As we made our way down a dirt lane lined with leafless trees, I tuned my ear to happy chickadees and critters scurrying in the brush. The narrow lane opened up, and I spotted an expansive rocky beach interrupted by only a small slice of frozen river. On the other side rose mighty mountains shedding their winter coat early.
The sky seemed larger than normal; all around us the Alaskan scenery created illusions. The grand mountains stretched so far in all directions that they gradually seemed to slope off in the distance. The clouds were strewn above us like confetti, glowing in warm evening tones. The smooth stones under our feet were nature’s asphalt, opening up the world before us like a web of back roads.
We eventually meandered to the relatively small trickle of water in the middle of the vast riverbed. Most of it was frozen over, and we cautiously stepped onto the ice to test thickness. The river led our eyes to the majestic glacier perched in the distance. The subtly blue ice drew aircraft enthusiasts galore; many small planes and helicopters buzzed over us on our walk, circling the glacier and flying back along the brown ridges and canyons across the way. (The picture below is of one of the widest spots in the river.)