Travels with Annie and Elmo

Travel should be a journey where the destination is just another part of the Journey.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Elmo's log #7

Elmo and Tim
Sunset from the deck in Anchorage, around 10:45 P.M.
The highway to the house above Turnagain Arm

Elmo’s Log # 7

May 31, 2006

Posting Note: The posting of Elmo’s Log #7 was delayed due to computer connection issues. Hopefully that has been resolved.

Once again, we broke camp this morning in the rain, but with much less annoyance; for tonight we would sleep in a bed in a warm house in Anchorage. I think that both Annie and I are ready for a short break from camping.

The Drive from Tok to Anchorage along Alaska Highway 1 may be the most beautiful of the entire trip. I know that the Wrangle Mountains were just to the east of our route and that we passed close by both the Nelchina Glacier and the Matanuska Glacier. Unfortunately we missed much of that beauty because of clouds snuggled in valleys and marching down mountain sides. Fortunately, the part of the trip from Glennallen to Anchorage we have traveled before when the weather was more suited to expansive vistas.

What we did see had beauty of its own, clouds breaking momentarily to reveal craggy peaks and massive glaciers, cloud tatters swirling up the side of an overhanging cliff, the Matanuska River roaring, spewing, and foaming beside the road snaking around the mountains, lake surface mingling with cloud surface, and waterfalls materializing out of hanging clouds. Our route today would have been a great set for one of the Lord of the Rings movies.

Then Anchorage appeared hugging the shore of Cook Inlet and Turnagain Arm. Across the Inlet a string of volcanoes, like ghosts, hung on the horizon. The end of the first leg of our journey.


At 8:38 PM, Blogger sharon said...

Dear Travelling Trio,
I've read every word and many have impressed me for their diction, syntax, and rhetoric. You narrate well, Tim. Keep listening to Elmo. As I don't think Elmo is much of a reader, I thought I'd share the beginning from a short story of Annie Proulx. It comes from a collection that also contains Brokeback Mountain. I took the collection on a trip to the Weminuche, and read this story just before we climbed out of Bear Town and saw the hanging lake of El Dorado (accessible by the Elk Creek Trail Head). In the most uncanny way, the prose described what we felt as we looked down at the lake, and in an even weirder way, it convinced one of my non-literate packer friends to buy the collection. Here 'tis:
From “The People in Hell Just Want a Drink of Water” in Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx

You stand there, braced. Cloud shadows race over the buff rock stacks as a projected film, casting a queasy, mottled ground rash. The air hisses and it is no local breeze but the great harsh sweep of wind from the turning of the earth. The wild country—indigo jags of mountain, grassy plain everlasting, tumbled stones like fallen cities, the flaring roll of sky—provokes a spiritual shudder. It is like a deep note that cannot be heard but is felt. It is like a claw in the gut.
Dangerous and indifferent ground: against its fixed mass the tragedies of people count for nothing although the signs of misadventure are everywhere. No past slaughter nor cruelty, no accident nor murder that occurs on the little ranches or at the isolate crossroads with their bare populations of three or seventeen, or in the reckless trailer courts of mining towns delays the flood of morning light. Fences, cattle, road, refineries, mines, gravel pits, traffic lights, graffiti’d celebrations of athletic victory on bridge overpass, crust of blood on the Wal-Mart loading dock, the sun-faded wreaths of plastic flowers marking death on the highway are ephemeral. Other cultures have camped here a while and disappeared. Only earth and sky matter. Only the endlessly repeated flood of morning light. You begin to see that God does not owe us much beyond that.

We swelter here and miss you guys with every drop.
Sharon K.


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