Perception of the Natural Environment - II

As I wrote, last week I came back from solo backpacking in Alaska. Backpacking for four nights put me in a new perspective on my life's rhythm as well as on the surrounding environment and, importantly, how I related to it.

Whoever goes tent-camping, hike-camping or backpacking realizes, on different levels, how little is needed to live and have a perfectly entertaining day. Especially for backpacking, you go down to the barely minimum.

Talking to people, I realized how many misinterpret barely minimum with nothing to do. And that's not true! First of all, I love the necessary tasks for camping, from setting camp up by pitching the tent, for example, wood gathering and chopping (I like this one especially), preparing meals and appropriately cleaning afterwards, to name a few. Second, they take time, they fill the day. Third, I still always have my journal, books with me, everywhere I go, and might still work out with a run or a swim. Fourth, I have a whole forest/mountain/beach to explore!

The important factor is that even simple camp chores put me in relation with the surrounding landscape. I need to know where I am in order to find my optimal tent spot. I need to asses what's around me in order to find wood -0 or food, if I'm fishing or hunting (I haven't done these so far). I need to observe the sky and how it changes to have a fair idea of the weather.

I relate with the environment with all my senses and I respect Nature in every aspect, enjoying how it changes and savoring every moment.

The entire Alaska is bear country. I haven't seen any, but that doesn't mean they are not around. I am particularly proud of my hanging of the food.

The entire Alaska is bear country. I haven't seen any, but that doesn't mean they are not around. I am particularly proud of my hanging of the food.

In My Mind - Solo Backpacking in Alaska's Resurrection Bay

I went backpacking by myself in Resurrection Bay, Seward, Alaska. On my way south from Anchorage I took the train. The ride is spectacular! And cheap (89$). The bus is cheaper (40$) but the scenery is nothing close (I took the bus on the way back). The train mostly rides away from towns and highways and the views are beautiful. I didn't see any animals but the landscape changes from untouched valleys, to lush green mountains, to deep gorges and calm bays. The rails are literally on the edge. Beautiful.

Resurrection Bay is easy to explore since water taxis can go virtually anywhere, or you can kayak or hike. Hiking is the most restrictive way, because there aren't many trails and the distances are big, but that's what I did.

Backpacking by myself was an experience I wanted to have for some time. I love being in my head and backpacking for four nights/four days game me plenty of time for it. For long periods of time I was just observing my surroundings. I have way more complicated thoughts on a normal day, but there, alone for hours, time was paced only by the rhythm of my walking. I let Nature filter through my senses. It's a delicate but filling sensation. The landscape is pristine, wild and majestic, but mostly silent.

In this order but in few days, I hiked from Seward to Tonsina to North Beach to Fort Gilvray to South Beach and back again. The longest hike was 11 miles between 7:45am to 3:30pm, with an hour break in the middle. I loved it! My 66 pounds backpack didn't feel heavy. Once I accepted the weight at the beginning of the trip, it bothered my shoulders for the pressure at the end of the day but my legs were totally fine. The view of the bay from Fort McGilvray, an abandoned WWII fort, was one of my favorites of this trip. I am not used to see WWII ruins outside of Europe. It was an interesting sight, almost out of place. It was also a great point for reflections and again absorbing my surroundings with the breeze, without thoughts or distractions.

This trip was fairly quick. I want to go back to travel around new areas. I want to backpack in Denali next time.

[photos of the trip to come soon!]


Kayaker in Resurrection Bay Seward Alaska USA