It reminded me of rafting.
It reminded me of the trips we made in Estonian winters, where we'd have to bang paddles to get rid of the built up ice and cover gloves in plastic bags so the hands wouldn't end up as drenched ice blocks instead:
|Camping on the bank of Emajõgi, Estonia|
|Leisurely paddling on Emajõgi, Estonia|
|Midwinter evening on Valgejõgi, Estonia|
|Setting up camp overnight, Valgejõgi, Estonia|
|It can take a while to paddle down a river... Valgejõgi, Estonia|
Then the trips around Wanaka:
|A high time of my life where we drove old, banged-up cars and lived in shared flats, but bought expensive, high-tech outdoor gear and used it regularly. The way priorities were meant to be ;)|
|The Man with his brother on Clutha river|
|The Man on Hawea river|
|Heading out on Lake Wanaka on a still winter's morning|
|Lunchbreak on an empty shore|
|Where a raft can easily carry, but a car can't go - a lunch, a nap, and then back into a raft and home|
Having had those experiences meant that when I read Erin Kckittrick's words, I could sense some of it better. I could picture some of the terrain she has moved through:
|Near Anchorage, Alaska|
When she mentioned the Iditarod sled dog racers, I knew that I know some of them:
|Denver glacier, Alaska|
Even the cover of her book, Small Feet, Big Land - the mountain that provides the backdrop there is the mountain I named my son after.
The more stories I listen to and the more stories I get to experience myself, the more real the new stories I come across feel to me because of all the intertwined experiences, memories of smells, knowledge...
It also meant that whilst reading Erin's and her husband Hig's words on their blog last thing in the evening right after having collapsed in bed from the exhaustion of having been a parent that whole day (oh, hi kids!), I came across a fascinating story about what would happen if earthquakes stopped:
"Question: are earthquakes an inevitable “side-effect” of a planet that can support life, or can you imagine a planet whose surface is stable enough that it never quakes the way ours does?
Answer: /.../ One way to look at it is to imagine what would happen if you shut off tectonics on earth and then watched what happened.
For a while (tens to hundreds of millions of years I’d guess) it wouldn’t be a problem. No more volcanic eruptions would reduce nutrient input into some ecosystems, but similar nutrients could be derived from mountain erosion.
Gradually erosion and deposition would lead to a planet dominated by ocean and broad coastal plains with rounded upland hills and low mountains. At this point the rate of erosion would be dropping off because the softer sediment would already be eroded, and steep slopes where erosion is enhanced would be reduced. This means that the mineral portions of soils, and dissolved minerals in groundwater, would be becoming less and less. Also without upland sources rivers would be sluggish and low oxygen. Beaches would be broad and muddy, and tides would be damped by broad shallow seas along the coastlines. This is a planet where diversity is reduced, but life is likely still abundant.
Next the land would vanish, eroded away by the ocean. The ocean floor is covered in a layer of clay, sealing off any geologic nutrient sources. Life would have to evolve to make use of a narrower spread of chemical building blocks, but would still have sunlight as an energy source.
This picture is built around the impossible scenario where tectonics on the earth get shut off. If you had a planet where the nuclear heat that powers tectonics was absent from the start, then there would be no topography to start with. Many scenarios for the beginning of life, and for life’s survival of hard times like possible “snowball Earth” periods, rely on geothermal springs. And without tectonic mixing of the earth’s mantle and crust much of the volatile water and CO2 might never reach the atmosphere… perhaps it would be a frozen dry rock."
And all these wonderful stories because of talking about a pack-raft.
Which reminds me: this friend (who lent me the books) and I made a deal that when there is a warmer weekend - her cut-off point is around 19 degrees Celsius - we will take the rafts down one of Christchurch's rivers and go explore. And then after that there is another friend I'd like to take rafting with me.
I look forward to that!