Wednesday, June 25
Today is Tim’s birthday and Dan & Carolyn’s ninth wedding anniversary. Our family is far away, but not far from our minds.
Breakfast seemed like dinner: Arctic char, mashed potatoes with onion, rehydrated green vegetables. It was a sunny breezy morning. (The camp photo shows rafts serving as windbreaks. Wind is our friend, where mosquitoes can be bad.) I did some laundry and washed my hair. Larry fixed the zipper on Steve’s sleeping bag, which had broken in the night.
Then we hiked up the steep slope, dotted with flowers, including pink moss campion, new this camp. I saw yellow arnica, too, and something that looks like creeping phlox The snow buttercups have a perfect pentagram in the center.
There were scree slopes to pick our way over. It was especially tough going for Martha, who decided to stay in a sheltered rocky spot. Not too much further we reached a saddle with views in two directions, mountain panoramas. We could see stretches of aufeis along the braided river. (Aufeis is ice that builds up along a northern river—sort of a horizontal glacier) We had lunch there, with chèvre cheese and dark chocolate.
Just as Steve and the others were setting off to climb the mountain, Martha appeared. she and I relaxed awhile, then played rock bocce. The sky had clouded and the wind picked up so we decided to start down. It was slow going, with rests, but we enjoyed swapping travel tales. We were very glad to get down and in our tents right before the rain started.
Steve returned an hour later, really excited that he’d managed to hike to the top. He’d seen the Arctic Ocean across the coastal plain, with a distant shipwreck. This, he said, was why he’d lost 40 pounds: to be able to take the hardest hike.
We snoozed and read until Thanksgiving dinner, with canned turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberries, in a little dining tent because of the rain. Our own tent was cozy and warm all night as the wind blew and rain fell.