Sunday, March 11, 2012

Letters from Matt #6: Eagle River, Alaska: Birdsong and Wind

Letters From Matt are letters from my brother, Matt, from various of his domestic and international travels. The letters span decades, and I share them on Living Rootless at intervals, in no particular order. 

23 May 1984
Eagle River, Alaska

Dear family,

I have been driving now for a very, very long time. I feel as if I’ve almost driven around the world. Right now I’m a few miles west of Haines Junction, Yukon Territory. It’s very nice – right among the Kuane Mountain range; snow is in the high spots and in the creek and river bottom; pine trees abound.

The strangest experience is that of being alone for over a week. I took a hiker from Columbia to Kansas City and another from Kansas City to Denver. I had a beer with a gas station attendant in Deer Creek, Alberta, and the night before last I conversed all night with an Indian. So I’ve talked to no more than 5 or 6 people all week. There are no words to make a good description of what it’s like because it’s perfectly silent save bird songs and the wind. When you don’t have anyone to talk to, the mind activity is streamlined and accelerated. That doesn’t mean I’m getting any smarter, it just means I’m getting a short dose (temporary, of course) of craziness.

I know it shouldn’t have happened and wouldn’t have happened if I were keeping good records, but I’m not sure whether it’s Saturday or Sunday. Luckily, I’ll be able to find out next time I buy some gas. But what would happen if I were off the road and not near a gas station. It kind of makes me wonder just how long I would last.

With four exceptions, most of my experiences have been visual (I’ve got two rolls of film to prove that). I won’t bore you anymore with any of it, but I did at least want to get a letter off so you could know I’m still alive and that I’ll probably make it. I only have about 600 miles to go. I should be in Anchorage tomorrow evening (Sunday or Monday – maybe Tuesday, who knows).



P.S. Did you know that it doesn’t get dark here til after 11:00 p.m. and it gets light about 4:00 a.m.? It makes bedtime seem like an afternoon nap.

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