Just returned from my Sierra Club Alaska trip.
10 people, two leaders, three rangers, 15 in all — the trip party was assembled from a unique cast of characters. Though I suppose everybody becomes unique after you spend 10 days with them.
Orcas, bug bites from four different generic lines of bugs, fresh-grilled salmon, fire lines, the largest eye-burning bonfires that I’ve ever seen in the flesh. Shitting in a tube. If you ever hear me euphemistically refer to a bathroom break in the future is a biobreak, this trip is the reason for that.
Now, another treasured, fallibly remembered sequence has been factored my internal fabric of existence.
The sight of a forest bear trail opening up to a series of connected lush muskegs overlooking a river, surrounded by two snowcapped mountains, trees bursting from cliffs. Sundews, budding blueberry plants, skunk cabbage, these smaller, round edible plants (cow-something?) distributed about. I hope I don’t forget that — in fact, I’m writing this in the hopes of crystallizing that image.
Then, there was Bob. Too ridiculous.
It would have been wise to bring a journal. An extended experience is too overwhelming to coherently recount in one fell swoop. And things are already starting to fade, feel like a dream, because Alaska is such a weird special place with its lighting, its lonely, transplanted, slightly crazy populace. The scenery fading more quickly than the muscle memories and tactile sensations of paddling in cold water, chucking four by fours, throwing rocks in place of using tools, sinking into mud, and balancing on sharp beach rocks. (Wetness, wetness, wetness, shivering in wet sleeping bags. Now, it’s hard to shake that feeling.)
So, if you run into me, ask me about Bob before I forget!