For my most recent weekly hike, I went on my most usual route, which is up to the Bonanza Mine, but as I approached, I could see two figures silhouetted at the top. I kept hiking, but it was clear that they were making themselves comfortable, nesting up in the clouds. Not wanting to share the spot with anyone else — I’m fiercely protective of my personal space when out on a solo hike — I decided to try another ridge line, and, lucky me, it affords me some new views.
My eyes sweep along mountains and peaks, and along hills of green, as I sit up in the clouds, my chest feeling a joy I only feel at these higher elevations. I take in the random, the random and the wild and the remarkable, the sprawl of wilderness, far as the eye can see, places where there are no roads, peaks and hills that disappear into infinite with no visible trace of civilization.
Then my eyes drift back in another direction, to the tiny almost invisible town of McCarthy, the bush town at the end of the road. There it is, this little dot of humanity, and I’m reminded of the thing I love most about Alaska, the fact that civilization is the exception and that wilderness is the norm. I feel so small, and for me there’s something really important about that feeling.