Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Alone & Anxiously Awaiting Jake's Return to Carmacks: Day 18 of the Yukon River Trip

...continued from "A Worst-Case Scenario in Carmacks:  Day 18 of the Yukon River Trip"

Once my talkative, curious visitor and her two mysterious men in the magically appearing truck vanished--CUT!  Yeah, that's not really how I saw the whole situation.  "Talkative" and "Curious" and "Mysterious" are quite honestly lip service at best.  The Truth:  These three were up to no good--period.  
So, let me start again:  Once the ill-intentioned, pushy girl and her two creepy accomplices in the eerily stealthy truck slithered away after their failed mission (much better), I welcomed relief, regained focus, and once again engaged myself in the monstrous goal of organizing the Sundowner and all her contents, which had sustained us for nearly three weeks on our 202-mile Yukon River Trip.
Clothes & toiletries, uneaten food & kitchen essentials, fishing poles & tackle, knives & tools, sleeping pads & bags, towels & tarps, maps & cameras, dry suits & waders, rain gear & extra boots, books & writing necessities, and survival gear along with a wench all had to be prepped to be logically packed into our vehicle upon Jake's return to Carmacks.
I wanted all the boxes, trunks, bags, crates, & many, many piles of gear to be prudently laid out, ready to load up before Jake's return for two reasons:  1.)  I yearned for a near-perfect organization system because we would be spending the next 7-8 days riding in & living out of our Expedition, and 2.)  I wanted Jake to return to a job well done and appreciate (& maybe even be happy) that I stayed behind in Carmacks while he retrieved our truck & the Sundowner's trailer from Whitehorse.

Each glance at the clock showed advancing numbers that represented the growing time that separated Jake & I for the first time since our June 25 departure date over three weeks ago.  For 24 days Jake was virtually an arm's reach away from me; rarely was he out of my sight, except the handful of times one of us would wander a couple of streets away for a food run in one of the few towns where we grabbed a bed to alleviate the laborious task of hauling the Sundowner 3300 miles from Indiana to the Yukon River. 

Enough time had not passed to merit serious worry, but the sudden separation left me feeling strangely incomplete, allowing anxiety to fill the newly vacant space Jake's absence created.  The once seemingly impossible chore of prepping all of our gear for the arrival of Jake & the Expedition proved to be a blessing with the distraction it offered.  
Once Jake's earliest possible estimated arrival time had passed, my mind would frequently steal away & wonder--or worry, rather--how Jake's chore was playing out:  I wonder if he has made it back to Whitehorse yet....  Will our 12-year-old truck start after sitting so long?  What if the Expedition has been stolen?  Or it breaks down--or worse--wrecks on the lonesome & treacherous road between Whitehorse & Carmacks?  What will I do if he's not back before the town sleeps and foragers lurk & scheme in the nearby shadowy foliage?  Just about the time Worst-Case-Scenario-Girl was ready to permanently stake herself a tent in the land of anxiety, Sanity would intervene and chase the worry back into my subconscious where it festered before surfacing again.
The Gravel Road I Routinely Scanned in Anticipation of Jake's Return 

As the afternoon matured, I debated on transferring the contents of the Sundowner onto the bank in hopes of shortening our load time once Jake returned.  I knew this was a gamble; if the culprits with the duplicitous dealings from earlier returned, I may not manage as well in a second strike.  On the other hand, if I cut our work in half, Jake & I could make an earlier departure for our 112-mile drive to Whitehorse.  (Google Maps estimated the travel time as 2 hours and 17 minutes; however, during our 6-and-a-half-day drive to the Yukon, nearly doubling those estimates better matched the pace our Expedition chose while hauling the Sundowner.)  

Time or safety: that was the question.  I resolved to chance it & unload the aggregation of paraphernalia from the Sundowner onto the bank of the Yukon River.  Any time that I could cut to accelerate our departure meant that much less time between me and a shower & clean bed.  So, I sorted & shuffled our gear into a mock-up of our packed Expedition, following the blueprint my mind drew during earlier hours of my scrupulous packing.
The New Holding Plot for Our Gear    

At last, while grabbing another load from the bow of the Sundowner, I turned & beheld our trusty Expedition with trailer in tow heading my way.  Pure joy saturated me when I caught my first glimpse of Jake's handsome face through the windshield camouflaged by the reflection of the surrounding trees.  

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