Alaskan Wanderer

September 29, 2012
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Anna Shepard
Alaskan Wanderer
Geez that day was long. It had been another day of what seemed to be wondering through the Alaskan tundra. Though it may have seemed that we were hobbling aimlessly, over rolling hills I have never walked with such purpose.
I had a destination.
That was my favorite part of my Alaskan Journey, a clean, concrete destination. Better yet Alaska gave me an additional gift: At the end of the day , when everyone was relaxing and joking and deciding to play a game of trek-pole-baseball—which later proved to be a very dangerous sport—a couple of my friends and I decided to continue our hike up a mountain cradling our camp site. You might ask—oh, and people sure did—why would you choose to torture your emaciated feet; why would you want to rip your muscles binding your legs, that already feel as loose as spaghetti; why would you volunteer your ankles to twist and turn, straining to balance your bruised, potato-sack body on the sloping mountain side; why would you willingly push yourself up another hill? Well, just wait till you saw the view. All your questions would fall away like pebbles on the face of the mountain.
The gift was, not only could I see my destination below my feet, at the bottom of a sunset the colors of a parrot, rested the place where we started our hike. I could picture the amount of work that I crammed into those eight long miles.
A river tactfully carved itself a path through the mountains decorated with snow and trees. The mountains scraped the sky, but didn’t strain or stretch to touch the clouds. I hiked to get right here: My destination.
Looking across those Alaskan mountains, the awesome, but humble, beauty of nature, a tidal wave of happiness fell on me, leaving me dripping with the happiness of just being somewhere I was supposed to be. Back home or at school, I am always chasing the weekend, but trying to escape a deadline; yearning for one thing, but trying to lose another; trying to get as much sleep as possible, but pushing myself just to write last paragraph, no, just one more math problem, last two new Spanish words, I swear. Why do I have to be running and hiding from a destination at the same time? I was finally exactly in the right place at the right time. Not running or hiding. I may not have been at my final destination, which was out of the tundra, but I was delicately perched between beginning and end. That really is the perfect destination.

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