Drizzly chill, riding on the beach marking the enthusiasm of the tides and the strokes of wader clad folks fishing with buoyant attentiveness. Tonight cozy bar bluegrass, and then another day I’m looking up at the grey spitfall sideways mist over Resurrection Pass, in all my gear outside the campground “grocery store” where I provisioned up.
“Hey, I see that your fridge is marked ‘sandwiches.'”
“Sure, I’ve got miniburgers, burritos, meatballs… . Help yourself.”
I’m standing motionless, moronically. “Anything I can take with me for lunch on the trail?”
She wrinkles her forehead, squints. “Well, you can heat stuff now and eat it later.”
Soon I have an assembly line of frozen burritos and hot pockets and breakfast sandwiches to be microwaved and placed back into their wrappers for future consumption, there’s a baffled and aghast Swiss couple, but the camo bearded guys with black fingernails muddy boots drinking coffee, they read me unflinching, as if it’s the most natural thing. And that’s the overwhelming impression of Alaska, joyous legacy of frontier libertarian whateverthefuck you’re up to is fine, not my business to second guess it or judge your splattered filth, but an essential elemental sense of fellowship, open friendliness, the ur-Americanness of it lifts me.
Six hours later I’m trembling freezing resting in a cabin unable to get my sopping gloves off, mud chutes, head high growth, needle raindrops, jet engine wind, mountain cracked horizon. Food impossibly delicious, snap return to conscious singularity, pedal onward for hours more.
Live recording from the Hope Cafe