July 20th, 2013
I arrived to Hope Alaska a couple of days ago. I am finally by the ocean and I left behind the interior of Alaska. I can see a big difference already on the atmosphere and the culture. I think I had spent too much time in the mountains, in the deep valleys of central Alaska. I could feel a little bit of desperation from the surroundings, lots of businesses empty, closed or for sale. I can see how a little bump on the economy can affect so much areas of this country that hang precariously on the success of a very sort season.
I stayed at Hart D Ranch in the Nabesna Road for five days, inside the Wrangler Saint Elias National park. There I met the owner a nice lady on her seventies. She runs the campground all by herself as all her help had already passed. I could see the desperation on her eyes trying to get away from all that after spending a whole life living in Alaska. The business is for sale, everything was for sale, hoping to be able to move to Arizona and spend her last years working on her beautiful bronze sculptures. I saw a lot of that all around the interior. Now in the south central the energy has changed; a lot of younger, adventurous, happy, proud people.
The town of Hope is a little tiny coastal village with some old buildings but with a lot of positive energy. The Seaview Café and bar opens everyday of the week and there is live music almost every night. The locals gather there and tell their fishing stories while drinking an Alaskan brew; they seem so happy and friendly. I meet a young traveling musician’s couple that improvised a guitar and violin jam season one evening; they were from Fairbanks. I loved their passion and energy, I enjoyed them very much. We talked and shared our experiences and thoughts until very late that night. I so connect with people like that. I have not found that many people like this in campgrounds and rv parks.
One of the guys that frequents the bar is this tall rough looking, white haired, dirty shirt, dirty mouth guy who everybody seems to know and to like very much. I found out a few beers later that he is actually a lawyer from New York and that he runs a foundation that brings troubled kids from Brooklyn, New Jersey, New York area in general for the summer to Hope to experience a world they could never understand from a difficult life in the city. Funny, he brings troubled kids to Hope! I hope they find it.
It is a little difficult to have found yourself in the person you were fifteen years ago. I am no longer twenty five, I am in my early forties, but I feel the same as I was then. I feel so much closer to the young adventurer than to the corporate overachiever. I want to follow the path of freedom and creativity; I want to see how far I can go on this crazy adventure/journey I started more than two months ago.
Yesterday I walked to the ocean during low tide, and while listening to Jose Gonzalez I sit and wrote to Sue. It was a perfect moment. The seagulls showing off with their acrobatics, the seals popping their heads out of the water, and the wind brought me the smell of the salty water and cooled the powerful sun of the perfectly clean Alaska sky. It was perfect! And it made me so sad that I could not share that moment with her, it was so incomplete without her. But the frustration came with understanding, the acceptance of my life today and all it means. I cried but it felt good; the pain I felt connected me with her and it healed me inside. I cried out of frustration, happiness and hope all at the same time. I cried because I knew that moment was incomparable to any other moment, it was new moment, it was a new memory of my journey and the path to my new life. It reinforced the fact that a new stage of my life had started, on my own, passed her memories, new ones in place.
That evening I went back to the ocean; it was quiet, no wind; the mist was coming back to the bay from the ocean. Only the seagulls were there with me, and suddenly out of nowhere a large bald eagle crashed into the ocean and picked a large fish out of the water. It flew only a few feet above my head and flew back into the woods. There was nobody around me to share; there is nobody who witnessed the same amazing moment, only her.
Tomorrow I drive to Seward Alaska where I meet the group I will be doing sea kayaking with for a week. I can't wait.
Carlos out from Hope Alaska.