Hibernation

I’ve rarely stopped long enough to reflect on this year as a whole, but I had that chance yesterday from the warmth of the panhandle in San Francisco… where this thing called 63mph started

I flipped through my photos and journals quickly, and one trend became incredibly distinct - the amount of content I created (photos & writing) drastically dropped off after October of ‘13.

People have asked me about this a lot lately, and the answer I’ve come up with is that it got really cold and really dark during the last 5 months. 

I was able to control some of the coldness and darkness in the van, but not most. I realized that “living in a van” really means “living outside.” I found myself wanting sleep at sundown (around 4:30-5PM), even when I had slept 12 hours the night before. If I was in a town, I would go to a bar and drink 3 beers as slowly as I could (warmth + light). If I was in the wild, I would build a fire and listen to an audiobook from my phone (warmth + light). I would do these things just to make it to a reasonable bedtime of 8PM. 

The cold dark nights and cold dark mornings made me lazy; they made me think less about working and more about living. 

I had been a steady 190 pounds since high school; I was 210 pounds during winter. Even with incredible activity, I couldn’t lose this weight. My body wanted rest and it was storing up… I had entered the realm of human hibernation. 

Because of this period, I have many stories and unpublished photos now to spend time with now. In honor of the land where my winter hibernation began, a place whose populations still hibernate, here are some photos from the Great Land of Alaska, one of the only lands where the rivers and the glaciers and the mountains collide directly with the sea. 

 What the Chugach mountain range looked like the day I left Alaska

What the Chugach mountain range looked like the day I left Alaska

 Bush pilot, Casey Long, pilots us to land in a glacier about an hour east of Wasilla, Alaska

Bush pilot, Casey Long, pilots us to land in a glacier about an hour east of Wasilla, Alaska

 Hunters' bounty seen along the Denali highway, an area dense in wildlife

Hunters' bounty seen along the Denali highway, an area dense in wildlife

 Climbing in and out of a moulin on the Mendenhall glacier, just outside of Juneau, Alaska 

Climbing in and out of a moulin on the Mendenhall glacier, just outside of Juneau, Alaska 

 The low-flying glacier view from a bush flight in Alaska.

The low-flying glacier view from a bush flight in Alaska.

 A discarded rack of antlers along the Teklanika River in Denali National Park.

A discarded rack of antlers along the Teklanika River in Denali National Park.

 My friend Kern and I paddling around Juneau looking for bald eagles.

My friend Kern and I paddling around Juneau looking for bald eagles.

 The Alaska Pipeline goes on for 800 miles.

The Alaska Pipeline goes on for 800 miles.

 Grizzly bear tracks in Denali National Park, Teklanika River Valley

Grizzly bear tracks in Denali National Park, Teklanika River Valley