August 26th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1

My first decent night’s sleep.  Were able to have something more approaching a decent breakfast, because of the unexpected bonus of a meal the night before, which hadn’t depleted our resources.  Before we went we strolled along the beach for a final look.  Beautiful weather  – again – and once again a beautiful view, tho’ totally different from how it had been the first day or the night before. 

And then, finally, we walked back.  It took quite a while, being rather longer than we had thought, but we made it.  On our second day out, I had switched my right boot for a plimsoll, because the boot was too small, and was agony for my big toe.  The plimsoll had stayed pretty dry all the time, most mud patches being crossable with one foot for the wet patches, my plimsoll for helpful rocks, roots, etc.  But on this last day, I didn’t seem to be able to find the dry patches, + it became increasingly wet + muddy so that by the end I didn’t really care any more.  With about a third of a mile left to the end of the trail, the pack strap broke, making it difficult to carry – we were just thankful it hadn’t happened earlier.

And so our little adventure was over.  We were both quite tired, and in need of a long hot shower, Val had slipped on her arse 3 times, me once, but it had certainly been different, and the previous day we’d picked a whole stack of blueberries.  However, I decided I’m not a “trail person”.  I’m always pleased with the achievement, but don’t enjoy it at the time.  Val says that that applies to all sorts of activities, like saunas, or sport, but I don’t think that’s right, partly because of the scale of the thing – you don’t take a 3-day sauna – partly because I derive little actual pleasure in the actual walk, all in the achievement.  Anyway, back at the trailhead, we tidied ourselves up as best we could, fixed a sandwich, then started to walk to town.  Not very far tho’, because the first car past gave us a lift to the bus-stop.  Amazed – it was 4.25.

When we got back, nobody else there, but they soon all arrived, + then departed for dinner, so we had the run of the place.  Made a great meal of cold turkey, mash + veg, + then I bought some beer, + 2 bottles of liqueur, I for Val, I for Steve’s dad – it was his birthday.  I then made him a card, copying a Tlingit design Steve had – he seemed pleased with it.

I’m not at all sure about all that stuff about whether I enjoy walking or not.  If I don’t, then it is a curious thing, for I am still doing it – currently tackling, a short bit at a time, the Thames Path, for example.  But it remains true, then as now, that Val is a major stimulus to that sort of activity.  And I certainly have a habit of staring at my feet as I walk, rather than appreciating the journey as we go.

  1. Pamela J Blair

    I have a little of the same feeling you have about hiking, the pleasure-pain “when will this be over?” experience, but the views, the expansiveness, far outweigh the pain. I actually like feeling the pull on my calves as I climb, the draw-in of air into my lungs. Going down, there’s always the chance that you’ll lose a toenail, and it’s hard on the old knees, but nevertheless, I love climbing. I’m glad you got to experience Alaska this way.

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