Mollyisms and whatever else is bouncing around the room...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tundra Jumping

'We’re almost there,' my guide told me, but I didn’t know where there was. The fireweed only told me there was 5 weeks left in the summer.

It all just looked like tundra as far as I was concerned. Spongy, absorbant, Summertime tundra that makes for a soft landing. I couldn’t wait to get to the cabin at 8 mile lake after what must have been miles of hiking.

Stampede Road only continued so far before it became Stampede Trail, just east of Denali National Park.

Stampede Trail seemed to continue forever until I saw the cabin. We took a 4-wheeler part of the way out, then hiked.

I brought my flask and had nearly finished it before I knew the Irish Whiskey was having it’s way with me. That was when I toppled over like a domino on my right side. I don't think I tripped on anything but my own inebriation.

We eventually entered the cabin, and as a native of the busy Mid-Atlantic region, this experience was new to me. After lighting the fire and warming up, we headed to upstairs to the loft. Once we took a look around, I was confused by the doorways on either side of the second floor. On the side of the cabin, the side facing 8 Mile Lake, there was a balcony, and sometimes Denali would come out on a clear days, rising over the lake with a distant, but distinct alpen glow.

On the other side of the cabin, facing the trail, the doorway had no balcony attached. I wondered if they were going to add another balcony but money or weather had thus far prevented the addition.

I asked my traveling companion what the deal was and he replied "Oh, that’s for tundra jumping.”

He was standing on the side of the loft facing 8 Mile Lake and took off his cumbersome backpack and before taking his mark.

"What the hell is that?" I asked.

As the words were coming out of my mouth, he took off and ran across the loft and through the open door, launching himself into a pike and landing, ass-first into the squishy melted permafrost.

"That," he said, with a hearty laugh and a swig from his flask, "is Tundra Jumping."