By Laura D’Ambrosio
The heavens opened with a gift that sent almost all of us on the Kenai roads off the road. “Rainbow!” I yelped to Keesha and swerved off to the side of the road. “Wow. A full, double rainbow! Two of them!” Every car on the road stopped to gape open-jawed at the beauty before us. “You can almost see the pot of gold,” one guy said. What a gift from Mother Earth on the road to Seward.
In Seward, the campgrounds were all full which was just as well. Seward’s city campgrounds are bumper-to-bumper RVs and nylon-to-nylon tents. I prefer more space. And I was crabby as backtracked to a Forest Service campground I’d seen as I drove in to Seward.
While I was getting gas (which you do at almost every gas station because you never know), I talked with the grey bearded big guy behind the counter. He thumbed toward a beat up pick-up truck camper and said, “I’ve been on the road for seventeen years in that. Just drive up Exit Glacier Road. You’ll find a spot. Forest Service land has lots of turn outs to camp in.” “Thanks,” I told him. He added, “Hey, camp at the first turn out before the campground. You can live in those privies they’re so clean!”
He was right. There were many turn outs but I drove the eight miles up to the campground anyhow. It was full. So I pulled into the first turn out before the campground as the guy suggested and joined three RVs and an SUV on the concrete. I don’t quite agree that one could live in the outhouse, but it was clean.
Before I left Homer, I’d rearranged the stuff in my car so I could sleep in the back if I wanted to or couldn’t set up a tent easily. This turn out spot was my test. All I had to do was pull some stuff from the back and load it onto the front seats then place the sleeping pad down, roll out the sleeping bag and crawl in.
It all worked just fine except the crawl in part. I had to be a contortionist to get in the side door all hunched over and thread my way into my sleeping bag. Once in, I fell fast asleep with Keesha’s slow breathing softly lulling me into my dreams.
The next morning I woke to steamed-up windows and fog covered mountains. I pried myself out of the sleeping bag and uncurled to stand on the blacktop. One by one, the RVs left. Soon only Keesha and I were left to watch the sun’s fingers caress the fog off the face of the glacier, brushing the white face with gold.
I perched on the curb, hot tea in hand and laughed. Here I was sitting on a concrete curb, cooking my breakfast on blacktop, after sleeping in my car and I couldn’t be happier!
My heart danced with the sun, holding hands with the glacier and I burst with a feeling a freedom. “I am free,” I shouted to the glacier. “I am free,” I called to the raven. “I am free,” I grinned at Keesha who grinned back and said in her special canine language, “Yes you are!”