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Hiking At Kennicott

by Brian Fuchs

We chose stones carefully, stepping goat-like
across the field of glacier
deposits,
rocks brought here by powerful ice.
We made our way along the river, through a
density of silt.
I followed a narrow trail, curiosity claiming one, two, then all
three of my companions.

My path lay flat, carved from trees and grasses on the hills,
running along the very center of each towering, but small peak
and back down again.
The path only briefly meandered
through some trees
and then I emerged again, taking my place atop the next hill.

The 3 appeared in the distance at my new height,
far in the distance and now far
behind me.
Waving, we acknowledged our continued group hike,
now made one person short.
My feet took me forward and I pressed on,
again goating my way
over sloped white rock,
my clear and flattened path disappearing and then
reappearing some ways below me.

Preoccupied with safety, I'd been unaware of beauty
that was rising up and spreading out around me.
White, green
beige
grey, pink
green
I turned my head to see the glacier,
angrily peering from beneath its rocky blanket, spilling stones
and streaming water into a vast pool
that lay idle a moment,
trying to get its bearings before
heading towards the river.

In the distance I saw my friends and spoke to them
with a barely raised voice.
I guarded the glacier discovery, allowing them the chance
to experience and awe at the mighty size of the creature.
Disappearing into a pass that took them out of view,
I continued on,
drawn by some magic the trail had conjured.

Increasing heights made the hills more difficult, exhilarating,
sweaty.
Another rocky slope found my feet less sure,
challenging me with loose shards & broken bits.
My friends came to mind,
unseen for a long while.
The path diminished a bit at the line of trees began
to impede my passage.

My name rang gently through the valley once
(that I heard).
I turned, collected a rock and headed back to the group.
My back wet with sweat,
shirt clinging exhaustedly to my skin,
I felt a rush of new freedom,
of accomplishment,
solitude.
I sprinted now, over peaks that had seemed so difficult,
my feet never flinching on the now familiar trail.

I dashed up hills and pranced lightly down,
increasingly eager to get back to the company of friends,
family.
I slowed and walked slowly up a hill and saw the orange hat
making its way up to the same point, the hill with the view –
the perfect view of the white faces, lodged and straining.

We clicked our cameras, in awe
and I could now see the other two below, resting on rocks,
lazily taking Nature in,
hearts full.
I hopped down to the bed of boulders, where they had veered
and danced ceremoniously down towards the lodge.
Weary, wet, hot,
my feet were no longer trustworthy and my movements
required more thought.

Back safely at our cabin, we had a tailgate feast of whatever
each of us could find: olives, cookies, whole chickens, tuna salad,
carrots, juice, apples, nuts, dried cranberries, soda,…
Blissfully, the lovers among us retired
to the deck of the great common building
to share a romantic ramen and wine dinner,
alone finally,
content.

Creativity oozed out of anywhere it could and houses built
themselves on imagined sites of beautiful dreams that
seem to be coming true.
Wine gave way to haughty birds and the words once again
took over my hand.
We all seemed to be looking towards the glacier,
a pure moment carrying over and living on.
Alaska is good.

6.14.2008

06/14/2008

Posted on 02/20/2009
Copyright © 2019 Brian Fuchs

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