Sunday, April 27, 2008

Calm before the Storm

Hello again. I am officially a Park Ranger now and I have the photo of my badge to prove it. :) So far things have been going well here. The few of us who are here early are just going through training and reveling in the 3 plus feet of snow we have gotten in two weeks and the occasional 50 degrees and sunshine (coincidently the sun makes that warm enough for T-shirt weather).

I just received one roommate who is on the fire crew and may receive another (hopefully not) who works on the trail crew. Apparently b/c of construction and a few other factors we get to possibly experiencing the joy of that lovable fish the sardine. The cabin I am in is great though, but I cannot wait until June when we get to use running water in our sinks. We all share a communal bath house in C-Camp that has our showers, bathrooms, and laundry. There is also a pretty nice rec hall that has computers, pool table, foosball, and a TV.

Essential my job will involve patrolling the east end of the park making sure that food and trash are stored properly, crowd/animal management when they encounter each other, wildlife sightings/info, and wildlife incidents.

I expect that this should be a pretty good summer. And look forward to showing some cool pics. I have also been exploring even through the snow. This is such a beautiful place and I am anxiously awaiting the start of the season. With some luck I might get to walk one of the kennel huskies. Below is a neat picture of melting snow that is curving off the roof.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

New Beginnings

Hello out there. I'm back. Hopefully this season will be better, but i make no promises. I hope to blog about 4 times a month.

This seasons starts off much the same as others. Boy wants job, boy applies to 53 jobs, boy get job, and boy drives 3900 miles to job. That's right, 3900 miles. I am working this season as a wildlife tech in the wonderful Denali National Park. Finally a job where I get paid for my work.

I started my journey on April 1 and I'm not fooling you that it was not an easy drive. There I was battling the elements, first rain and wind, then blizzards so strong that all traffic had to pull off the road b/c visibility dropped to about 5 ft. Amazingly I had not even made it out of Minnesota, but like the postal workers neither rain nor sleet nor snow could stop me.

I continued up into Canada with the occasional light flurry until I reached Edmonton, Alberta to visit with my brother and pass the half way point. After arriving it snowed 5 inches which is more snow that I had seen in the whole of my 5 years in Chattanooga. We lived out our boyhood dreams and recreated Calvin and Hobbes "Snowmen House of Horror".

From there my journey continued through British Colombia into the Yukon Territory, home of the Gold Rush and something more sinister. Lurking in various locations throughout this wilderness lies a fearsome and hideous beast so terrifying it defies imagination. No, This great beast is not the fabled Snowshoe Rabbit of Monty Python and the Holy Grail (which coinidently a few live under my cabin). It is something more terrifying, deadly, and evilly lying in wait for its next victim...the MOOSE. These crafty creatures cannot wait to pounce into the car of any unsuspecting driver.

I luckily enough did not get waylaid by this monstrosity. I did however see several other cohorts of this beast on the side of the road, such as the buffulo and big horn sheep. In all honesty my drive through British Columbia and the Yukon was beautiful. But beware the lurking beast! Moose and buffulo carcass sadly were all over the sides of the road so do be careful if you ever drive this way.

Finally I reached the safety of Alaska and its never ending snow. I have been in Alaska for a week and have been blessed with a fine spring. We have had only 18 inches. The northern lights are still around when the clouds part at night and the moon striking the snow is inspiring. It reminds me of a Thomas Kincade painting of a cabin out in the woods covered in snow.

I feel lucky to be hear and will hopefully get some good pictures to share with you as the summer continues and we hopefully get the road open. Til then...Tah!