I've had many ideas about how to sum up this great trip. I've written out a few in outline form. In the end I rejected them all. The best summary is my desire to return to the Thelon. I told Mo at our pick-up camp that if we had the pilot let us off at the Radford River, our trip back would be almost totally different. We would see moose, caribou, wolves and muskox in different places; the weather would be different. The Thelon is so rich that one trip cannot begin to exhaust the experience.
I want to return again because the Thelon is purest wilderness I have ever experienced. The vastness of the land, the absence of other people, the closeness of the wildlife cannot easily be found. I am sure that my experience of this trip has only dipped into the surface. I want to return to soak up more of the beauty and to revel in the sense of freedom and to also deepen my connection with the earth and with my ancient ancestors who once lived their whole lives as we did for two weeks.
My other thought is that I am waiting to learn the lesson of all my technology failures on the trip, augmented by a lightning strike on my home while I was away. I had to replace almost $2,000 worth of equipment that was blown out. Do these failures presage a collapse of civilization? Am I supposed to change my life to live without these devices that I have come to take for granted? Or was it important that I experience the Thelon without them? I wait anxiously for the answer.
One question was answered on the trip. Could two strangers who at least on the surface professed a desire to experience a deep wilderness experience actually come together and have a good trip? The answer: absolutely. The wilderness exerted a strong force that brought Shipp and Mo into a close bond than enabled them to meet the challenges of the trip: headwinds, cramped cooking quarters, mosquitoes, different personal habits, etc. In the immensity of the tundra we were insignificant. But as a team we were enlarged beyond our two individual selves. In sharing the beauty of the tundra as well as it hardships, the wilderness formed a bond that would have been impossible anywhere else. Ultimately, the Thelon's power to make two strangers friends is its greatest magic and beauty.
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