Before heading out, admittedly, there was a lot of stress. How much food will I need? Can I carry it all? What about weather, animals, bugs, loneliness? And how much TP (=toilet paper) does a person need eating primarily a reconstituted diet (of goodness, thanks again mom!) and drinking oh so fresh water straight off the glacier? Well, I’m back to refill (mostly for lack of TP, aka, whatever I brought, the answer was more) in Pemberton.
It’s not stressful up there. There’s no alarm, just the sun streaking through the peaked windows at dawn and beckoning with the reflections off the glacier beyond. There’s a carefully trodden path to the outhouse, to the stream where I get my water (two streams and two muddy patches over to the coolest water straight from that same glacier above), that I’m taking in flip flops (somewhat flippantly, giddy but with no shortage of respect) at a fast clip to outrun the mosquitoes and biting black things (flies, no-see-ums, something like a midge…). Every second or third day, whenever I feel like it, I take a hike/scramble/climb to somewhere new (Vantage has a great ‘vantage’ of the northeast side of Matier; then the 2km long snowy arm of Matier reaching northward offered another day’s escape; next: Duke? Twin One lake?).
There’s so much freedom in going it solo in the wilderness. The first few days were unreal. It truly hit me when I was hiking in past sunset and my nerves were tweaked against upcoming night but the forest glowed in this amazing light and the sun just never seemed to set. I felt confident finally and giddy with the freedom it delivered.
For the writing, the biggest change has been the time and space to think. People are wonderful at letting me work when it looks like I’m actually working (aka, writing actively). But writing a novel, it turns out, required ample time just spaced out. For me, there can be no better place for that than staring down a glacier, familiar as an old friend and yet always mysterious.
A few more days of this, then a proper people-filled recharge in the city next week. Mountains to all!