Last Monday, my friends Ian and Claire joined me on a mellow meander through the forest, out Fish Creek on North Douglas. Last time I did this was back in high school. I have a memory of shallow water rushing over my feet. It was one of the first times I wore XtraTufs. I had been protesting them because they are so ugly. I have conformed now.
We met downtown. I locked my keys in the car — not a good start. We carpooled to Fish Creek Park. Not realizing there was an actual trail from the parking lot, we bushwhacked over to the water. A few minutes after reaching the creek, Ian tried to cross a fallen log and dropped his water bottle. There it was, bobbing in the water. I jumped in after it, topping off my boots in the first half hour. Yay. (It actually felt pretty nice because my feet were getting too hot.) It was then that I realized that I had left both of my main and backup camera memory cards at home. The photos for this column were taken with my iPhone. I wonder if you can tell a difference.
It was partly sunny. I am a big fan of not obeying the suggested outdoor gear. Cotton hoodie and cotton pants, and here we are. We could have stuck with the trail and traveled a bunch of miles but instead we played around in the cool, clean water and climbed everything in sight. My mom says that I have always loved to climb. Once when I was about 5, I ascended to the top of a jungle gym at a local park. When I reached the top, I shouted, “Mom catch me,” and proceeded to jump. She did and we both fell to the bark. She asked me to never do that again. I didn’t notice the fear in her face then. But I didn’t stop. I still climb everything I can, whenever I can. “Second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning.”
We were out for about four or five hours. The farther up river, the more mosquitos there were. By the time we turned around there were so many it was uncomfortable to be out. There seems to be more of them this summer. I heard that eating bananas attracts mosquitoes to you. Is that true?
The only snacks I brought were some leftover bars from the Juneau Icefield Traverse trip. Is it weird that these bars expire but don’t go stale? I keep forgetting to stop by Breeze In. My doughnut hole game has been so low for the past few months I should probably switch my obsession. Anyone have any suggestions? I’ve already gone through too many bags of Costco chocolate covered coconut almonds. And I’m not terribly fond of real food.
I’ve been living and adventuring in Alaska for a decade now. When you travel to other places, isn’t it crazy how much better Juneau air smells? Speaking of smells …. skunk cabbage is gross. It stinks and it is literally everywhere.
• California-born Alaska-bred, Gabe Donohoe has taken photos daily for the past five years. He is currently a student of the University of Alaska Southeast’s Outdoor Studies program. His photo archives can be seen on www.gabedonohoe.com.