I know — I'm usually so thrilled just to be in Alaska that I can easily leap over the everyday angst. But I think a combination of the weather and the fact I left California with a lot of loose ends to wrap up, have made the transition tougher. I've even met with a few friends in town, but it didn't really cut through the loneliness. Beat calls three times a day, and this just makes me miss him more. I keep refreshing the race tracker instead of focusing on what I should be doing, then lose focus altogether. I scour the one duffel bag of gear I brought with me and make little piles, trying to determine what to take to Unalakleet, where it should go on my bike, and why. Then I re-arrange the piles. I gathered everything I needed for an overnight tour here in Southcentral Alaska, and then nixed those plans because of rain. I feel wistful and wish I was just walking to McGrath with Beat, even as wet and miserable as it all sort of sounds right now.
A bout of sleeplessness last night at least prompted me to finish up some accounting I've avoided (tax season for the self-employed. I can't stomach doing it all at once, so I break it up into slightly more palatable pieces.) This was the last item on my immediate to-do list, so today I got out for what turned out to be a five-hour ride around Anchorage trails. The trail conditions were consistently bad — I effectively rode 31 miles of slush and glare ice, wearing microspikes on my boots so I could hike out the worst sections. A misty rain fell all afternoon, which had a strange effect of making the climbs feel humid and hot, and the descents clammy and frigid. I wasn't loving the ride but stuck with it, mainly because I hoped a long ride would improve my mood. And actually, it did. After three hours I gained more confidence in my studded tires and relaxed enough to find a rhythm.
Still, I think it will be good for me to get out of town, so I'm heading north on Thursday — a few days camping in the Denali area, and then Fairbanks. Beat is starting to find his flow as well. The first few days are always difficult as bodies settle into the new workload and minds adjust to the wildly swinging emotions and solitude. This is why he sets out on these journeys — to find the deep vein of strength and serenity that is often buried under our everyday angst. I could use this attitude adjustment as well.