A walk down the Chatanika…
Seeing the site, I understood the attraction. Covered in towering spruce, the tall cut bank would be a beautiful place to build a cabin. No cell service. No television. No internet. For some, a nightmare scenario. But for a few, it would be pure heaven.
It was less than two hours drive from Fairbanks, but standing ankle deep in the cold, clear water of the Chatanika River we could have been hundreds of miles from home. The only noise present was the sound of the water rushing over the rocks at my feet. “Wonder what’s around that next bend?” he asked as he made his way to the opposite bank. “Let’s find out” I answered… again and again.
The breeze blowing through the valley did precious little to offset the 85 degree weather. I hitched the backpack up a little and silently cursed for bringing 20 pounds of camera gear. Did I really need all this? Maybe yes. Maybe no. Besides, two miles from the truck wasn’t the time to be having that conversation with myself. When a new trickle of sweat made its way from the top of my head to the jumping off point at the end of my nose, I decided crossing to the opposite bank wasn’t all that important. The middle of the river was perfectly acceptable place to be.
We spent the better part of the afternoon walking the river. Each bend offering the same treasure. Beautiful unspoiled vistas, fresh air to fill our lungs & the camaraderie of an old friend. Ultimately I don’t think the parcel will fit his future plans, but I can hardly think of a better way to spend an afternoon.