A journalist observes life in the far north.
The roadhouse’s namesake is a settlement of 857 people at the confluence of the Talkeetna and Susitna rivers about 100 miles north of Anchorage.
It’s quiet. The climbing season has just started. Bands of locals are hanging out in the village park, drinking cans of Foster’s purchased across the street at the West Rib Liquor store. Only a few cafes and a used book store are open. At the National Park Service headquarters, a dry erase board said there are 111 climbers on the mountain. More than 1,000 are expected by the end of the season in July.
Alec is feeling ill with some random bug but soldiering on. The Texas mountaineer is popping herbal tablets. I tempted fate by eating the leftover portion of Al’s hamburger at dinner, where I downed two beers. Alec turned in early and I went for a walk, first down to the river and then to the cemetery where I paid my respects to fallen climbers of the past.
People are always asking me why I go along with Alec’s mountaineering hobby, which is dangerous and expensive. It’s because love, to me, means encouraging your partner to follow their dreams.