In a never-ending twilight, the canyon became bleak. For nearly two straight weeks, a thick grey blanket of clouds laid over my surroundings, and I sat in bed, with the same thoughts swirling in my head.
Recounting those first days of terrifying excitement. The first time I entered this room. My first days as a server. My first taste of Alpenglow. Weeks two and three when I began to feel comfort. Weeks four and five where it began to make sense. Those first trips to the Park. That day out at Savage River. The adventure. The newness. The beauty. The excitement. The people. The place…
The persistence. The routine.
The initial google search. The endless scouring of the web. The days lost to planning. The emptiness of the present.
In Keystone, and Korea, and now in Alaska, after just six weeks I’d exhausted the luster of the place, and again found an ache.
But on the eve of summer, things began to change.
Across a narrow service platform under the second tallest bridge in the state, the Nenana River roared beneath as cars rattled from above. With my right hand wrapped tightly around my Nikon F3, I chose not to use the thin metal rope for support, opting instead for the freedom of a careful stride as I worked my way toward the safety of the other side. The clouds still existed that day, but they appeared to be drifting, and with each step my outlook was lifting.
Hours later, around a roaring fire at Dry Creek, we welcomed the first day of summer, and with it a warmth that would persist throughout the week.
Into the park, I drove for the first time, enjoying every moment of the open road. No longer confined by the strict path of the bus, with the windows down and Spotify up, the vibrance of the landscape had returned.
Along that same Savage River loop, but this time with friends. The sky opened as we approached the end. The wind howled, and the river roared, but both failed to dampen the choir of birds which echoed endlessly throughout the canyon. With a fierce sun still blaring, a light mist rolled through, creating a majestic ambiance of fantasy as we wound down the way.
On that afternoon in Healy, I began to feel healed. A beer from the brewery and a trip to the lake. I capped off that day by crossing “safe” at home plate.
A last-minute road trip for really no reason. We cruised with the windows down to celebrate the new season.
Life was good, then bad, and now it’s poetic. If you don’t appreciate this time, you’ll surely regret it.
Week six was shit, but week seven was heaven.