've got some die-hard friends though. Your wife would have to be in pretty good shape for this crazy friend of mine. Niles climbed Denali and is an avid runner and hiker, doing some pretty extreme stuff. He and his wife Martha are dear friends of ours.

Let me know if I can help after you hear from Karen.
Hi Eric - yes, there are hiking groups and lots of trails in all directions for mountain/forest/wilderness hiking-so if you hook her up with Niles (above), she can explore to her heart's content (as they say). There are hundreds of miles of bike trails and parks inside of Anchorage and stretching alongside the main highways (Seward/Parks) in both directions. Never should try hiking alone, though, even on the Coastal Trail and bike paths in Anchorage, or parks. There is a meetup group just for hikers and adventurers. The contact is Doug Van Etten and you can find out all about it at http://adventurers.meetup.com/109/ Doug started this group last March and it's been going strong. There are nearly 500 members. It is also good to check out the National Wildlife Refuges (http://kenai.fws.gov/introduction.htm), Chugach State Park (www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/units/chugach/ and Chugach National Forest http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/chugach/, and Kenai Fjords National Park http://www.nps.gov/kefj/-- all have information on trails and hiking in their areas. The Alaska Trails system shows hiking/backpacking trails http://www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/aktrails/atstrans.htm. We'll have more information in the B'con pocket guide. Explore Tours is also helping visiting B'con attendees to set up what they want to do in the time they are here (Lily Sheldon) http://www.exploretours.com/ Whew, hope this helps? We'll be really busy with B'con, but there are many out there who just go hiking whenever they have an excuse, and visitors are always a great excuse! So if none of this pans out for you, just drop an e-mail and it looks like JD or some of us can help.
We can poll folks as they arrive and check on who wants hiking parteners, shopping partners and so on. Check with us at the registration table. I can recommend the Eagle River Nature Center. They have great hikes, beautiful views and wonderful volunteers.
The local papers also list hikes where folks will meet at the trailheads and go from there. And if your wife is worried about encountering wildlife, she can borrow my bear spray.
A spray? Ooooh, that never cropped up in any of the sites my mum and my friends have been sending me. For some reason they think I am either going to be eaten by a bear or fall off a glacier. A friend sent me a very handy site which had some tips for avoiding bears, including the following:

*Bears Don't Like Surprises!*
Damn - that's the giftwrapped dead fish out then.

*Identify Yourself*
OK, now I have to practise my bear meet and greet..."Hi, Mr Scary Looking Bear. My name is Donna and I am just about to run away."

*If Attacked - If a bear actually makes contact, you have two choices: play dead or fight back.*
Is that IT? No third option? No 'talk your way out of trouble'? No, 'back away singing 'The Sound of Music''? No 'give up your wallet and cell phone and sob hysterically'?

The section then goes on to say: The best choice depends on whether the bear is reacting defensively or is seeking food.
How do you KNOW? If it's carrying Walmart bags you're OK because it's been shopping?

I can't help on the hiking thing. I recently chipped a bone in my ankle falling off a bus so any heavy hiking is out (not that it was ever IN anyway, by the way). But I have booked a boat trip in prince William Sound, a flight round Mt McKinley and an all day trip on a snowmobile up to a glacier. I'm so excited about going to Alaska, I can't wait.
Fish and Game up here has taken to painting bears. Down on the Russian River, they have decided to dye the bears to identify which ones are dangerous to humans. Problem, They never said what the different colors stand for. Or are we just supposed to say I spotted a blue bear taking my fish. I know someone will ask me if I've been drinking or if the bear was sex-starved.
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