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Sleeping with my Head in the Clouds

In order to move our things from Fort Yukon to Circle by boat, I had to move our Trooper from Fairbanks to Circle first, and then return to Fort Yukon. So with that as my goal, on Sunday evening I flew from Fort Yukon to Fairbanks, an hour by air. I pulled out the Trooper from it’s long term parking at the airport and drove most of the way up the Steese Highway, into the White Mountains (see the map below). It was cloudy-rainy all the way. As the road climbed Twelve-Mile Summit, I could see the ceiling of thick clouds getting closer and closer until I was suddenly swathed in thick fog until I was up and over and headed back down the other side. It was remarkable. A short time later, as I climbed up Eagle Summit, I again climbed right up into the clouds. This time, as I reached the summit, I turned off of the road and parked, grabbed my pack and headed up a trail further into the clouds. Winds whipped all around, and after 30 feet I could no longer see the road or my Trooper, just the trail in front of me. I walked maybe a mile, probably less, and set up my tent in a little depression, somewhat shaded from the wind. All I could see around my was the slight variations in cloud density whip across the tundra and down the side of the mountain in the gusting wind. I knew the mountain fell away quickly just below me, but I couldn’t see it. I huddled in my tent and bag, but left the tent flap open so that I could see clouds around me and reflect on my crazy life that brings me to places like this at times like this. The next morning I woke up, unzipped the tent fly, and saw the view that had been obscured the night before: the mountain valley falling away beneath me into the distance. Packed up and drove the rest of the way to Circle where I met up with Fred, my neighbor from Fort Yukon who had come up to Circle by boat to drop off his daughter and grandkids. I jumped in the boat with him and we drove back down to Fort Yukon. In two days, I had flown, driven and boated some of the most remote country there is.

Posted on Tuesday, July 18, 2006 at 02:21PM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | CommentsPost a Comment

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