The bar is set a bit higher in Alaska, so far as rating trails is concerned. A hike rated “Difficult” in the Lower 48 is more likely to be rated closer to “Easy” when up in the wilds of the Great North. Hence a trail rated “Difficult” in Alaska is usually a hike that has nary a trail at all. When in Alaska I don’t rate a trail “Difficult” if I’m not doing some serious bush wacking. Such was the case on a hike I did on Sunday, along McCarthy Creek — and by “creek” I mean a raging river. I had expectations for an easy go of it, but parts of the trail had been washed out by the aforementioned “creek.” After getting through the worst of it, though, I was still smiling, albeit a little less enthusiastic than usual, as you can see from the photo, because it’s hard to not be happy with views like these.
Plans change and housing conditions get rearranged — such is often the nature of life in my Alaskan bush village. I had planned to be in a cabin, commuting (i.e. walking) back and forth from cabin and work, but things shifted, one of which was a knee injury that had me looking at my options for staying in town, where I work. A hundred years ago, McCarthy was quite the happenin’ spot in Alaska. This was before Anchorage was even on the map, merely a place to slap a tent down. McCarthy, at the time, was a regular sin city, just four miles down the road from the site of the most profitable copper mine in modern history. And like anywhere else in Alaska, if you had a spot of land, you could always put up a wall tent. It was a quick and cheap way to put a roof over your head. So, in that same spirit, I decided to put up a tent in town, down by the river, where I can listen …
I’m a little sluggish on posting Alaska pics. I’ve been up north now for a month, but I haven’t had much opportunity to really get out and enjoy the Great Land. May is always a busy month, getting the Lodge up and running. Then a few weeks ago I caught the bug that was going around, a cold/flu that completely drained me. And if that wasn’t enough, my old knee injury has come back with a vengeance, which has put a halt on day hikes or hiking of any kind.
“I’ve never seen so many dogs in one town, and, you know, where there’s no problem or anything.” ~ McCarthy Tourist, circa May 2018 Photo courtesy of Luke McKinney, www.mckinneymakesmedia.com/
The annual trek up to Alaska is rapidly approaching, less than a week away. This will be my ninth consecutive summer working/living in AK. It’s become a lifestyle choice, to say the least, a nomadic lifestyle: summers in Alaska and winters spent wandering the world. In truth, though, it’s mostly been California. I’ve become quite comfortable and settled in here in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California. So I do a good deal less free-style gypsy living these days.
I got out on the bike for a few rides this spring, out among the big trees. Big Basin Redwoods State Park is only a short ride from the house — round trip of a little more than 20 miles or so — and there are several low-traffic roads to cycle on, here in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Here’s a few pics:
I don’t usually meditate with sounds, like music or guided meditions. I’ve had some good experiences with them — once in a while there will be a guide I really connect with, like Joseph Goldstein (Buddhist) or James Finley (Christian/Buddhist) — but for the most part medition sounds feel like additives in food. Additives can be good if done skillfully by an experienced chef with real cheffing skills. I’ve nothing against additives, per se. So, if one were to listen to this as an additive, I’d have to say that you would probably get a lot of bang for your buck…or whatever happens to be the market value of five minutes and seven seconds of your time.