So what drives a fully grown and some would rudely add aging, man of the world to wobble on foot into the known? That is, up, down and around the remotest reaches of northern Alaska.
For sure the route has its dangers. Grizzly bears, hungry wolves, and wild, possibly charging, five hundred pound moose represent some of the wild life. Speeding eighteen wheelers craftly maneuvered by gun toting drivers, weary tourists trying to negotiate unfamiliar hairpin turns in even less familiar rented RV’s, and wild, thrill seeking, motorcyclists, perhaps high on alcohol or the euphoria of high speed death, adequately represent the human element.
I picked-up the van I would be using at Go North in Fairbanks and soon ran into problems. The rear door jammed and would not close and then water leaked profusely from the small refrigerator on board. I had arrived from New York at 1:30 AM Alaska time exhausted at first and then motivated to finally begin stage 2 of my Dream Walk at 6 AM.
The logistics of the first day are always complicated. Vehicles to arrange, food to buy, forgotten left behinds [this time sunglasses]. After a short two mile walk as a warm up I was off in full swing. By afternoon it was time to pick up the emergency satellite telephone, bathe, eat, and walk three more miles along the route after an early dinner.
Last summer I had walked the 400 mile length of the Dalton highway from Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean to Livingood. The stage starts in Fairbanks. To begin, I will walk the 85 miles north to the location where I ended last year the return to Fairbanks and head east toward the Canadian border.
This is the height of the tourist season. Packs of tour buses, jammed with American seniors, on their land leg of an “Alaskan Cruse”. Oh, they are good folks, I’m sure. Both sexes seem grossly overweight. All complain “there is too much food”. I over hear them at rest stops, scenic overlooks and of course in the very occasional “camps” where they come to eat lots of food.
While walking, I conclude I am somewhat [?] different from all of these my fellow wonderful Americans. I just don’t like buses, cruses or organized tours of any kind.
No, give me the wild, the lonely road, the hazards of the unforeseen. I too will toast a tall class of cabernet sauvignon whenever it can be found. Like those 60 and 70 year olds basking in the widened seats of their air conditioned buses I also would love to complain “there’s too much food” as I enjoyably, as I have been taught, clear my plate.
Distance to my second home in Miami from Fairbanks 5312 miles. I plan to walk there!