everything has an end…
and this one has come.
it has been one of the most amazing summers,
we'll certainly need a few days to settle into home
and the heat, as we return.
I'll see you all at the end of the week
with a very special something
a bit of alaska
just for you.
right now, please send your love
to my mama
who is looking at a quiet, empty raven's nest (the apartment).
you slipped into this world
strong and fierce
a head full of dark hair
the very color of my morning cup of black coffee
you have remained just so
wild and independent
full of such cosmic love
i'm still in awe
as i watch you on this journey
becoming your very own you
oh, sweet little bear
six trips around the sun already
how can this be
a happy, happy birthday to you
your very lucky mama
Joe & I hiked into a cabin, just the two of us. 4.5 miles up. When we arrived, we were so struck by the silence. I mean really, there are 6 of us most days. Six voices, bodies, and pairs of feet rumbling through the day. Making noise. A lot of noise. Up here there was just the guy + me. The only other sound was a far off water fall and occasional bird call. The weather was particularly cooperative and the clouds lifted to reveal the sun. It shined down casting its light over the mountains all around us. It was breathtaking. Restorative. The 24 hour trip felt like days of peace & quiet to my soul.
On the hike home the following morning we talked in hopes to keep the bears away. This hope was temporarily thwarted when we were met on the trail by a black bear as we came around a bend.
"Hello Mister Bear." Joe shouted.
I actually thought he was kidding. I couldn't see around him & his huge pack.
"How are you today Mister Bear?" he asked.
I looked up to see Joe standing so straight and tall he appeared a foot taller. Fifteen feet ahead of him on the trail a black bear was trying to get away from us, scrambling through tall bushes uphill. I think he was just as surprised (and concerned) to see us. It's been years since I've seen a bear on the trail and I stood there with my mouth hanging wide open.
"Aren't you going to take a picture?" Joe asked.
"Oh, yeah. I was too busy looking for a hiding place!" I told him.
I snapped one photo of the bear, far up the hill peeking out at us from the bushes. Joe talked to him and I watched him cautiously as we passed the trail underneath the bush he was hiding in. As soon as we were under he ran in the opposite direction, the bushes moving and shaking as he went.
We talked a little louder after that as we finished the hike to the trail head. There is certainly a sense of vulnerability and awe to encounter a bear when you are so deep in the woods. It was the perfect ending to our adventure.
One of the most amazing things about being in this part of the country is the hiking. The kids & I acumulated just over 35 miles of trail time in the last six weeks. One of our hikes in Sitka took us from sea level to 2550 feet. It was 2.5 miles of switchbacks and giant steps in a heavy mist to reach the top.
Mt. Verstovia is one of our favorite places in the world. On a clear day you can see for miles and miles. Only Joe & I climbed through the last bit of slippery snow to make it the top. We set the camera up on a rock and I ran over to sit with him to take the last picture. When we lived in Sitka, we hiked up this mountain when I was nearly 8 months pregnant with Luke. It was the last time I had been up there. By now you all know I am one sentimental mama…. and I couldn't help but remember sitting on this rock six years ago thinking of the babe I carried in my belly. I knew we would be leaving Sitka a few months later and I wondered if this new little person would someday climb this mountain on their own…..
…..and there we all were.
As we headed down, the kids were at least three times as fast as the grown ups. As is the usual for them. I still can't figure out how they bound down these mountains like they do!
Tomorrow I've got one last outdoor story for you before we head home…. it includes a bear!
I've got one foot firmly planted here in Cordova as we run around in a whirl of birthdays and festivals. Amazing food, celebrating, and dancing to live music. Last minute hugs and goodbyes to all I meet in these few days left here.
The other foot is in Sitka still… wishing we had spent just a few more days there. We had such a wonderful visit with so many people we love. It's been four years since our family returned to this place we once called home. The place where we welcomed our youngest sweet boy into our family. And though the years felt like such a long time, once we arrived it suddenly seemed as if no time had passed at all. The kids, who have known each other most of their lives, fell right back to where they'd left off. The adults the same. Laughing, playing music, and dancing. Hiking and fishing. And of course meals full of good times, good food, and good wine.
The older I get the more I hold dear these people I love. The ones whom I can share time with as if none has passed…. even if if years have gone by. These bonds are sacred and tucked gently into my heart. And while most of these pictures may seem like a random gathering of images to you…. they are bits of beautiful memories for me. Pieces of stories and people along this journey…. a little piece of our Sitka.
Hey, look who I found!
We had such a wonderful adventure in Sitka visiting friends…. and I'll be back here later in the week to share some photos of it. Right now me & the man have just filled our packs with cheese, hard boiled eggs, and a water bottle full of wine because we're hiking into a cabin tonight. Just us. This is absolutely our idea of a luxurious getaway!
I'll be in and out over the next few days. We've got so much going on in the coming week.
See you soon!
“Only from the heart, can you touch the sky.”