One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. — Henry Miller
Notes from a few weeks ago, at Marsh Creek Lake...
Morning at the lake. A few early risers glide through the sunlight made hazy from the Canadian wildfires smoke. The breeze has not yet begun, leaving the water glassy smooth - I can see 6-8' down to the lake bottom. A pair of blue herons perched along the shoreline take off as I paddle near. The temperature at 10:00 had already broken 80° on its way to the first 90° day of the summer.
I have retained a measure of the calm from Cataract Canyon, even as I've tackled the complexities of planning my Alaska trip for August, to hit the other six parks there. My early fears of having nothing left in my challenge to rival the thrill of whitewater have dissipated as I focus on seeing grizzly bears in the wilds of Katmai, feasting on the spawning salmon. (The other parks, as I investigate them, also promise exciting times.)
Navigating the intricacies of Alaskan travel - allowing for weather delays, sharing charter flights in bush planes, and more - truly taxes me. I've had to generate a spreadsheet to keep track of the myriad possibilities, using the Katmai/Lake Clark package as a baseline and fitting other pieces in as if in a jigsaw puzzle. Once I get this monster scheduled, I can then look at which parks to visit next - do I hit Colorado or fly off to Washington state? Only a few more parks to worry about...
As I near the end of these epics, another eternal question looms:
Once I'm done, what do I want to do when I grow up?
People regularly ask me, "What comes next?" That remains a big question, but the demands of scheduling Alaska leave me with little time to consider that. Once I nail down those details, though, I can look at what remains...
Time for another inspigraph. The photo from the road to Hana cried out for a caption that could capture its essence: