Day 100 (8/21/16)
You’ve never experienced darkness, not unless you’ve spent time in the backcountry, not unless you’ve turned off your headlamp in your cabin without electricity located in the middle of nowhere on a cloudy, rainy, starless, moonless night. I’d never experienced such darkness. I thought I had, but my previous darkness came with streetlights every 100 feet and headlights in the distance and blinking lights from the cable box and a nightlight in the bathroom. This darkness only comes with silence and stillness, it makes you dream up monsters lurking, it makes you forget about space. Nothing exists in this darkness.
Day 106 (8/27/16)
A series of goodbyes. That’s what my life feels like these days.
Bye, I’ve seen you and shared meals with you and worked by your side and laughed over coffee and hiked mountains and hugged you goodnight every day for four months, but now it’s goodbye. Hopefully we see each other again in our lifetime, but maybe we won’t. Maybe I’ll only ever see you on Facebook. Maybe we’ll never speak again for as long as we live.
How can we live so intimately with someone and then never see them again?
Day 107 (8/28/16)
Guess what I’m doing right now?
I’m laying in a tent on the edge of Skilak Lake watching green Auroras light up the sky, staring at the millions of stars dusting the sky, making up out Milky Way.
I’m smiling remembering the night: the glassy lake and everyone’s costumes blowing in the wind as we boated to the backcountry lodge, George telling me I looked DAYUM good, reuniting with Rocky as ping pong partners and getting a Bye round and then actually winning a game, him telling me I’m killing it, as in in life, and that I seem happy, Rocky and I playing Kevin and McKenzie and actually doing decently, but mostly just talking shit to them.
Day 111 (9/1/16)
These are the moments I want to remember: Tender moments like laying on the rock beach of the secret spot, sharing a beer and watching the sunset light up the mountains in a rosy glow, and watching the sunrise illuminate steam rising off the lake from the same spot, but instead I’m holding a steaming mug of coffee. Silly moments like late raft pick ups with Dave Story, me telling him I forced my friendship on someone and him joking that it seemed like a go-to tactic for me, watching Road House in the Palace and laughing at all the cheesy one liners and affects. Amazing moments like walking out of the bathhouse after brushing my teeth for bed and looking up, still being in awe of the fact that we can see stars again, and, at that particular moment, a shooting star whizzing across the sky, Mother Nature’s way of showing off or maybe God saying ‘hi’.
Day 118 (9/8/16)
These are the moments I want to remember: A post-dinner fun float. Tanner and Jimmy standing around while I try to figure out how to load the raft on the trailer, Tanner telling me I’ll thank him for “teaching” me this way. Watching a bear throw around a dead salmon on the river’s edge Iike a dog with a dog toy. Seeing Shawn laugh, like really laugh, at Kat’s story about an awkward rafting trip. Successfully crossing the river and landing in an eddy to everyone’s surprise. The color of the river in the shadows of the spruce.
Day 119 (9/9/16)
These are the moments I want to remember: riding around camp on a raft trailer with Sarah, Tanner, and Kat while Elysia drove around in circles. A post-dinner badminton game with Tanner and Evan on the volleyball court and laughing hysterically as the wind took the birdie, causing us to dive and horribly miss. Practicing hand stands and head stands and cartwheels with McKenzie, Stephanie, Tanner, and Evan in the grass outside the office as the sun set behind the trees, pausing to look at it all and realizing this is the feeling we were missing all summer; something involving silliness and simplicity and being unapologetically ourselves. Piling into the Palace and choosing a movie together. Passing around snacks as we all watched intently from our favorite chairs.
Read Alaska Diaries from the beginning: Week 1 and 2