Friday, September 25, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I booked a flight to Anchorage on Sept. 4th at 7:25 in the morning and Tim picked me up at the airport! It was the best feeling I've had in a long time, waiting to get off the plane getting my bags off the baggage belt (waiting for Tim cuz he got stuck in a construction zone...) Seeing a familiar face, after a long summer of not seeing him, and going through some rough patches, it was an awesome reunion :-) It was also very surreal at the same time, after planning on being in Anchorage at the end of the season, and having it actually come true was hard to believe. Tim took me on a small tour of Anchorage and then back to Donal and Karen's house, which is where we'll be staying until we find an affordable place of our own . Don and Karen are friends of Tim's family who got Tim the job at the Railroad. Anchorage is (even though its a city and I'm not much of a city person) beautiful, though I think I'd say that about any place in Alaska :-) The house is in south anchorage, up in the hills surrounded by trees and overlooking the bay and Chugiak mountains and the city, which at night remindes me of the top floor of Northstreet overlooking the city lights... oh the memories... Once Karen and Donald got home we started packing to go down to the Boat in Seward Harbor about 2 hours away from Anchorage. Don and Karen have a 42 ft Benetaeu sailboat named Satisfaction, that we were going to spend the weekend on!!! After a long summer full of long days and hard work being out on the ocean was something my soul needed! Growing up on the water and not being able to go out on the boat this summer was torture for a Pisces like me. On the way we saw at least 30 Beluga whales feeding in the bay along the Seward harbor!! Alaska is soo cool!!! Once we got to the boat we unloaded all of our stuff and went to eat at Ray's seafood where Tim and I shared my first Alaskan King Crab dinner! mmmmmmmm that was WICKED good! the Seward harbor is gorgeous, surrounded by mountains unlike the mountains I grew up around in Maine, glaciers everywhere, and water unlike any water color I've even seen. Walking back to the boat we noticed something in the water at the edge of the dock, so walking slowly and quietly Tim and I were able to get within 5 feet of a sea otter having a midnight snack!!! Right there at the end of the dock!
We spent the entire weekend sailing to the Boeing harbor, Don made me drive the boat out of the harbor, sipping on champagne, listening to Jimmy Buffet, sailing on water of blue the color of the sky, Sun shining, pirate flag waving :-) Tim got a little seasick so he slept through the rolling waves once we came out onto the open ocean, but was fine once we reached the harbor. We spent the weekend rowing around in the "ducky" (though noone has heard it called that, guess its a Fickett thing) exploring the shores, watching eagles catch salmon, swimming in the glacier water daily though everyone thought I was crazy (made Tim go in but he thought it was too cold) playing water golf, relaxing in the sun with boat drinks, spending time getting to know the other members of the yacht club. It was exactly what I needed :-) The only thing that went wrong that weekend was at the end, on our way back in we hit a rock with the keel... needless to say its going to be a while until we can get back on the boat... ( in the water) ...
Since then I've been searching for a job, a car, a place for Tim and I to live, But we've been to the zoo and saw the wolves! Down to whittier which is a town smaller than Moody!!! believe it or not.. haha but to get to Whittier you have to go through a 2.4 mile tunnel that goes basically through the base of the glacier topped mountain! its soo long that they have to put jet engines at both ends to push the air around so you don't end up with dead air, or the fumes just sitting there! Well I'm off to continue my search, I'll keep you posted!!!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
But lets go back a few weeks. I gave a tour to a family that was going really well until the end. The family had three kids, and the oldest son was a typical boy and not listening to anything the parents were saying and was horsing around. Now we have a few dogs that have a lil bit of a diarrhea problem... Now this one dog named Bluto was having a really bad day and it was sorry bubbling out in spurts like a hose with air in it. The Kid didn't see it and was down on the ground with him sticking his face right in Bluto's. I was just about to go over and tell him to stop forcing the dogs face's into his face when we all turned around to see the kid standing up and his once yellow raincoat is now brown.. He was covered head to toe in dog $hi% !!! It was the end of a very long day and none of us could hold back the laughter!!! We just about burst!
Then came the clouds.. and the rain... We had 5 weather days in a row! three days of tours, the third day was half cancelled, then two more weather days where all we could see was white... nothing but white clouds, we became known as cloudcamp instead of dog camp...By the time the weather days were gone we had gone from 4-6 feet of snow to 1/2-2 feet of snow! and Cravases all over the place! IT was way past time to get the dogs off the ice and pack up. Robert and Jess left and we got a new girl named Anna who came to work for us. And then the calls began... Getting everything to fall into place to get the dogs off the ice and start breaking camp down. So wednesday the 26th all the dogs got off the ice in only 4 flights! We had 21 dogs in one helicopter load! wow that was a heavy load! Once all the dogs were gone we got to work with breaking camp down starting with unscrewing all the dog houses (79 to be exact) and getting them packed up in gravel bags, then we started tking apart and gathering everything else up and getting it ready to go. Around noon the sun came out and clouds cleared and the glacier was beautiful!!! we worked until 7 that night and then got up at 6 the next morning and continued to take apart the tents and gather everything else up and stage it so its ready to go. However at about 10 am the wind started to really pick up and the rain started coming down in sheets. it was blowing about 20-30 mph with gusts up to 70!!! it was so windy at one point, Anna and I were in the Kitchen tent that takes 4 adults to move inches at a time with poles, that the kitchen tent moved about a foot!!! just with the wind! Rick came on the radio and told us he was gonna send someone up to get us! Rescue time! Wow the ride back was... interesting I thought i was gonna lose the peanut butter sandwhich... But now we're just waiting to go back up to the ice to finish breaking stuff down and sling it off the ice with the helicopters! we just need the wind to stop blowing so hard... keep your fingers crossed so that we can get up soon and get everything off so that I can catch my flight to Anchorage on Friday the 4th!!! :-)
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
So even though I feel like I should be getting ready to go to the point for our annual two week family vacation on the ocean at my my grandmothers house that I've been to every year since before I was born, Alaska feels more like home every day! This time down I went zip-lining with Robert! OMG it was so much fun, It was a course through the woods over an abandoned pit mine with caves and delapidated buildings and old rusty pipes and plants that I've never seen in my life! leaves as big as some of the ruhbarb plants in mom and dad's garden! The course took us about 180 feet in the air the longest was 728 feet long and if you cannon balled instead of keeping your legs out straight you could reach speeds of over 50 mph!!!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I can't believe that I've been here for almsot two months! I'm not really sure whats going to happen when the season ends as of right now though. But as the title says I'm not going to, at least going to try really hard not to worry about anything until the time comes.
So this past week we had the family from hell come up to the ice... The most white trash family I've ever met. So at the LX (helicopter landing pad) we have a trail that leads away from the helicopter that we have people follow so that they won't get their heads taken off by the rotor blades. First of all I should start out that I was the one unloading the helicopter, and we use a step stool to get everyone in and out of the helicopter. I placed the stool down infront of the front door and got the two people in the front seat out. I stepped up and undid the latches on the back door and then stepped down bent over to move the stool to the back door and got kicked in the head by the dad that had been watching me the whole time but apparently didn't see me bend over right in front of him... ugh got the Dad and the other three boys out of the back seat only to look over and watch as the whole family didn't follow the trail and were taking their time getting thier jackets zipped up and not moving to where I had asked them to go. (over to the flag) By the time I reached the family and ushered them along the dad and the oldest son were throwing snow balls at the wheel dog (antelope) on Matt's team... Yelling at them I finally got them away from the poor dog who was cowering and scared as the two laughed at him I thought to myself "You've got to be kidding me!" Then they had the nerve to ask me if the dogs were friendly and I said "Yes but I have two rules: One NO RUNNING AROUND THE DOGS. TWO: NO THROWING SNOWBALLS" the reply I got made me want to smack him... "Oh HAHAHAHA" I took the mother the girl and the youngest boy and gave Robert the dad and the two older boys. You could tell that the girl had grown up with brothers by the way she took at least 5 ice snowballs to the face and just whiped her face of the stinging snow and went on her way. They threw poop covered snow at each other, layed down in the middle of the trail under the dogs getting themselves tangled in the lines, peed on the trail, went for a run jumping kravases, and then when we finally got back to the camp and their helicopter came for them the girl started running right at the helicopter! I couldn't catch her the pilot Eric was putting his hand up asking her to stop matt finally caught her and told her to walk back to me and I grabbed ahold of her and told her to stay put until I told her she could move. I told the whole family that they have to follow the trail to helicopter and when I finally said they could make their way down the youngest boy started running at the helicopter disregarding everything I told him. But this time I was able to catch him and took him by the shoulders and threw him at the trail! UGH None of us felt safe while they were still on the ground. And the fog was starting to come in too, If I had had to deal with them all night! I don't think so!
Monday, July 13, 2009
“What are the house’s that the dog’s live in called?” “Do you have electricity up here?” “Who names the dogs?” “see those huge cracks in the ice? Those average about 100-200 ft deep… - Do you let the dogs run around?” …. Its been a long few weeks of ridiculous questions! Haha I had a week of horrible tours, to the point that I was absolutely dreading the next unloading of people off the helicopter… Then you’ll get the most talkative, intelligent questions and you have a great time, This makes it all worth while! I am sore and tired, after shoveling ice and wet snow all day and running tours, we generally average about 20-50 people a day, Last Thursday we had 73 people!!! Omg that was a looooooooong day! The other frustrating thing is the rich snobs that come up… We had a guy and his wife bring his youngest of 6 kids with her 8 kids on their private jet to Alaska… They also brought their $1.7 mil helicopter to privately fly up to the ice and get a tour. Now they own Idaho Potatoes, and Husband and wife take one of their kids and their families (one with 13 kids) on a vacation every year rotating who gets to go, and continued to talk about how much money they have and how much they have spent, at the end of the 3 undivided attention hours on the ice, they got on the helicopter and said “Bye”… No tip, no Thanks… Rick, Matt and I were like… you’ve got to be kidding me! Ridiculous!!! What I’ve learned so far is that it’s the people who this is their one vacation that they’ve spent the entire year saving for that really can’t afford to tip you who hand you $20 at the end saying that this was great and the experience of a life time.I’ve decided not to go and work as a handler this winter. I cannot get myself more that 50% positive that this is what I want to do, If I’m going to handle for someone I want to go into it with 90% enthusiasm and want to do this. Being a handler for someone would give me the experience of a life time, but it’s a 24/7 lifestyle of early mornings, late nights, scooping poop, dog care, harnessing and running dogs for long miles, becoming attached to a dog one day and then it not being there the next. So I’m going to step back this winter and see if it is really something that I want to be a large part of my life. I know that I will probably always have a small rec. team starting with my girl Dre. We’ll see.I came down on Sunday early afternoon and met Brian (Pilot) and Matt at the Heritage drive thru coffee house near the apt and they were on their way to hike around downtown. So I ran back to the apt an got a quick shower in grabbed my water bottle and we headed off downtown the whole time joking about the stupid questions we get asked and laughing. Brian took us up the steepest hills down town past houses set in the hill side secluded from the busy tourist’s buying souvenirs, to the first road built in Juneau and the old gold mines and mills and shafts where they still get tourists to pay to pan for gold, and still find flakes here and there! We hikes up around Mt. Juneau and saw water –falls and streams the color of Caribbean bright blue sea water. I felt at home, and I would recommend everyone come visit because as Mumma predicted, I’ve most likely found my new home, at least for a whileJ
Monday, June 22, 2009
Its back to the "normal" weather up on the ice which consists of clouds, fog and rain, with the sun coming through every now and then. Thursday I gave 4 tours and it rained a little but it held off at least for tours. Friday we had a two tours one of 12 ppl and one of 10 nothing too big, our biggest days are tues-thurs. Saturday I think I gave my best tour yet. It was supposed to be a tour of 12 people but 7 canceled at the last min. Apparently one lady wouldn't get on the scale (the helicopter can only carry so much weight) since she wouldn't get on the entire family wouldn't and then walked out! The couple I gave a tour to said she looked like she maybe weighed in the 130 lb range! Sunday we woke up at 6:30 to a white out and pouring rain GROSS! Rick and I fed the dogs and then went back to our tents and I read all morning until 11:30 when we got the word that we would be giving the 12:30 tour, it was snowing then and windy and still foggy! A wicked gross day... After a lot of undecisive people (Rick and Coastal) talked about the weather for 45 min the 12:30 got canceled, just 10 min later then snow and rain stopped and the fog lifted! We ended up running the tours for 1:30-4:30, the rain picked back up and by the end of the day when Rick asked me how fast I could pack my stuff I ran to my tent packed it up and was able to come back to Juneau! The hot shower (at least for the frist 5 min) was awsome after a day like that! I'm EXHAUSTED!
Sorry this one isn't as detailed as the others, I'll write more soon
Monday, June 15, 2009
5:30- alarm goes off, time to get out of the warm sleepingbag and out into the cold (round 40 degrees in the am, get dressed and use the "facilities"
6:00- Out in the dog yard scooping poop, feed all 36 dogs (on my side) Jamie does her side, then scoop poop again
7:00- Our breakfast hour, brush teeth get ready for the day, put sunscreen on(though apparently it doesn't work cuz I still got burnt)
8:00- back out in the dog yard to check - all of the dogs feet, put suncreen on the pink parts (Nose, ears, and privates) body weight check, and general physical exam.
9:30-6:30 tours can be scheduled all day every hour on the half hour, the helicopter arrives at about 25 after and then we go over sled safety and we're on our way!
7:30- dog yard scooped, dogs fed, scooped again, dump buckets in the poop cube ( i'll get a pick next time I'm up)
8:30- Time for dinner if we have energy to cook
9:30- turn the heater on for 30 min, turn it off before I have to open the flap and the heat drives me out, then lay down to read and i'm usually passed out within 10 min!
So thats how a day generally goes, after each tour we switch out leaders and maybe 5-6 of the dogs so they all get an equal amount of running in. There are other chores however that need to get done if we don't have tours in the alloted times which include: leveling of the dog yard ( the snow melts all around the houses faster than it does underneath and so the houses fall over and creates an uproar in the yard) which also means our tents need to also get moved at least once a week, Trail poop needs to be picked up once a week, hair needs to be raked off the snow (THE WORST JOB EVER!) I can pick up poop all day but rakeing snow into piles and waiting for the snow to melt so you can pick out the dog hair! UGH!
Oh I am Safe for the season! I will not be loosing my job, unless the season goes completly dead, or a crevass opens up in a spot we can't avoid, or we loose too much snow, which we have been losing a lot of snow, so the season may end early, we'll see when we get there.
On the 10th I gave 5 tours in a row, two of which were to people from Tiwan and didn't speak a word of English... those were quite tours, however I did get told I was beautiful and a lady wanted to have her picture taken with me :-) I burnt my arms to the point they felt like they were on fire and behind my ears to the point were they blistered... that was after applying sun-screen at least 3 times!!! OUCH
On the 11th I woke up to a huge crack of thunder and then a sound that reminds me of the surf when laying in my room at the point at night listening to the ocean (which meant there was a lil-avalanche) I spent most of my day trying to convince Jamie to stay and not leave... I'm gonna miss her if she leaves early, she's become a really good friend and it makes the time go by faster... Up at 6:00 am then gave tours from 10:30-4:30 without a break ugh! good thing I had a big breakfast or it'd have been hungry! I got one $20 tip from one couple... common people! anyways I'll save that for a later date.
the 12th turned out to be a blessing in disguise, I didn't feel like giving tours after the previous days tours, and I got my wish, We woke up to a 500 foot cloud cover and and rain, an hour before the first tour the ground fog came in and we were in a white out! The rest of the day was cancelled as well, but we worked elsewhere in Dog Camp. We each (Rick, Jamie and I) moved about 2000lbs of snow ( its like shoveling that really heavy wet snow and ice.....) raked hair into rows and then shoveled it into piles by the time I was done my back was killing me and my arms felt like Jelly! It was also the first day I was cold, actually wearing my long-johns and underarmor shirts, only to strip them off when I started shoveling. We did get a break since we were all so dead after all the moving of snow and Jamie and I washed our hair and made brownies! mmm we made a 13x9 pan full and they were gone by sunday AM :-I hehe
Saturday and Sunday were slow, lots of chores not so many tours and then I cam back down on Sunday, I was so tired I slept till 9 am this morning (which if you know me thats LATE!)
Well I'm gonna sign off for now and make some mac and cheese and watch oceans eleven with Jamie and prolly fall asleep, we went downtown today and went in just about every shop and I'm exhausted!!!
Love you all,
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I think I'm finally on my way to recovery! at least it seems that way and I'm hoping! I've been down off the ice now for 3.5 days and I'm more than ready to be working and doing something again! I'd like to have a regular schedule but I'm not sure if I'll see that working for Rick. I was starting to worry about money and what the heck I was going to do since I had a plan for the money I was supposed to be making this summer, but I talked to Tim, and Mom and Dad, and everything will work out how its supposed to, Everything will be just fine :-) If Rick was impressed with me and only saw me work for three days, there's got to be something that he sees and I know he'll give me a good reference if he has to let me go.
More to come when I get back!
Monday, June 8, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
WOW! That's all I have to say, what a summer job to have, and an amazing first few days on the ice! So far it hasn't been cooler than 65 during the day and not even freezing at night! I have to say I'm a little over prepared for the warm waether! So far I've been wearing t-shirts rolled up at the sleeve, my rain gear pants (because they happen to be the lightest pair of pants I brought, socks, bama booties and my xtratuffs :-) and its still hot! The propane heaters in our Arctic oven tents are so warm even on low that I have mine on for a few minutes to start everything drying then turn it off!
The helicopter ride was beautiful! thought I have to say I was nervous about flying! It was really smooth though and the sights were fantastic! none of my pictures do it justice however... There were pools of water the color of blue koolaid, and ice as blue as the carribean seas. The glare off the snow is so bright you can't be on the ice without snow, I guess someone once refused to wear sunglasses and went snowblind because of it! So needless to say I've got myself a good raccoon eye tan going on... ugh! not to mention my already present farmers tan... I've been burnt in places I've never been burnt before even after spending 21 years at the point spending days in the sun! The inside of my ears, in my nose, the back of my arms, and yesterday I forgot my neck! OUCH!
When I first got up Rick had me ride with a tour he was giving so I could get the feel of what the whole deal was and how he wants things run. I spent the rest of the day riding along with tours and getting to know the dogs, (yes I know all of the dogs names on my side of the yard :-) all 25 of them) helping with feeding and chores. One group of indians (dot no feather) came up and Matt was giving the tour and needed someone to drive the tandum sled behind the main sled (i'll get a picture to show you) and asked me to do it. Now of course being from India they thought having and unmarried 22 year old female driving the sled was unheard of... Apparently they are going to be the trickiest group of people this summer with the different cultures, Jess has had someone refuse to be givin a tour by her simply because she was a female. At one of our rest stops (since the dogs are running in 70 degree sunlight) the guy asked Matt and I what the difference in a very heavy indian accent: "What is the difference between these (the dogs) an an australian kangaroo?" It took all I had not to laugh! Matt however calmly explained that Kangaroo's have a pouch and hop on two feet while the dogs walk on four.
Well after wakeing up at 5 to feed the dogs by 6 am and not sleeping well becuase I'm as sick as a dog I'm gonna go try and sleep a lil bit. More tomorrow!
oh here we go top of the kennel down:
Chester, Rain, Kobuk, Polar (f), Alligator, Batman, Eagle, Maule, Susie, Bertha, Buckley, Casper, Emerie, Ed, Franky, Maggot, Par, Polar (m), George, Laniy, Moose, Salty, Stach, Griffin, Abby!
(I've earned the nickname pipes, I'll let you try and guess what it is before I tell you :-)
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009