Currently living/working: We’re still maintaining a dizzying schedule of guiding (Justin), cleaning toilets/outhouses (mainly me) and tons of freelance content creation project (mainly me). This is all part of the Alaska norm—work a harried summer schedule, get ALL the outdoor projects done before the snow hits, and spend as much time outside playing as possible, then hibernate in the winter. But I’m think I’m still getting used to this because July seemed particularly chaotic.
Current mood: One of my bosses commented on our weekly meeting that you always have to remember in life to eat the elephant one bite at a time, and I’ve adopted that as my motto and have to keep reminding myself of that. I feel like every few days, it is necessary to sit down and download everything from my head to paper and computer. Otherwise, those open brain tabs swirl around driving me crazy and get lost in my mind!
Currently worried about: Jury duty. I’ve been called for this civic duty, and for some reason it’s for the court in Fairbanks, 2 hours away. I’ve talked to so many Healyites who say when they’ve been called to duty, it’s within our borough, with the court about an hour away. For some reason, not the case for me. I really don’t mind serving, but it will certainly disrupt my cleaning and other work schedule, plus I don’t fancy temporarily moving to Fairbanks! I’m on call for the 4 weeks of August, but so far for my first week, I don’t have to report. 3 more weeks to go!
Currently proud of: Justin participated in our community’s annual golf tourney (Healy Tundra Challenge Golf Tournament) again this year, and while his team didn’t do very well (as opposed to winning in 2020), Justin hit the closest to the pin shot!! That prize happened to be a 65-inch TV. We don’t have 65 inches of wall space in our 300-square-foot cabin, soooooo as nice as it was, what would we do with that massive TV? Luckily, the nonprofit sponsoring the event needed a large TV for their new facility, and we exchanged cash for the TV. Win-win!
Currently not excited about: August is typically the rainiest month in Alaska. The only time we went backpacking this summer (so far) also happened to coincide with the only time there was a huge rain, thunder and lightening storm. We were on the ridge when the worst of it hit. Since we were above treeline (only at 3,120 feet), we hunkered down for about 30 minutes among some alder bushes and counted between lightning & thunder (we think the closest was 3 miles, so phew). Some would ask, didn’t you experienced backpackers check the forecast? Of course we did and we knew there would be rain at some point, but if there is one thing true about Alaskan weather forecasts, it’s that it’s pretty unpredictable. The lightening was not in the forecast until it was happening. Plus, if we wait for a clear day coinciding with days off to get out there during our waning summer, we’ll only be tallying missed opportunities. I sure hope we can get out there a little more before summer disappears!
Currently thankful for: Funerals are equal amounts emotionally draining & uplifting. I am so glad I went to NJ earlier this month for my Nana’s funeral. I saw family I hadn’t seen in years, and of course quality time with my mom & sister is the best!
Current guilty pleasure: SALADS. Although my container garden isn’t producing much (again), tis the short Alaskan season for farmer’s markets and fresh produce!
Current confession: We are still indulging once per week enjoying the 20+ local restaurants that won’t be open in our area come winter. Since we have very different schedules these days, it’s nice to reconnect over date night once in awhile! One thing to note, we are doing this with a major dose of patience, as should everyone in their travels. There have been cutbacks in operating hours and a shortage of workers, so we expect long waits and/or service issues. Still worth it!!!
Currently amazed by: I did work with Justin as a “guide” one day and had fun! He had guests request a “how to go backpacking” class before they went into Denali National Park’s backcountry for 3 nights. There were 6 people, most of which have never been backpacking, let alone in Alaska. Since we’ve done this as a team many times before, he invited me to join him. We taught them everything from how to go to bathroom in the woods to what to do to stay safe in bear country. This is where Justin & I excel together—teaching these types of workshops—so it was fun. He is BEGGING me to come work for Traverse AK next summer, but I am not convinced …
Currently regretting: I haven’t seen a grizzly bear yet. Justin has seen 5 bears, and actually had an up close encounter with one as he was loading his Traverse Alaska guests into the vehicle … not sure if I am jealous or terrified of that. And actually, I haven’t even seen as many moose as last summer! They are in our neighborhood, but we just haven’t seen them as much.
Currently reading: I finished Johanna Garton’s Edge of the Map: The Mountain Life of Christine Boskoff. I have mad respect for the story Johanna told about Christine; it took a ton of research. Spoiler alert: Christine is a badass who died while mountaineering. So the story involved a lot of interviews about Christine, but obviously not with Christine. Johanna did a phenomenal job of pulling it all together.
I often throw in celebrity memoirs to my outdoor adventure nonfiction reading list. So I just finished Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey. I didn’t love it. Not only did I dislike his whimsical storytelling style (he might be smoking some leftover from Dazed & Confused), but I also thought he came off egotistical (at times) about his good fortune.
Currently watching on Netflix/Hulu/Apple TV/HBO Max: We finished Season 4 of Outlander (Netflix), but honestly, we are have little attention by nightfall these days to be watching anything substantial. The Olympics fill a mindless void at the end of our long work days.
Last, but not least, we are currently excited about our big purchase coming soon …