Growing Up Alaska: The Long Walk Home

When I was 6 years old, we still hadn’t built our house so we were living in a cabin well off the beaten path. There was a trail that led to it, but the nearest maintained road was a little more than a mile away. And by maintained, I mean they pushed enough snow off of it that most people wouldn’t get stuck.

At that point in time in Central, most people didn’t drive around in a truck during the winter, but typically rode snow machine; my family included. That is, unless you were my second oldest brother Clint who got himself grounded from our snow machines (the reason why is a whole other story).

That meant that in order for us to catch the bus, we had to walk a little more than a mile each direction to reach the bus stop. At a brisk walk, we could do it in 25 minutes, though the average for most was closer to 35. For us, it could take 45 minutes plus.

This drawn out walk would drive Clint crazy. I have always been a bit of a dreamer and dawdler and distracted by everything along the walk. I would carry on long conversations with my imaginary friend which would cause me to walk even more slowly.

It was often dark and Clint would threaten to leave me behind, but I knew that he couldn’t show up to the cabin without me, so I knew his threats were idle. There were times that he left me behind, but I would find him waiting along the trail near home.

This plan of fear often backfired because I would become even more alert of the dark woods around me and slow down to walk cautiously. And of course if I told mom that he’d left me behind, she would get mad and ground him even longer, though I am pretty sure at that time he was grounded until he was like 60 so it had little affect.

Bribing didn’t work very well either. We didn’t have a whole lot to barter with, so he could give me very little. And I didn’t mind the walk. It became a game of trudging across the arctic in search of mammoth or a game of war where I was hiding in the large dips in the trail or behind snow berms from the enemy that was tracking me.

Looking back, I fondly remember those times and do feel a little bad for Clint, sometimes. But then again, if he hadn’t gotten grounded from the snow machine, we wouldn’t have had to walk.

Author: matthewlasley

I am a school teacher and an author. I like to write picture books, middle grade, science fiction and short stories. I live in Alaska and I love history, so those two things often influence my creative writing.

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