Chapter Six: The fire
“I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don't know what is.’” - Kurt Vonnegut
The morning came to head back. Back to loved ones, back to showers and back to the Thai cart which waited on the drive to Anchorage. We broke camp, organized gear and waited for Paul to roar over the horizon. Even in the flat light, he was prompt. And precise.
As the plane lifted off the snow, we banked hard south. We were treated to an aerial view of the small mark we made on the landscape. We flew past Where’s Jerome, over Zi Steeps and past Gulo Col. The light glimmered off Hanging Glacier and I smiled at our empty camp. Nothing remained.
I scratched my head and peeled another mixed layer of sunscreen and sweat from my scalp. We flew over the westerly ridge. I realized our home here in the Wrangells was five small unnamed peaks in an expanse of massive unnamed peaks. An incredible, never-ending area we barely touched. Adjacent to this area was another and next to that, another. An endless sea of mountains with infinite possibilities.
Paul crackled on the plane’s radio and told another bush legend.
We had just flown over a mine he knew. He told us of it’s 15 minutes of gold rush fame. After the fame faded, his dad flew hobby miners in and out of a tundra landing strip for trade of the copper wiring.
I thought to myself about the prospect of going back to my desk. About email and slack messages.
We banked hard and Paul dropped the nose. We hit the dirt gracefully and in moments we were unpacked and driving. After a drive but in a blink, we were back in Anchorage at a much larger, louder airport.
I felt worlds colliding as I approached the ticket counter. I live in a big city but I come alive when I leave. The sweat from the week was still crusty in my hair and the blood still dried under layers of bandages.
I carry the Wranglles wherever I go.
I was hardened by the sharp peaks, refined by the rolling glaciers and inspired by the iridescent ice. I keep a small fire burning behind my eyes. A fire that burns with the search for the unknown. A fire fueled by the part of me left untamed - the part left wild. Like the Wranglles.
The Wrangells are inexplicably wild.
// The Fire.
// Volume 01 | The Wranglles
Thank you for being here.
Thank you for taking the time to read this piece. The Wranglles is Volume 01 of a collection called Yet Untamed. Yet Untamed is a long form expository content project celebrating truly wild places and those who spend time there. We liken it to sharing a four or five beers with a friend who just came back from an incredible trip. That's when the good stories come to light. Volume 02 is in the works and we look forward to sharing it. Have a wild story worth sharing? We would love to collaborate and are currently planning subsequent volumes. Drop us a line.
Miss earlier chapters? It’s best from the beginning.
Chapter One: The Otter
Somewhere in all of us, there remains an evolutionary precursor. An area yet untamed. It seeps out in strange ways in our everyday lives. It’s so subtle, some people miss it. It’s the fit of laughter you can’t control or the feeling weightlessness biking home from the bar on summer night. It’s your hair in the morning after a night ruled by your dreams. It’s inexplicably wild. Alaska calls it’s kindred beasts to the blank parts of the map.