Meeting people had become very hard to do. My only friend at this point was JoJo at the Thai restaurant. With no reliable way of getting to town and never interacting with other companies, friends were hard to come by. That was, until one fateful day. I had long been using the internet to netwerk and meet people in the area with so much failure you wouldn’t believe. All that changed one day when I met a girl on the internet and we quickly got to talking. It was easy to talk and before we knew it, we were messenging all the time and talking about any and everything.
After a week of asking, she agreed to meet me in the park. You see she lived at the other side, 92 miles away, an Alaskan local relationship. We had worked out the details of camping and settled on a very minimalist set up. We’d share as much as possible to keep our weights down. She would bring the tent and I would bring the food and stove. Checking the bus schedules, we both would set out after work and meet in Toklat River. The only problem was I left more than an hour before her.
Riding the bus out I never even thought of what if, that was until I reached Teklanika Rest Stop. I took one look at the privies and wondered, what if she couldn’t get off work. Son of a bitch, I thought, I’d be spending the night in the privy if the rain came in and it looked wet already. The next two hours were spent on that one question, what if she didn’t make it out. I’ve done my share of camping but the idea of cowboy camping in an area I hadn’t been before with grizzlies, wolves, moose, and caribou was not my idea of smart, especially alone.
Let me tell you, that was the longest 4 hour bus ride ever, the first two from excitement, the second two from worry. As fate would have it, I arrived early and had to sit there, waiting. Oh how my head spun, and filled with questions. What if she didn’t show? What if we didn’t get along? What if it goes south quick? What if we hit it off? Where will I sleep tonight if she doesn’t show up? The questions circled and swirled in my brain.
This lone bus finally appeared over the hill, looking as empty as ever. I was stuck in the world of Schrodinger’s Cat. There was just one passeneger: it was her and it was also not her at the same time. As the bus crept closer and closer, I hoped and wished it was her. Stepping out of my bus to see, I still couldn’t make out the lone passenger. Slowly they stood up, grabbing their gear. This was a good sign they were getting off here. Their head turned away from me, face shielded from view. I felt like a kid at Christmas, the excitement and nervousness was killing me. Heart fluttering, hands a little unsteady, her head turned as she stepped off the bus.
In an instant I was relieved, excited, and neverous all over again. I was happy that I had a tent, but unprepared for everything else. She walked over and in an instant hugged me. The bus cheered when they saw we were together; happy to have her aboard. For they knew all too well for the past two hours about my date and whether or not she’d be able to show up. Excited and thoughtful, they welcomed her aboard as we headed to our unit.
I couldn’t help but stare as she sat next to me and talked. Her short dark brown hair, fell straight to her shoulders, framing her face. Her breathtakingly beautiful eyes, blue, green, and yellow, looked at me as she talked. I watched her mouth as the soundless words fell from her plush crimson lips. Her engaging smile, captivated me, lit a fire in my soul, begging me to find out all about her. Her blushed cheeks held a slight hue of pink from the weather and all I could do was stare like a child in wonder.
I struggled to pay attention, I was captivated by her, she had to ask me more than once about our unit. I had to focus on what she said so I wouldn’t get distracted. After finally ironing out the details, we set up our camp and set off to eat for the night. We chose a spot on the mountain side that overlooked the Polychrome Mountain Range. These mountins received their name due to the many colors of volcanic rock that made them up. Each one as beautiful as the next, I was in heaven.
From there the only way to describe our evening and next two days was easy, it was just that, easy. We talked about everything, laughed and played cards. Rain had made it hard for us to do anything but get to know each other. I knew in an instant that this was something you don’t come by very often. We both remarked at how easy it was around each other, natuaral and drama free. It just flowed and before we knew it, we had to go back to work. It was the longest 4 hour bus ride out of the park.