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August 22, 2022: Day # 5, Challenges Beget Challenges

Sarah Welton, who is the pastor of the Church of the Covenant, said that what makes life worth living is challenges. Otherwise (and I agreed), life is not worth living. Well then, I am living life to the fullest.

Yesterday afternoon we lost time when we turned onto Route Two rather than Route Five. Route Two leads to Delta Junction and Fairbanks, and Route Two leads to the Dempster Highway. I would have been fine, going to Fairbanks – we could have stayed with friends, and I could have checked out the literacy center. But no, I agreed with Becky, we do want to go hiking in the Tombstone Range.

Finally, we turned onto the Taylor Highway and stopped in Chicken. Chicken is a tourist town, with all kinds of chicken trinkets in the gift shop, and chicken paraphernalia. There are 21 residents there in the summer, and supposedly, none in the winter. I can imagine that with heavy snowfall, that getting in and out of there in the winter would be near impossible. I suppose if any of them decided to stay, that they could stock up on canned chicken soup. I asked and was told that someone there used to have chickens, but that they no longer have them. This could be a major draw.

And why don’t they call the place Ptarmigan and have information about these more wild fowl? They are interesting birds, their plumage is dark in the summer, and white in the winter.

Beautiful views of the mountains on the Top of the World Highway. Then we turned the Dempster Highway. And so yesterday was spent driving, the point of origin ending up being a gravel pit. It was close to the road, but brush obscured our view as well as that of those vehicles travelling up and down the Dempster Highway.

The gravel pit site that we wanted was taken by an RV, so we pulled into the gravel pit site across the road. We hoped that the occupants of the RV would leave, but no, they liked the site by the creek.

As we ate dinner (I ate packaged noodles that I picked up in Tok), we watched other campers pull into the choice gravel pit area.

Our destination is the Tombstone Provincial Park, where we are planning on going on a four day backpacking trek. I am fretting about this – the one day, Kluane Lake Bullion hike was strenuous; had I been carrying my pack with the heavy bear cannister, I would have been moving at a snail’s pace, and most likely slowed Becky down. Becky is fit, fast, and agile. I’m unfit, slow, and cumbersome. I didn’t used to be this way. Time has taken its toll, and I’ve paid the price.

But I will do the proposed hike because I don’t want to appear to be unfit to my hiking partner and friend. My ego is still very large.

I’d be quite happy day hiking because I don’t like the idea of being encumbered by my pack and heavy gear. I will do what I can do, and after I’ll say to myself that I arose to the challenge.

Next: 230. 8/23/22, Day #6: No Permit? Take a Hike!

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