Currently living/working in: We are still at our cabin in Healy, juggling multiple writing projects and hustling to gain more. It’s been a pretty full plate of freelance work lately, all things considered. Thankfully, the long summer days mean we can still get ‘er done and have time to play! We also have a tiny bit more clarity on our longer-term future, and it looks like we will get to do some Leave No Trace work this summer after all, but probably not so much on the road. More details to come.
Current mood: This month was kind of crazy and flew by for us. We had lots of meetings, lots of deadlines and lots of home projects. But in our little corner of the world, it still feels like the pandemic virus and other recent pandemonium has barely hit us, and for that, we do feel grateful to be seemingly unaware and blissfully sheltered.
Currently proud of: The biggest focus this past month has been a big project for The Voice, the sister publication to Backpacker with trade as the audience. Brands submitted 325 new products for us to consider, we narrowed them down to 60 and wrote a blurb to showcase why they were awesome. We’re now in the voting process among an internal team to rank the top 50 pieces of gear for the outdoor industry. It was a big project for us and we were happy to have the opportunity!
Current confession: Writing about gear is so nuanced, and subjective, and this is why Justin and I work so well as a team. He sees a product and can envision how it works and why it stands out, then I put what he says into fancy words. (Plus, there was math involved with the voting, also Justin’s strength). For this project, you really want to cut to the chase using 1-3 sentences. I am known for being long-winded, hence, this was harder than I anticipated! And I continue to learn from editors on the best way to present the information.
Currently worried about: This time of year there’s usually a flood of tourists descending upon Alaska, including our town of Healy and nearby Denali National Park. We feel really, really bad for all the businesses experiencing a revenue loss. “Glitter Gulch” is still a bit of a ghost town, with only a few storefronts open and the traffic lights still covered. Not to mention all the Princess and Holland America properties will remain closed through the summer without any cruises. It’s very surreal. The lack of the tourism revenue stream does strongly impact our borough’s budget (we have no property taxes in Healy because of tourism), so who knows what the long-term repercussions are.
Currently not excited about: At the same time, there’s still a surprising amount of people traveling in state and tons of “traffic” even on our street (which in the summer usually includes more golf carts, 4 wheelers and mopeds than anything). Healy’s population may not have tripled as it usually would in the summer, but it did grow this past month, and I miss the quiet existence the town had in the winter. One of our neighbors (and new friend) said this statement and it is so true: “you can’t simultaneously want to live here and be upset when others want to live and come here too.”
Currently amazed by: Moose babies!!! We have lots of moose sightings (maybe even everyday now that the willow is budding), but this was our first teeny tiny baby moose (calf) sighting. And it was TWINS! And in our backyard! A little moose education for you. The babies weigh 14-20 pounds each and stand about 2 feet tall. But an adult can weigh up to 1800 pounds and 7 feet tall.
Current guilty pleasure: I would say Justin’s guilty pleasure has been GOLF (if you missed it, the previous blog post was dedicated to golf in Alaska). But my guilty pleasure really has been the extra data Verizon added to our hotspot from April until May 31. I’ve been very grateful and spoiled not to constantly monitor our data.
Currently excited about: I mentioned in one of my other posts how Alaska is the land where no one throws anything away and people upcycle as much as they can. We have a pretty active “Healy Yard Sale” Facebook group and we’ve been able to score so many unexpected items (often for free!) to upgrade our cabin decor. The list is long, but includes a bamboo dish drying rack, garbage pail, dining room chairs, a table for our deck, insulation … it’s been fun to divert from the landfill and the saying stands true: one person’s junk is another person’s treasure!
Currently thankful for: We ended up having Justin’s mom and sister brave our storage unit to send a few meager summer supplies. Plus our stores still don’t have hand sanitizer —probably not just because of the virus, but because so many people here live in a dry cabin without water—so Justin’s mom threw in a few bottles because we already used up what my sister sent last month.
Currently regretting: Last month, I bellyached over the fact that we don’t have our summer gear up here in Alaska. But the thing that probably kills us the most is not having our kayaks up here. We live 1 mile from a beautiful lake and it is beckoning us nearly everyday. We might have to break down and buy a used canoe or something up here …
Currently reading: Justin took a reading hiatus this month after completing the 459-page No Barriers by Erik Weihenmayer. As I predicted, it took me the whole month to read it, but it was well worth the length! It’s hard not to feel inspired by all Erik has accomplished, without recognizing that he is blind to boot. Between mountain climbs, kayaking trips and adopting, this books tells it all.
Currently watching on Netflix: We finished Season 1 and 2 of Longmire. It’s not our favorite series, but it was filmed in New Mexico, where we lived from 2016-2018, so it brings back good memories! Not sure if we’ll stick through for all 6 seasons.