I miss the Alaska blues. The glacier, river, sky and campfire smoke blues. I want the indigos, the navies, the azures, and the ceruleans. I miss big skies and blue-gray waters eon-slow as they move glaciers and mountains across vast landscapes. I want a land big and wild enough for wide-roaming grizzly clans. I wish for vistas so enormous and sharp-lined that they look like painted-on movie backdrops. I miss seeing Alaska from the river, rafting through its untamed, roadless canyons.
Bundled in an old black down jacket and cozy wool hat, I looked up from my mug of too-hot-to-drink lemon tea to watch the sun’s reds and oranges fade to blue. It was one of those sunsets I wished would go more slowly. I considered fetching my camera to record the sight. But I didn’t have the heart to miss the show. So I just sat and watched gratefully. Slowly curling smoke from the early evening’s small campfire mingled with the far-off mountains’ changing-to-blue tones.
The building-sized glaciers had a curious blue, opaque, unknown- depth, like fortune telling crystal balls.
The cobalt ice and snow had a pureness that was unfettered by city-common traffic smoke and street grime. There were no errant cigarette butts or soda can trash. There were bald eagles.
The sapphire river we rafted was so cold it induced ice cream headaches if stared at too long.
Bitter and sweet, bright and cool, the crispness of the air tasted like dark chocolate.
Being the Southwest desert rat that I am, rafting through Alaska’s backcountry was like walking on the moon. Pictures don’t do the moon justice.
Alaska is a place of expansive possibility and insight-spurning grandiosity. I’ve been there a few times, and it always hurts a little to leave. The colors stay with me as I plan for my next river trip in Alaska. I know it won’t be very long until I see those blues again.