I felt like walking the streets shouting, “Don't you know you are in ALASKA?” I wanted to quiz every local on what it must be like and inquire as to how they got here. I wanted to peer into their soul and determine what each of their constitutions must be.
But in Alaska, the thing I noticed most that surprised me, was how un-abstract Alaska is when you are here. In fact, Alaska couldn’t be more concrete. Alaska is so raw and challenging, that it feels completely real to be here. Daily thoughts are spent in the basics of life: what it the weather, what gear will I need, what precautions must I take for my challenge today? Concepts that are simple and unpolluted. Instead of spending the day in higher level thinking, you are consumed with simple daily decision making and obstacles that focuses your mind on the task at hand.
While those in the lower 48 can pine for the challenge and consume thoughts with dreams and visions, people in Alaska seem to be doing the opposite. Time is spend on tasks of living. It is the reason I have loved backpacking from the start. All the stress and worry of work life is stripped away when your main focus is the physical pursuit and small decisions of food, water, and shelter.
Alaskans seemed to focus on the next activity. The homes were small, the basic bare bones of necessity. But the passions, hobbies, and interests- things like gear and tools of the hobbies were of the highest quality. Minds seemed focused on the out of doors. Community to community we entered all had the same basic culture: work hard to play hard. Everyone’s idea of play necessitates an outdoor pursuit. There is no where in the lower 48 that feels as if everyone in the community has the same thing on their mind. There is an agreed upon unity here, an unspoken unity in nature and the rugged outdoor lifestyle.
I think I’ve found my people.