I feel the way I did that morning in the hostel in Juneau, when Becky and I were starting our kayaking trip in Alaska in May of the year 2000, almost exactly 10 years ago. I feel that way, but on a different time scale. I woke up in the bunk, and didn’t know where I was. I’m sure that feeling has a name, but I don’t know what it is. I was temporarily misplaced. The most recent bits of history, which had gotten me there, were lost in my mind somewhere. An episode of micro-amnesia. Where am I? And then in a wrenching mental gyration, it all comes back. Like looking at a map and a compass, and suddenly realizing you’ve gotten turned around. It’s not that peak, it’s this one. That means we’re here, not there. And fuck, we’re out of water too. Now what?
I will remember the past decade as graduate school. Only 6 years actually enrolled, but also another 1.5 or so working at Caltech beforehand, trying to get in. However, all the highlights took place in the other times. The 2.5 years yet unaccounted for. Of that time, about 18 months was spent traveling, and that’s where the memories really are.
A wolf in our camp by the calving McBride glacier. Paddling over Pacific swell with seaweed and a wright whale by George Island. The miracle of getting over sea sickness while fishing for salmon on the M/V Radio out of Pelican. A brown bear and her cubs on the beach. Lonely, wordless, solo backpacking in the Beartooth range. Two weeks in Dark Canyon with the ringtails eating cattail roots. A half eaten deer and mountain lion tracks in the morning by our campsite in the Zion narrows. A night with Concept One and Aphex Twin in a Subaru crammed full of camping gear during a rain storm in the redrock country.