Posted by: highmountainmuse | May 6, 2009

Starvation Gulch

Looking back at my boys treking  up and into Starvation Gulch on our journey last winter.

Looking back at my boys treking up and into Starvation Gulch on our journey last winter.

At the end of winter last year, the three of us made a journey I’d been dreaming of for years.  We snowshoed where no man had gone before in winter:  into and down through Starvation Gulch. Even the name brings fear and dread and promise of tall tales told of hardship and loss.  But no, for me, it is the most beautiful place in the world.  A place we go to “get away from it all” when this mountain becomes so filled with others coming here to do the same and we begin to lose ourselves and each other in it all.  A place we go to remember what matters most to us.  Each other.  And the beautiful natural wild world around us.


For years I stared up canyon at the ridge behind Starvation Gulch, many miles away from our home here, on winter snow shoes.  I would stop, lean against my poles, and gaze, wondering if I could make it. I’d plan the route, plan the journey, figure out a way to make it happen.  I just had to be there in winter, even just once, just for a day. Last year I told the boys I would.  I would go.  With or without them.  (Though of course, I wanted them to join, and honestly, have no idea how I’d have done it without them.)


And so, in the deep set snow of early spring, we snowmobiled up river, left our sleds, and headed on snow shoes out into the Wilderness on our big journey.  It was only a day, just one day, but such a special day. Odd as it sounds, a dream come true for me, and another reminder that we can do anything we want if it’s a good thing, and we’re willing to work for it… in this case, one step in the snow at a time.


This is a poem Forrest wrote after our journey. 




by Forrest Getz


A place that could

Rob a person of sanity,

Or life.


But in the unknown lies beauty,

Beauty of ruggedness,

Of emptiness of life,

Of life.


The air filled with air alone,

No noise but the wind, mayhap a lone bird,

And the weak crunch

Of our footsteps.


We are here, now –

Nowhere else,

Struck by awe of the mountain,

Mesmerized, yet the senses keener.


Is it always so defined?

The line between living

And not?


When we look at

The bowls

The jagged peaks

And the creeks who show to the sky,

We only glimpse what is character.


But when home we are again,

And only tired,

The sense of pride

Dulls that of the mountain,

And of death.



  1. Several comments:

    What are the tall tales of Starvation Gulch?

    Forrest, the poem is outstanding!

    Gin, it doesn’t sound odd at all that it was a dream come true. Way to go out there…WAY out there, and pursue your dreams and thank you once again for sharing a motivating and inspiring journey.

  2. SWEET!

  3. “The air filled with air alone”

    What a fantastic line! Nicely done, Forrest!

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