You’d never know it by following this blog, but summer happened. And it was a total whirlwind. Now I’m sitting inside, finally, enjoying the darkness, a glass of wine, and the first fire of the season trying to write about it.
Side note: this highly-anticipated fire is a misadventure all in its own as it’s colder in our apartment than before it started, and we had to open all the doors because it’s so smokey. Just so you didn’t think life was too picturesque around here.
Anyway, I was trying to remember what it is exactly that kept us so busy this summer to tell you about it. It’s really tempting to make up for lost blogging time by creating a giant list of all the awesome things we did this summer, but after starting to put that together, I’m unsatisfied with it.
The reason it was all so awesome was because of the details – the great moments when I felt so lucky to be alive, in that very spot, with those people, at that exact time. But I never mention those moments in lists or bring them up when people ask what the heck I’ve been up to all summer. Don’t get me wrong, hiking the Caines Head trail, floating the Kenai, entering and surviving [narrowly at times] my first mountain bike race series, and snag fishing at midnight were all great in and of themselves. But the moment when I woke up at 2 in the morning, unzipped the tent and caught a brief break in the unrelenting rain to see a dusky sunset over resurrection bay – this sticks out as one of the best of the summer. I’ll never forget silently watching the one of the most beautiful places in the word and basking in the cool breeze blowing on my face after an evening in the stuffy tent as if I had the world all to myself.
Contrarily, a less fun but equally memorable moment was when Sam woke up at midnight on the Homer Spit to discover that the tide had risen dangerously close to our tent and we had to quickly unstake it to drag it – sleeping bags and all – 50 feet up shore to avoid getting washed away.
I told plenty of people that Zack, Sam and I mountain biked into the caribou cabin on the resurrection trail during one of the best weekends in memory. But I really didn’t mention that we approached the cabin only to find a crazy, solo grizzly bear hunter named Jeremy with a loaded gun bigger than I’ve ever seen in a movie asking if he can share a bunk with us. Likewise, I told plenty of people about trips down the Kenai, but I never took the time to try to describe just how majestic the peak of fall colors were as the yellow and deep evergreen covered the barely snow-tipped mountains, and that during one drive, I looked back over the river just as a giant grizzly paced across it looking for lunch.
There was also an adorable moment when, exhausted, I told Sam that I needed a quiet, relaxing weekend and he told me that he had just the thing! …that he’d booked us a cabin and we’d “just” need to load up a canoe, pack our gear, and go get food to drive a few hours to Nancy Lake and canoe into public use cabin #3 (only accessible by boat) and stay there for the night. I complained, but then we went. And it was great.
…Quiet and relaxing, not so much.
The question I get asked the most is, “Don’t you get tired?” This summer I learned that living in Alaska is certainly tiring, but the long list of things left to explore keeps me energized. It’s pretty rough to get home after midnight on Sunday, unpack loads and loads of gear from the car, fall into bed and curse the alarm clock the next morning… but never enough to think for a moment of not doing all that stuff. Well ok, maybe for a moment.
I’ll try my best to be better about blogging this winter!