I was browsing through the on-line Anchorage Daily News this evening from here on Kodiak Island and I came across this article which made me think of Mario. It made me think of Mario because he's on Denali now, making his way up the mountain. (Or, if he's not on the mountain he's in Talkeetna, camping out next to the airstrip, waiting for a weather window to allow him to fly in to the Kahiltna Glacier base camp.)
|There's been heaps of good skiing lately. All the APUers have been in the thick of it every damn day.|
Mario dropped by my little brown house in Spenard last week, asking if he could borrow some mountaineering gear so he could go climb Denali. He had a specific list of things he needed. He brought Hanna along with him. Hanna tried on a bunch of my clothes, attempted unsuccessfully to read the Swedish tapestry on my living room wall and said "...this is so exciting - just like visiting Grandma's house!" I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.
Last time I saw Mario was about a week or so ago. I was just arriving at Davis' hangar in Palmer for the big graduation hoe-down as Mario was leaving. He was headed for Talkeetna early the next morning. The weather hasn't been that great. I hope he was able to fly in to base camp.
|Etienne graduated from college last week.|
|So did Davis Dunlap.|
|The snow on Center Ridge wasn't as firm as we'd hoped on Sunday.|
As for me, I seem to have come down with a slight case of cancer over the winter. I must have picked it up off a toilet seat in one of those truck stops on a UAA road trip. Or maybe it was some undercooked chicken in one of those tacos Sparky made for me in Red River after I'd spent the day getting Alix to the Denver airport when she torqued her knee in training. I'm not sure - can you even get cancer from undercooked chicken? Anyway, the doctors are calling it a very rare type of T-cell Lymphoma or something like that, and after a surgery a few weeks ago to cut out the tumor, they now want me to spend the first half of the summer hanging out near the hospital in Anchorage, dropping in each day for a dose of radiation. I'd been planning a big motorcycle trip; the hospital option sounds a lot more boring. Of course it's always a bummer to come down with a case of cancer, but on the other hand it's pretty cool if your cancer is really rare like mine - something for the resume! The doctors all tell me I'll be fine, so I'm not worried about it. But I'll admit I lost a little sleep over it earlier this spring.
|Hatcher Pass. This past weekend.|
My advice from all this? Live in a country that's got universal health care. Or get yourself some health insurance. Getting doctors to draw lines all over your body and stick you inside machines costs a lot more than a new car - unless you're buying a car that costs several hundred thousand dollars... in which case it costs about the same as a new car.
|The Talkeetna Mountains this week.|