Sunday, August 22, 2010

Leaving Eagle River

Change is the only thing that stays the same!!!

My entire life is once again packed into the back of my Jeep. On the road again. It’s extremely liberating to be going down the road with everything you need right beside you. Even though the car is packed so full that I can’t see out the back window, I feel light. I love driving. Especially when I’m alone. Some of my most peaceful moments have been behind a steering wheel watching landscapes unfolding through my real life picture window.

Driving for hours with nothing but your thoughts gives you plenty of time to think. Although I’m very excited to be moving to Fairbanks, I spent most of the drive thinking about things I was losing, not gaining.

I feel very lucky to have had so much love in my life over the past few weeks. I’ve spent lots of time getting to know new friends better, and reconnecting with old ones. After spending so much time in Alaska as an outsider, I finally got to spend time with family. My Mom, Todd and Brooke came to visit me. I showed them around Eagle River, we went to Denali, and I hiked Crow Pass with Todd. Bonnie and Austin (Colorado friends) have also been up in Alaska. We went on an overnighter in Wrangell – St. Elias, hiked down in Seward, and saw Punch Brothers play in Girdwood. I spent the remaining time in Eagle River with all of the amazing people I’ve met here…and grown to love. Immediately following my departure from the Anchorage area, I went back to the Midwest for my friends (Aaron and Ingrid’s) wedding. I spent every minute of the 7 days I was back with friends & family I hadn’t seen in months/years. I feel so saturated with people and love that I don’t think there’s room for any more…and in the true nature of this universe…the wheel keeps spinning…the pendulum shifts from one extreme to the other…and now that I'm driving down the raod alone, I can feel the stark contrast of solitude. More alone than I’ve felt in a long time. Driving forward, going where NO ONE KNOWS ME.

As I made my final check of the cabin, I knew I’d probably never see it again. The cabin in the woods beyond the end of the road. The cabin that knows no streets, or lights, or neighbors. The cabin that was visited by moose and bears. The wood-burning stove that warmed me, and lit up the room. The windows that I looked through every day to see the mountains. The porch I sat on every night and played my banjo.

This cabin in Chugach State Park is my favorite place that I’ve ever lived, but it is not the thing I’ll miss most. The thing I will miss most about this magical place is the people. The people I worked with, the people I hiked with, the people I cooked diners with, the people I grew to know and love. So much love. My heart broke leaving these people.

I feel solace in the fact that these people are not gone, just further away. I remind myself that love transcends everything. I know that even though these people are not physically in my life, there love still is. These people have become part of me and I will take them everywhere I go.

Raft of Sea Otters (from Whittier Glaier Tour)

Todd taking pictures of a calving glacier
Off-trail hike in Denali National Park with the family
Brooke carfefully negotiating a sandy drainage wall.
Mom and Brooke talking stategy.
Our hike down from Polychrome Moutnain.
Todd and I begining Crow Pass hike (26 miles/13 hours)
Climbing up Crow Pass
Veiw from the pass
Crossing an ice field while decending into the valley.

Walking past Columbine's along Raven Creek in the valley.
How we spent most of the first leg of the hike.
Overnight trip to the Bananza Mines in Wrangell - St. Elias N.P. with Daveen, Bonnie and Austin. Hiding from the rain under the ruins of an abandoned building/deck.
The gloomy weather really set the mood during our night near the abandoned mines on the moutian ridge.
Bonnie and Austin at the Kennicott Mines.
Kennicott Mines.

Drive to Fairbanks.