Ten minute wait.
End: Denali AK.
The morning started with the chirping of alarms. Watches, phones and clocks all seemed to join forces and annoy me back to reality. I woke up in the same position as I found myself last night, staring toward the window. The slow movement of everyone stiring echoed in my head, a quiet room. I took advantage of being first to the restroom and upon returning I was supprised to find everyone alive in action. It was an early start as Erica wanted to drop us off at a good spot before heading to work. Our luck rested in her hands as we headed out into the morning sun.
Vigorously sketching and filling in the words, my sign was soon to state Denali, our next stop. As the car swayed back and fourth with the bumps of the road, I didn’t even have the chance to finish as we approched the end of town. The one time I have reception and begin to talk to Sunny, I find myself juggling all the bags, the sign and phone trying to get out of the car. All I could do was laugh and tell my girl I will talk to her soon as I grabbed the camera to catch our goodbyes with Erica. A mad couple of minutes it was, as we jumped about stituating ourselves on the side of the road. With Erica moving into the distance, all the excitement and commotion seemed to follow. Dirk and I stood there quiet, looking down the road at the minimal traffic flowing our way. The morning sun filled the scene with an overpowering glare as I sat back down to finish my sign. Pulling the sharpie from my pocket, I turn to realize an suv was pulling over. Almost catching us by complete suprise, I looked at my sign and back at Dirk trying to make sense of the whole event taking place. Dirk must have thrown out the thumb or waved him down for it wasn’t the sign that convinced him to stop. The sign only stating DENA at the time was in my lap. We grabbed the bags and ran.
A man jumped out of the suv and started shoving some boxes around to make room for us. We just stood there, hands in pockets, amazed that we were getting a ride all the way to Denali. Three minutes didn’t even pass from the time we left Erica to meeting Tony Westmoreland. The first thing I noticed about Tony was that he reminded me of an Audio professor I had in community college. Both are very laid back and have a lot of passion behind what they do. Not only was he very knowledgable, but his philosophy was one of a kind. He is an instructor for a non-profit program that educates parents on how to manage anger and aggresive children. As I sat in the front seat and Dirk in the back, we all talked about photography, music and our travels. The 123 mile journey felt like a 15 minute joy ride with the good company. As we approached what is dubbed “Glitter City” by the locals, we jumped out and parted ways. Snapping a photo and saying our goodbyes, Tony shall join the many great people we have meet throughout the trip.
Glitter City, a false town. We found ourselves in one of the many tourist traps that litter the countryside. Cookie cutter cabins and a board walk that was full of herded people making their way into the company owned shops. I laughed as I saw the Subway and knew I wanted to eat there. As suspected, it was no longer the 5 dollar foot long but the 10 dollar foot long. Easy to inflate prices when the tourists are funneled in without any other place to go, thus the false town name. Cutting our losses, Dirk and I settle for splitting a sandwich as I began on the new sign to Anchorage. While eating and sketching out the nine letters across the board, I started to notice people staring. Piercing eyes, unfriendly faces. Sad to say we were back among a judgmental group of people, walking by in their new fashionable Northface hiking clothes. We just ignored any vibes thrown and made our way back out to the road.
Again we met a ride in just a few minutes of posting up. As we tossed our bags into the back and hopped in, Mike introduced Uncle Carl. Mike, a local gentleman who works within the national park, gets a kick out of introducing his truck first. He states more people know the truck rather than him, so why not introduce his old yellow pickup first. A true character…
Not long after, Dirk and I stood in front of the closed hostel, no where to go. Dropping the bags and getting comfortable on the couches, we remained there for a few hours. Sitting back, pulses of light rain fell in odd patterns, refreshing as it hit my skin. The rest of the day was spent relaxing among the company of the other guests, talking and sharing stories. As the night fell, late as usual, I finished the last words of my post and fell into my sleeping bag. Sheltered from the cold, I lay awake listening to a comforting patter, the sound of rain on the tent.