This last post on Sam McGee is Dead ideally should be something similar to the last chapter of Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire in which, after months spent brooding by himself over a desolate forbidding landscape, he unapologetically explains that he now wants to walk manicured city streets illuminated at nighttime by Christmas lights in store windows with countless strangers passing by on every side.
Don't let the title of this post fool you. I still reserve the right to post again on this blog, and I do want to come back and visit Coldfoot again someday, maybe even soon. The trouble is, I hate summing things up. I'm not someone who hates goodbyes, but some of you may have noticed that I have a talent for making them disappointing and unspectacular most of the time.
One question I got asked many times by people taking my tours was Why did you come up here? I still don't have a concise answer for that. The remoteness was appealing. I also wanted to get out of a rut I felt developing in Utah. Coldfoot gave me a generous offer. It's Alaska. It adds to my mystique and credentials. Those are just some of the reasons I had.
I will say this though. About two or three weeks ago as I was waiting for some one of my last tour groups to finish looking in the Wiseman museum, I stood on the bank of the Koyukuk River, which flowed at a small fraction of what we used to raft on. I was cold and the sun had set much earlier than I have grown accustomed to. The water slid along lazily in the dim light like it was dying, and without being sad, I felt like I could relate. I cried. It wasn't sad at all. It seemed as ordinary as if it were a yawn. The tears just sort fell out without any effort or resistance, and I was glad.