Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Not Scared. Not Scared At All.

This is what my sister says. What she means is: "This situation is not at all to my liking and there is a heck of a lot that could go wrong, but I've assessed all the factors and feel I can keep rising panic at bay."

This pretty much sums up my night. (Except I picked the situation because it was very much to my liking. But still.) The wind was making my tent scratch in such a way that I was constantly assuring myself it was not animals. The cold was threatening me from every angle but I kept repeating to my limbs: you are warm; you are warm. Etc. etc.

The nice thing about being on edge all night is that when it's over, you feel very much like you've conquered something. Even if all you did was sleep through it.

Especially when you wake up to snow landing on your tent but the fire starts up anyway. And you sit there waiting for the water in your bottles to thaw (frozen solid, even though I kept them inside my tent all night) watching seven swans take off up the slushy river, land, float back down, and repeat. It was their honking that told you to get up in the first place, since it's always dark deep inside a mummy bag.

Alongside the Nenana River, for a night of reflection and fulfilling self-challenge. Brr, it was cold. Overnight low of 12, I'm told. I feel ready for winter. Haha! no winter for me! I needed to experience at least a taste of it before heading off to Hawaii.

And hiking Mt. Healy the next day (after it stopped snowing) was perfect. Up at the top it was sunny - above the clouds - and warm. Well, warm is a relative term. But I felt toasty, heated as I was from the hike. And no wind. And lots of sheep.

The drive back was harrowing at times - 4 inches of slush on the roads that were clear when I drove the other way. But I made it. And loved it.

I will be back.

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