Note to 2013 Alaska Trek Participants

Peter, Alec, Malcolm, and James:

Hopefully your adventure trekking has continued straight through the summer and this letter finds you both well and engaged with something extraordinary. From what I know of some individual plans, I gather none of you has let the moss grow since we returned from Alaska.

I wanted to take a moment here to once again commend you for contributing to such a successful Alaska trek. In an era geared for ease and convenience, not many people are even willing to put forth the effort to discover such a place as Solo Lake. But then they also will never experience the physical sensations that accompany viewing a mother grizzly and cubs romping along a creek bed or staring down a particularly bold lone caribou. I hope you all take away not only an appreciation for the dwindling wild spaces yet remaining in this country, but also a sense of pride in your own accomplishments in Alaska. The weather, of course, added an unexpected challenge this year, but everyone really stepped up and took it all in stride.

So in appreciation, I am putting together a bound trek-log with photos and a brief write-up of the trip. I would, of course, like to include other perspectives than my own, so I welcome any submissions, photographic and/or literary. I know some of you kept up with your journal entries; some of them might be particularly valuable additions to such a book if you are willing to share. Please send along anything you’d like to share – there are things I tend to forget. Also, if you haven’t found it already, a Flickr site under ‘awocalaska.com’ is up and available if you wish to see photos from the trek: http://www.flickr.com/photos/awocalaska/sets/  You are more than welcome to download or print anything you find there, and if you wish to share your own photos with the group I can get you a pass to upload your sets.

I recently heard a report that neuroscientists have established a substantive link between walking in nature and your brain’s ability to focus upon and retain information. We simply need exposure to nature for optimal cognitive development. I wish you all the best for the coming academic year and hope you remember to take a walk in the wild every now and then, if only to jump start your brain a little.

Discover something greater… (Meatloaf doesn’t count, except perhaps for James)

R.M. Shurmer

PS – If you still have any equipment of mine (bear canister, tent, etc), you may drop it off at STA at any time. Simply leave it outside my office door if I happen to be away.

PPS – A dogsledding trek to Canada over New Years is in the works if any of you wish to try handling six Roscoes on the end of a line in the snow.

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