Last year I hiked to Donoho with four friends: Anna, Alecia, and Irish Paul, a photographer who came to visit Alaska from Ireland. Paul came to McCarthy to visit for a few days with his friends, at the beginning of the summer as they road-tripped Alaska, but when it came time for them all to pull out of town, Paul decided he would stay on for the summer and camp down by the river in a cheap Costco tent. The tent washed out in a flood, but Paul proved more resilient, staying on until the end of the summer.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, 2017

Hiking the glacier is hard work. With each step, I dig the sharp teeth of my crampons into the ice. This year, hiking solo, the sun is barely luminous through the clouds, just a little glowing orb. As if one que, though, it all opens up once I’m on the other side, hiking into Donoho Basin.

Plunging into the brush, Donoho Basin, 2017

It’s worth it, though. After navigating a creek crossing, I think about how i love the silence of these places, pushing out farther than most people go. It’s one of the things that keeps me coming back to Alaska, summer after summer.


Published by

Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

2 thoughts on “Donohoooooo!”

Consider this post an invitation, an invitation to comment and collaborate ~ In Solidarity, JE

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