The last few weeks had been hard. Lots of work. Little pay, and that late. Terrible combination. But I'd done all that I could, and if it wouldn't prove quite enough, well.. that's the way it would be. Thank God for full cupboards to eat down anyway.
Anyhow, I'd spent *far* too much time in front of a computer screen lately. It was time for another woodswalk.
First - the stuff. I was in mostly modern clothes, but once off the trails and out of sight, I pulled on a hunting shirt, leather pouch, and a sash from my gypsy days. No fiddle this time, but the satchel and bedroll were same as last time. This time it all handled quite well - The cape of the hunting shirt captured the pouch strap quite well and kept it off my neck, and the "bedroll hanging over knapsack" model was quite comfortable (thanks Loup!)... It's still on it's own strap though, and I did sling it off to one side now and again as comfort dictated. And I was very careful on the hills. :)
To the trip itself - LOTS of fun stuff. These little berries were all over the place:
I saw a couple rose hips here and there, but really needed a good forager like Miss D around to know what was safe to bring home or nibble on in the field.
This close in to town, it's hard not to run into signs of people. This shelter's been there for at least the last year I think. It's fairly clean though, so I'm thinking "kids having fun" instead of the sadly common in Anchorage (especially last year) sight of - "alcoholics living in the woods."
Back to the walk though!
I'm proceeding along a ridge, and come close to a public trail. Then I see this little surprise - a geocaching station! How cool! It looks like it was put together by a younger lady - all full of stickers and neat kiddo stuff. Had to leave a note, of course.
Speaking of human habitation - here's the airfield. Once upon a time it was buried back quite aways from town - since then "town" has started to catch up, but this area is off limits to more building. In fact, parts seem to be getting swallowed back up - Mother Nature never rests. Here and there in the woods you'll still trip over the concrete remains of WWII era Army airfield infrastructure.
Seems once upon a time *another* outpost of the US had everything smashed at once by a surprise attack, so the powers that be thought it would be a good idea to scatter the assets at Elmendorf across the countryside. This airfield - still in use - is one of the fruits of that decision.
This was just weird - far back from the trails, a little black parachute hanging in a tree. It's not too far off the airfield, so I'm assuming someone dropped it as a part of some game or another once upon a time. I'm assuming no one told the FAA. :)
A bit further on, cross the dogmushing trails:
After that, the walk really got good. Saw a rabbit, saw a mouse... didn't see any bear, but lots of moose scat.
Mostly though was the quiet. I had to force myself to whistle or sing occasionally so as not to unpleasantly surprise them that don't take well to surprises. As it was.. my feet just slipped into that quiet deliberate walk of the woodlands, taking in every sound and every smell. Watching the approach of wind through the trees, waiting for the first brush of it to arrive on your face. The occasional spatter of rain - and an utter obliviousness to it beyond quiet acceptance of that which is.
I'm not a hunter - but I see why those of you that are like it so much.
There is no mediation like the timeless, ever-aware yet ego-absent zen of the woods. I so need more of that.
What a sweet day. :)