The Great Beyond
There’s a land where the mountains are nameless,
And the rivers all run God knows where;
There are lives that are erring and aimless,
And deaths that just hang by a hair;
There are hardships that nobody reckons;
There are valleys unpeopled and still;
There’s a land—oh, it beckons and beckons,
And I want to go back—and I will.
From The Spell of the Yukon by Robert Service.
In continuing with the recent slide scan theme, this is one of my all time favorite images. Nothing fancy, but oh the memories!
Twenty years ago my wife and I hunted the interior of Alaska. It was mid-September, and for all the world, could have been the middle of winter. The previous group of hunters had endured summer like conditions and biting flies. Conditions changed overnight. The landscape, now stark, was cloaked under a deep mantle of snow. We arrived in camp and were greeted by the outfitter and our native guides. One, an Athabaskan kid, guiding his first hunt, the other, an elder Inupiat who had guided many. Both were great characters, and a pleasure to share ten days afield. Looking at the image of those cold snowy mountains, I vividly remember what would become most exciting event in my life. That being, stalking a grizzly across a barren slope with the young guide in knee to thigh deep snow while my wife and the elder guide watched from the bottom of the mountain.
I've been drawn back to the North Country many times since. Sometimes hunting. Mostly fishing and exploring. It is truly a great land.