I found myself engaged in a good discussion on gun violence, hosted by fellow Alaska blogger Pete, a dude who lives in an off the grid cabin, year-round. It’s interesting to discuss guns with fellow Alaskans. As a non-urban, rural-living person, I’m more than a little sympathetic to the concerns of subsistence hunters. There’s a good discussion that you can check out here: https://kl1hbalaska.wordpress.com/2018/02/28/28-children-murdered-yet-another-school-massacre/ One of the talking points that goes around is “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Or as Del put it, in the comment section of the above-linked discussion: Well Jonathon [sic] I get your point but really come on, the gun doesn’t kill its the person pulling the trigger its an object like a vehicle or whatever.
Feeling a bit of AK nostalgia, posting this photo from one of the winters I was in McCarthy. Like many places in Alaska, when the snowpack forms and rivers freeze, it creates an entirely different place. A snow machine or a pair of skis open up new trails and roads that are inaccessible during the warm months. Just one of many of the things that make Alaska such a dynamic place, a place where I can always feel in my bones my mortal impermanence and tenuous existence.
It’s usually sometime around December that I begin to feel the first stirrings of cabin fever. This is not the sort of cabin fever by which I am being driven batty by living in a confined space, it’s the kind of cabin fever that comes of wishing that I were in a cabin. It’s the beginnings of the itch to be back in Alaska, where there are real cabins, scattered about in the middle of vast wilderness. Usually when January rolls, I’m getting a little sentimental, because the summer is still a long ways off, and I’m starting to really miss the Great North.
I’ve met a good deal of transients in the last ten years, folks without permanent addresses, primarily working seasonal jobs that allow them a free-bird flexibility. Untethered from the office desk and the corporate Nine-to-Five schedule, one has the ability to hit the road as the spirit leads — take a trip for a month or two (or more) and explore the world. I’ve met many of my fellow free spirits in or near America’s spectacular national parks, most notably in Alaska. So I thought it might be of particular interest to some of my transient nature-loving friends that Trump & Cronie$ are in the process of $elling off nearly a million acres of public land, so as to accelerate fracking.
Fall colors were absolutely hyperactive in Donoho Basin, and I was similarly hyperactive with the picture-snapping. But truly, there are few places that get lit up in the fall like Donoho Basin, and so I returned with a smartphone packed with pics. At a certain point, though, I have to just force myself to stop taking pictures, let go, put the camera in my pants pocket, and just enjoy.
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.
I met Aline this summer. She’s a like-minded adventurer who really squeezed the most out of her first summer in Alaska, spending almost all of her free time hiking and camping and exploring the mountains and trails around McCarthy, AK. She’s also from France, originally, though she’s been in the States for quite some time now. She read some of my posts on capitalism and socialism. We were eating together, outside on a sunny afternoon in July, and we started talking about it all. Aline’s perspective was international, it was interesting, and I’m still mulling it over. Basically Aline’s main point (or at least the one that really stuck with me) was that she appreciated American mobility, the kind of uniquely American ability to be transient. We talked about it, and Aline expressed a good deal of sympathy for my pro-socialist and anti-capitalist writings, but said that there were many things about American individualism that she appreciated, and she wondered if we’d lose some of these things, were America to embrace socialism. As a quasi-nomad, …