Stories & Life
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Donoho Lakes

After crossing the glacier, I emerge on the ridge line of Donoho Basin, and on the one side there’s the glacier that I just conquered, and on the other is a mess of bush and brush.

Last year I was the fearless leader and led our crew toward the general direction of the trail. Or so I thought. In reality we wound up bush-whacking it for like three hours to get to one of the lakes. Had we taken the trail, it would have been like a half hour’s hike.


Happy camper, @ the second lake in Donoho Basin, 2017

This year, I knew where the trail was, and I was good to go. Well, mostly. Before I plunge into the bush (the trail is pretty overgrown), I realize that I’ve forgotten to bring bear spray. There are usually bears out here in Donoho Basin, or so I’ve been told (I’ve never actually spotted a bear out here), so to compensate for having no bear spray, I listen to an audiobook by David Sedaris, as sort of a bear deterrent — not that I think David Sedaris would incite terror within the heart of a grizzly bear, but rather my thinking here is that the noise lets them know I’m around.

So I crank it the volume. But really, I just like listening to David Sedaris.


Donoho Basin, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, 2017

Eventually I emerge at the first Donoho lake, I’m not sure that these lakes have names, at least I’ve never heard a name, other than “the first lake” and “the second lake.”

It’s so clean and refreshing, and I pause to enjoy it. I take a drink, have a snack, and snap some pictures. A curious little critter of some sort shuffles over. When I look her way, she scuttles away. But curiosity brings her back a few times more. Well, maybe it’s curiosity, or maybe she just smells the granola.


The first lake, @ Donoho Basin, 2017

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Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy; I pass the winters in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. I'm working on a memoir-based nonfiction book on the American Dream. I blog, quite frequently, and I also have a novel in process, set in Alaska.

Consider this post an invitation, an invitation to comment and collaborate, in an open-ended sort of way, so please share your...whatever it is that's on your mind: thoughts, ideas, greetings, angst/irritation, inspiration, confusion, query, rant, salutation, data/research, meme, epigram, exposition or epiphany -- because I'm all about the synergy and solidarity. ~ JE

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