Denali - The Inner Journey (Day 4)
Denali National Park
September 8th 2017
Today, I walked a lot among rocky hills, on rocks along rivers, on rocks up and on rocks down. I walked and walked, all day long, on rocks, other rocks and then, more rocks. I set camp in the middle of rocks because I was unable to find a non-rocky spot. I must be about 3 miles away from my objective now. The Anderson Pass (Unit 18). I am considering leaving all my equipment in the tent and climbing to the pass as light as possible. I'm really worn out. These rocks are breaking my spirit down to pieces. The fact that I must come back the same way makes my plan of caching everything inside the tent possible. My backcountry permit doesn't allow me to keep going on the other side of the Alaska Range and, instead, provides that I must spend a couple more nights in rocky Unit 18 before packing up and starting to backtrack to Mt Eielson Visitors Center where I will find a shuttle which will take me back to civilization. To make the return trip from the base of the Anderson Pass, it should take me a whole day of sustained walking.
The mere idea of having to return by the same way truly disheartens me. It sabotages the pleasure of exploration. For this reason, I usually avoid it like the plague. But this time I will have no choice. I had been forced to choose my path on the first day I arrived into the park based solely on the observations I could make on a giant map fixed against the wall of the ranger station. I was clueless about the new land I had come to explore so I clumsily designed a route that seemed possible with the equipment and the food I had brought with me. Before starting this expedition, I didn't know what I was capable. Now, I know that I could survive much longer out there. Of course, the repetitive bother of continuously stepping on stony uneven ground allied with the routine of eating the same dehydrated food – pasta or rice? – as well as the resonating emptiness of the place, make this 7-day exploration a mentally though one.
My left knee hurts. It's a new pain, probably caused by the moonlike terrain I have to progress into. To reach the Anderson Pass, I have to climb about 3'000 feet. I am walking in what seems to be the land of rocks. Black rocks pile up like infinite hills painting a chaotic landscape until the horizon. I haven't seen bears for a long time. Maybe they share my dislike of the land of the rocks. I saw white four-legged creatures on the hills in the distance but I couldn't tell what they were (wolfes? polar bears? wait no... not polar bears). My fuji camera has no battery anymore. Fortunately, I can charge my phone with my solar charger.
I'm just so tired of these rocks... I'm getting closer to the snow... The view is breathtaking...