Alaska’s Badlands

Notes from my journal during the six-week solo arctic expedition in 2021. The place I was camped when writing this journal entry is a desolate and remote region that was noted by late-1800s’ explorers to be off-limits by Alaskan Arctic natives because of its brutally cold and dangerous winter climate.

…it’s a place that doesn’t have spiraled peaks that stretch to the heavens for the eyes to rest on, nor does it have endless miles of beautiful green and blue bergs of sea ice that glisten in the low February sun. Instead, it’s a place where the land and sky is joined as one fluid white.

Except for a few stunted willows alongside frozen ponds and creeks it’s difficult to see where the horizon begins.

One might call it a wasteland, the badlands, or, a land that God forgot.
The essence of its allure to me however is not in its eye appeal because its beauty cannot be seen.

The beauty is hidden in the deafening silence that stirs the soul and the vast expanse that stretches hundreds of miles in every direction which gives us an unimaginable sense of freedom.

But whoa to those who travel here!

The fierce winds that tear the tundra apart has no mercy for human flesh. There are not words in our vocabulary that describes the brutality of its coldness. I’m telling you it’s beyond human comprehension.

Nonetheless, when the flurry of snow and clouds clear from the crystalline stars and peace settles once again onto the living, and the malamutes lift their muzzles with a tranquil song, it’s a glimpse of heaven.

The faraway and difficult journeys in life are necessary challenges to cleanse our souls.

It reminds us that our strengths, skills and talents cannot and will not save us because our souls are in the hands and mercy of God.

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