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Saturday, September 25, 2010


Yesterday there was a huge snowstorm up in the mountains. The Higher Ups debated letting us take our tours out, but when it came down to Go Time they gave us the green. So up the highway I went, and Wow! It was gorgeous! My group and I were pretty much in awe the entire time.
We even saw a wolf. He crossed the road ahead of us and I thought hmm, a fox? So I slowed down and no, it was way too big for a fox. The wolf sat just off the edge of the road, watching us as we watched him. Then he turned tail and disappeared into the trees. The whole encounter lasted less than 10 seconds but it gave me chills the rest of the day.
Later, when we got to the furthest point, the snow was starting to come down again - and thick. Rather than pretend this was a normal day, we drivers gathered 'round and debated our exit strategy. In the end we formed a caravan and drove Very, Very Carefully back toward Skagway. It took an hour and a half to make what's usually a 45 minute to an hour drive. By the time we arrived at the train station, things were getting tricky. Two of our drivers had never driven in snow before and were losing their cool. The whole world was whited out, and where the roads had been wet but clear earlier in the morning we now had at least 3 inches of snow. Yikes! So we pulled into the train station, and our boss patted us on the back and gave us some very simple instructions:
"Get everyone onto the train. Turn off your bus and leave it, you're going home on the train too!"
So yeah. I got paid to ride the train in the snow. !!!!
Then today! At 10am we got the call to rally the troops, and we all piled into a minivan heading back up the mountain pass to do some bus retrieval. There were worries that the snow might start up again soon, so we had to Hurry Hurry Hurry! Except... Along the way up, we saw a bear. Ol' Buddy was just walking along the side of the road, so we slowed down and paced him for a few minutes. He was soaking wet and looking none-too-happy about the rainsnow mix falling on him, but he was a good sport about the loud vehicle with a bunch of nosy people gawking at him.
Up at the Canadian train station, our boss was all business. The train station is downhill from the highway, so we were worried about getting those big ol' things out of the snow. They don't have much for traction. Again, simple directions. "Get your momentum going and get out of here. Don't worry about pausing for traffic, I'll wave you through."
So that's what we did! It was a great adventure - completely out of the ordinary from everything else I've done. For a few days here I've been feeling a bit out of sorts, ready to finish up here and get out of town. I still want to get home to Le Ham, but if interesting things like this keep cropping up, I might actually be sad to say goodbye to this town!


Nap time accidentally turned into early bedtime. So much for everything else I'd planned! :(

I dreamed that someone was offering me coffee. I reached out to take the cup, and woke up with a start at 1am, my hand straight up in the air.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's Cold Outside

Woke up early in this new home of mine for the next nine days and crept about, trying to get a feel for the new building. Felt slightly disconnected as I sat in the hallway, cross-legged and bleary-eyed, brushing my hair and sipping a mug of tea. The rest of the day followed in a series of moments where I felt, like then, completely satisfied that I've chosen the path I have.

Here's a portion of a quote, the full extent which can be found here:

"... treat one's enemies with polite inconsideration, avoid persons who are chronically in need, and be satisfied with life always but never with one's self." -- George Jean Nathan

Later this afternoon, as I waited for my next job duty to begin, I curled up in the front seat of my bus with the current book. Folk music played from my ipod while sunlight warmed my toes. It felt like hours passed while I sat there.

After work I went for a run. Tried a new route -- it took me 15 minutes to get to the top of the hill, and only 12 to get back down. Now I'm wrapped in blankets, huddled in the corner of my temporary room, trying to find a way to recapture that glowing post-run heat.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


A half-read book is a half-finished love affair. -- Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

Friday, September 17, 2010

Commuting to Work

Monday they flew people out to Juneau again. The pilot decided to take a shortcut coming back, since we had to get to Skagway before nightfall. Instead of flying up the canal, he veered over the ice field and cut through mountains, getting us within almost-touching distance of glaciers -- sometimes wobbling the plane so we could get a better view, other times pointing out specific bits that he really liked.

Somehow I don't think I'll be signing up for a desk job any time soon.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day Off

Sunshine. Whiskey and towels on the hot cement. Painting toenails, chatting with the passerby's. New dress, new sunglasses, not-so-new friends. Gossip and giggling, and most of all the feeling that yes, this can happen in an Alaskan September.

Good day.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I've got the hookup

Today I saw a moose!

It jumped right into the road, hesitated for a few moments, then took off into the woods on the other side. The whole encounter lasted less than ten seconds.

And this is why my job is so rad. I feel bad for all the people in the passenger seats behind me, only getting to see this scenery once and with a crummy view of the back of my head.

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Summer Job!

I may not be lifeguarding, but that doesn't mean I'm not getting in the water! Some of my passengers took these pics on one of the last sunny days in the Yukon. Now there's fresh snow on the mountaintops. Siiiigh.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Life Lessons

Had some drinks tonight, then decided to see if the tent I inherited from Jeannine's boyfriend's dad really works. Turns out... It's a bit bigger than I expected, and the inside is covered in dirt and chicken feathers. So now I'm going to break into J9's room and steal her tent for tomorrow's camping/climbing trip. Also, lesson of this story? When you've been drinking and want to pitch a tent in a hotel room: Don't.
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Neverending Conversation

My buddy Nick is a special, special guy. We've been bff's since freshman year when we'd sit around playing X-Men Legends and not talk about that fact that he was in love with my cousin. Sophomore year, after she moved away, we'd sit on my front porch and chain smoke while dissecting the day. Junior year we lived together with 2 other guys, and that was the best time. We barbecued in the snow, threw costume parties, made many Bad Decisions, had kung-fu marathons and actually started calling each other BFF.
These days we don't see too much of each other. He graduated, moved out of town, and found a serious girlfriend. Soon he'll be going a step further and moving to Canada, of all places, for school. Meanwhile I've been doing things like living in Mexico and Alaska for months at a time.
Luckily for us, we both have unlimited texts! I have to delete my whole phone's memory every few days to accommodate for the hundreds of messages we send each other. I'm about to do it again, but before they disappear, I'd like to share with you some of the choice tidbits that keep me entertained while on the job.
  • I fucking love ice cream sandwiches. I would do terrible things to a Klondike Bar.
  • I admit to having questions about the mechanics of girl on guy dead sex. I feel rigor mortis only gets you so far.
  • I'm worrying about how much food you're getting up there.
  • If [the dead lady they found in the movie theater where he works] cursed Theater 1 with a neverending stream of shitty movies I'll believe that it's haunted, for sure.
  • I don't understand why you always bring us back to necrophilia.
  • omg a customer just spit at Noah what is this
  • Are doves pigeons? They certainly look similar. Or maybe pigeons are doves.
  • Magic has a really awful reputation and I'm on a one man crusade to fix it!
  • The best wolf themed song is by werewolves of london by warren zevon.
  • I think Nicole wants to start moving in tonight. I'm planning a mutiny.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Oddly fitting

Read this today, after getting back from a run and being psyched over my next hike:

"One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am — a reluctant enthusiast… a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.

— From a speech to environmentalists in Missoula, Montana in 1978 and in Colorado, which was published in High Country News in the 1970s or early 1980s under the title “Joy, Shipmates, Joy.”

AB Mountain: DONE!

Take one more down off the Trail Checklist! This Monday I set out with a mission: Climb That Goddamn Mountain.

AB has turned into my Everest over the last two summers. It haunts my dreams and teases me from my bedroom window. Every time I'd make plans to take it down, I'd be foiled by hangover sickness or weather or lethargy. But September is upon us, and I'm literally counting down the days before I get behind the wheel of the Great White Shark and wave goodbye to this town (for good, maybe, hopefully). I've realized that if I don't finish all my Skagway Adventures, they may never happen! And so now all holds are off, all hesitations are ignored. I'm running at breakneck speed into as many opportunities, Bad Decisions and Adventures alike, as I can find. For better or worse: it's happening!

So now I present to you Hike 9: AB Mountain! 8/30/2010, 10 miles, 4,900 ft elevation gain
Photos courtesy of my buddy Reegis, since Laughton Glacier ate my camera.

Failed jumping photo, whoops!