Currently living/working: We are still in the go-go-go stage of the typical boom and bust arc of Alaska life. For me, it’s a juggling act of managing our yurt, cleaning other people’s airbnbs, guiding and writing. For Justin, it’s mostly just guiding (like 6 days a week) and writing. Figuring out when Justin & I will see each other and fit in fun dates and cabin/yurt projects has been tricky with all the moving parts, to say the least! We keep saying, “I’ll see you in the winter!”
Current mood: My body and energy is still pulsing with frenetic energy that comes with the long daylight hours (still around 17 hrs with the sunset around 11pm).
Current guilty pleasure: It seemed like everyone this month was traveling but me! Although admittedly, I don’t like to leave Alaska during the summer, nor is it very easy with my cleaning schedule. Anyway, Justin took a quick trip to Denver to feed his soul with some live music, something he misses greatly here in Alaska. He saw 11 bands in 3 days ranked in this order of favorite performances: Poison, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lumineers, Def Leopard, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Haim, Gregory Allan Isakov, Daniel Rodriguez, Motley Crue, Classless Act and Thunder Cat. His sister won tickets to most of these shows, so as soon as she invited him, he justified the trip.
Meanwhile, my mom spent 2 weeks gallivanting around NJ with her siblings. I’m so happy for her and the QT she is spending with her brother (Alaska), sister (NJ) and brother (NJ).
While Justin was out and about grooving in Denver, I actually attended my first Alaskan wedding! My hiking buddy (Sammie) got married right on Otto Lake. It was so beautiful!
Currently proud of: I had really low expectations for our yurt rental this summer, but reviews (17 5-star reviews to be exact!!) have been fantastic and I achieved Airbnb Superhost Status! I don’t know what the status means, but it feels good!!!
Currently thankful for: We welcomed the rain in July, as the trees, bushes & grasses get to take a break from their struggle to live and the hot breath of the forest fire stopped breathing down our neck. The nearby Clear fire was still devastating (about 10 structures including one year-round home and 70,000 acres burned). And we are still very dry and at risk for fires. But the insane amount of thunderstorms finally stopped in July. Let me paint that picture. In 2021, my fancy weather station recorded 9 lightening strikes all year. Just in June and July of 2022, it more than 200! Weird weather patterns!
Currently worried about: I’ve definitely been more intentional about our time this summer and making sure to prioritize projects for the cabin and yurt when the weather is good. However, our epic to do list keeps growing as the summer is shrinking, so sadly I know we won’t get it all checked off before winter arrives.
Currently not excited for: This feels like the shortest summer ever after the longest winter ever. Once our snow melted (May 20?), it warmed up fast and furious for all of June, which caused a rush of leafing and flowering and pollinating. However, most of the flowers have now turned to seed and we even received our first dusting of snow (aptly called termination dust)! I’m trying not to panic, but I’m pretty sure we’re at intermission and winter’s dance comes next.
Currently amazed by: This is not really my story to tell, but we had a friend break her foot while hiking in Suntrana Canyon (in Healy) this month. She actually called us at first in distress to come out to help her with her dog that was stuck on a cliff, but by the time we had gotten to her, she had fallen and was injured. Justin and I both are Wilderness First Responders, and we both went quickly into action! I’m pretty pleased with myself and my skills! I’ve never had to use my WFR in the field, and wondered how I would do should the situation arise. I always had faith in Justin, as he is very quick thinking on his feet for emergencies, but I sort of doubted myself. Anyway, we saved the dog, assessed our friend’s situation, called for rescue through our volunteer Tri-Valley Fire Department, wrapped up her foot and helped carry her out in a basket.
Currently regretting: Our friend had the check written for our borough’s Ambulance Plan, but never got around to sending it. Justin was adamant that we buy into it as soon as we moved here, but thankfully we have not had to use it.
Currently excited about: Blueberry season! I was actually guiding folks on a hike today and we identified 8 different edible berries, including blueberries. I’m really hoping Justin & I can sneak off for a backpacking trip together this month and spend some time foraging for blueberries.
Current confession: Had a few terrible days with cleaning this month, where I had to do other people’s dishes and clean up human poop (right next to the outhouse no less). Makes me wonder why I chose this as one of my occupations, but also makes me question the hygiene of our human race!
Currently reading: Two books complete this month, and I loved them both!
I read Degloved: Every Scar Has a Story by Adelaide Perr. This book is a harrowing tale of a bike crash on Route 36 outside of Lyons, Colorado, in 2014. Adelaide is an elite triathlete who bikes daily, but on a downhill training ride in a wide-open area, a driver ran through a stop sign. Adelaide had seconds to react and hit the brakes, skidding 50 feet, and hit the car going 10 mph. Her head and shoulder went through the window, breaking many bones and ripping off half her face. Yes, it’s as bad as it sounds.
I simply can’t say enough about Adelaide as a writer and a person; she’s a freaking inspiration. She thankfully made a full physical recovery eventually—not without many challenges—but I am more in awe of her mental stamina to get through such a huge trauma and recovery. Her raw and honest vulnerability through the pages is admirable. The book captures not only the irreparable emotional damage she suffers, but the secondary traumas experienced by her partner and her family. I’m angry because the driver got off with a $1000 fine, 4 points on his license and 200 hours of community service! So unfair in my opinion.
I also read A Year in the Wilderness: Bearing Witness in the Boundary Waters by Amy & Dave Freeman, which was a major dose of inspiration. Not only did I love Amy & Dave’s writing style, but the couple spent a year in the Boundary Waters Wilderness in every season with the purpose of understanding its inner workings. The intent was to take a stand to protect the watershed from commercial development, particularly copper mining. Their efforts were part of a bigger campaign, and after their year in the wilderness, some mining leases were ultimately denied (I think they were eventually overturned, but that’s beside the point). This is a dang good book with some poetic nature descriptions. Made me feel like I was there!
Currently watching on Netflix/Hulu/HBO Max/Starz/AMC: Nada. Although we did watch that new Netflix movie, The Gray Man, and it was awesome.
I’m working on analysis of those mining leases, probably shouldn’t say more here, but will email you. As a cleaner of many forest toilets, I hear you.
You need to watch edge of the earth on HBO. You’ll love it! Didn’t you attend a wedding in Skagway!? I’ll like Justin’s John Muir shirt. Good order of musicians too. It was a fun run of shows together!
Oof, to the toilet issue. I have noticed a downgrade in toilets in the last couple of years paired with a lot of access issues—many places we have gone recently have “broken” bathrooms or closed ones and I’m just like, y’all know we are just going to start peeing on the side of the road right?
I’m glad your friend was rescued and it wasn’t too terrible.
And yay for blueberries!
Send some cool weather to us!