Yesterday, I went fishing and rafting on Willow Creek. I couldn't help but feel gratitude for the water and the greenery around me. There was so much life, including monster king salmon in an extremely clear flowing water. Running water and restrooms make our lives so easy. Up on the mountain we spent hours every day trying to boil water to meet our physical needs and having to carry out our feces was certainly a heavy burden. Oh the wonderful air, it is nice to breathe again and not even think about it.
The world is a beautiful place and we met amazing people on the mountain. We are especially grateful for a team of four Irish who we spent the last few days with. They left for the summit a half hour after us and got blasted by a storm on the way back. They let us borrow some fuel at high camp that really saved us as we were out and descending just after summitting with all of our gear felt more than overwhelming. We boiled some water for them as we could barely see them from time to time as they descended Denali Pass. It was nice to help them out and helped us remember the importance of human kindness.
Our last day out ended up being very hard and scary. The temperature during the day reached 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which is dangerous on a glacier. We traveled at the coldest time of the day between 12:30 - 9 am. We left before the Irish team of Ann, Aaro, Jam, and Chris) hoping that if we ran into trouble we would have someone coming behind us. However route finding on a foggy morning proved very difficult. I began following deep footsteps which followed the route of the flags, but soon I could not see any more flags and led Kevin right into a hidden crevasse. He pulled out of it, but it was scary not knowing where the trail was. We chose to cross it again and get back to the flags to get on track.
Just when we reached the flags again the Irish came along and we asked if we could jump inline behind them. They had better route finding skills than us and were excellent leaders through the slushy glacier. Most everyone had at least one slip into a crevasse along the way but none too deep that they were not able to quickly pull themselves out. As we pulled our heavy sleds along it was almost impossible for us to not be pulled a little by them into places we didn't want to go. We also got to hear a little Irish temper flare along the way. What a wonderful dawn as we pulled up the the hill to the airstrip and then flew back to Talkeetna. The pilot took us a route so that we could see greenery and life near the glacier.
I feel blessed to be back among living things that I love. The trek was a great adventure and I appreciate Kevin and his steadiness in moving up so many hard paths. Team camaraderie is so important on "The Great One." I hope that you all enjoy your own adventures whatever they be. Continue following Kevin and Jerrica who are much more witty than I through their year off and their trek across North America: https://www.instagram.com/the.mobile.hot.spot/