Friday, August 24, 2007

Another perspective

Date: Aug. 23-24
Mileage: 47.6
August mileage: 777.1
Temperature upon departure: 57
Rainfall: .55"

Our friend Amity from Palmer, Alaska, is visiting us right now. She is the first friend from Outside (Juneau) that we actually talked into coming to visit. She had never been to Southeast Alaska before.

Yesterday we backpacked to the Windfall Lakes public use cabin, a backcountry luxury spot complete with a canoe and a propane heater. We made pasta with pesto sauce for dinner and it was about the worst thing I have ever ingested (a combination of salt overload, MSG, starch water and more than a hint of melted plastic from the cheap bowl I was eating it out of.) I opted to eat it rather than pack it out, even though I had already packed in two magazines, a huge edition of the Seattle newspaper and two cans of Diet Pepsi (hey, you have to have priorities.) We floated on the lake for a while while Amity "fished" and Geoff and I were rained on. It continued to rain the entire night. We played Texas hold'em, betting mini chocolate bars just like children do. Amity cleaned both Geoff and I out in about a dozen hands. I read the most recent edition of "Backpacking" - the "Global Warming Issue" - from cover to cover after Geoff and Amity went to sleep at 10 p.m. I don't recommend reading it unless you want to feel really depressed about the state of things you can not control. Especially if you are trying to sleep on a hard bench in a public use cabin, and every uncomfortable minute of alertness means you are either thinking about your sore back, or you are imagining the beautiful sea of grass that is the sandhills of western Nebraska turning into a Sarhara Desert in less than 20 years.

All in all, though, a fun trip. It's always interesting to see your hometown and your habits through another person's eyes:

On tidepooling: "There's nothing tasty in this one."

On fishing from a canoe: "I'll cast it out front so I don't hook you in the eye."

On the spawned-out salmon that were laboring along the shoreline: "They're really not so bad. They taste a little bit like whitefish."

On Juneau in general: "I just didn't realize it would be so wet here."