Panorama Journal of Intelligent Travel
2018 Quarterly: Seen
2018 NATJA Silver Award: Cultural Travel – Online
2018 NATJA Honorable Mention: Long-form Narrative
A few weeks after giving birth to our second, I stood on top of a mountain. Denali, the highest peak in North America, hid behind a wrath of clouds. In contrast, now, a bright sun turns the rivers and creeks into braids, twisting across the Nenana River Valley, through forests of spruce, cottonwood, and birch, until they turned from silver to gray and faded into the Alaska Range.
Against my chest, our newborn warmed his face. I had bundled him tight in the lightest, wind and waterproof bunting on the market. His soft black hair tickled my nose. I pried open a balled-up fist and wrapped his tiny fingers around mine.
“Daddy and I are looking for a special place to bury your umbilical cord,” I whispered in his ear. One day, when I can explain it to myself, I will tell him why I hiked the steepest trail in Denali National Park instead of staying in bed during my first postpartum month as my Chinese relatives expected me to do.