Thursday, November 15, 2007

Picking Up My Car

(I am adding this picture of the canyon quite a few months later. The picture of the house across it is the neighbor with the gun, who took me up to Steve's place.) Steve, our car mechanic, lives across the canyon. His house is right there, not more than a few hundred yards away. When he called me this morning and said the car was ready to be picked up I flippantly said, "I'll throw on my snowshoes and be right over." I hadn't believed our landlord when she said our Steve lived "across the canyon." I thought she was exaggerating. Well, I discovered that a canyon it was, and I got quite a workout snowshoing across it. A few minutes turned into quite a few minutes later!
As I said, I put on my snowshoes and headed west towards one of the two houses that can be seen from our house. I had picked through the alder bushes this summer looking for leaves to compost, so I'd been that way. Just past the alder bushes, though, I came to the edge of "the canyon". I was startled. I wouldn't say it is more than 50 feet deep, maybe 100 at the most (hard to tell with all that snow). The sides were steep and bush-covered. I didn't like the alternative (walking up to East End Road and crossing where the canyon begins), so I plunged on. The snow was so deep that the bushes were bent over double so I was (mostly) able to walk right over the tops of the bushes. Cool! I thought. A small stream ran through the bottom, but I was able to step over that and then clamber back onto the tops of the bushes. Going up the other side was a little trickier. Luckily there were small trees I could use to pull myself up. When I got to the top there was a big mound of snow from the plows. I could hear a dog barking madly on the other side. I peered over the edge and saw my neighbor staring at me in amazement. She was outside trying to figure out what her dog was barking so furiously at. She'd been expecting a moose, patting her back where she had her pistol, and telling me about a mad moose that wandered into her yard three years ago. I wasn't a moose, and nor was I at the right house. She invited me in for tea, but I declined since I didn't want my mechanic worried, wondering where I was. She walked me up to Steve's, and when she told him I'd walked across the canyon he stared at me in astonishment. I think I am going to provide these native Alaskans with an entertaining story. And I have a lot more respect for canyons now!

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