So here we are on the Alaska highway, curled up in our tent hiding away from the mosquitoes. Dave is sleeping peacefully beside me and I'm awake, hearing birds call in the night that I have not heard in 9 years. I miss this drive. I wait to hear the varied thrush who I know so well. But, I hear other birds that I didn't know the names of 9 years ago. I recognize them. I remember. Hermit thrush calls out clearly, 10:30 at night, and white throated sparrow chimes in as well as the familiar robin. The kiskatinaw river murmurs the refrain. Silence. I feel as though I'm heading home. Home. Skagway. Only a few days away. I've worked so incredibly hard in the last 2 months, preparing, cooking, packing, and working incredibly long days, so I can be ready for this trip. I had a few panicky, exhausted nights when I had no idea how I would be able to maintain this momentum. Now, I'm here. 6 weeks on the road. In less than a week, Dave and I will set out to explore a valley I've dreamed of... Via pack rafts, upstream on a swollen river, into the unknown. We have not used pack rafts on our annual river trips yet. I anticipate an incredible new level of versatility and freedom... As long as they are fun to paddle, I see the possibility of easy portages, ability to handle whitewater, and ease of transport and packing. Will canoes be a method of the past? We shall see.
The birds have quieted and my husband snores lightly. The river beckons to us with its soft murmur as I drift into dreamland, the silence of the Tormented Valley beckons, less than a week away.