Currently living/working: I guided 9 trips this month, which is almost as many as Justin’s 14. I typically guide less than him since I’m managing the Airbnbs and cleaning, but he was away for a week for Telluride, so I was filling in for him. By day 7 in a row of hitting the alarm at 6 WTF AM, I was excited to be wooed by the soothing sound of the washing machine while I clean toilets.
Current mood: I believe the fast forward button has officially been pressed because we are wizzing through summer.
Currently amazed by and not excited for: We have a seasonal pond in our backyard, and June is the month we see the most moose in our neighborhood. It never gets old, and I freaking love moose (except when they charge me). I love that our wildlife camera captures their behaviors and patterns. I think it’s funny that sometimes they go up to the camera and knock it down. It’s about that time when we’ll start seeing them less (where do they go?), especially since our pond is drying up.
Currently proud of: Justin definitely got his music fill in Telluride with his sister and friends, and I’m so glad he went and did that. It’s hard to get away during the full—very full—summer work craze, and especially hard to forgo income. But Justin is a go-go-go type of guy who has equal parts FOMO and ADHD. Which mean he needs gentle reminders that he doesn’t need to work his tail off … I don’t bring up his Crohn’s often, but his gut health is directly correlated to stress! So I’m relieved to see he when he mixes in more fun with the hard work. (And I had my own fun with my girlfriends while he was away!)
Current guilty pleasure: A friend of Justin’s is a mycophile (mushroom hunter) and he foraged some morels, so we bought a batch for dinner one night and the verdict is YUM.
Currently regretting: We might as well say we no longer have cell service because the network has been so crowded. And at night, it feels like we’re using dial-up! Starlink is looking more and more appealing for our future summers …
Current confession: Justin makes fun of me, but I’ve taken to rockhounding. My geology knowledge is amateur at best, but the best way to describe our landscape is that Denali took a whole bunch of rocks, threw them into a blender and spit out colorful specimens of all shapes. I go collecting with a friend who is way serious about rocks, and actually knows his stuff. I personally just collect a variety of shapes, textures and colors to line the yurt driveway.
Currently thankful for: Usually we have to drive about 2 hours to Fairbanks for all health care appointments, but I was elated when a nonprofit (Breast Cancer Detection Center of Alaska) brought a mobile mammogram unit to Healy this month!!!
Currently worried about: My niece graduated high school this year, and as with most kids these days, she is a bit direction-less. I am trying to help her re-conceptualize “work” apart from the capitalism-driven definition of success. The problem is, you do need money to live. When Justin & I jumped into our non-traditional life, we were by no means rich, but we put in the work to get the life we wanted, which meant some sacrifices and tradeoffs over the years. I’m afraid my niece’s generation doesn’t quite understand—or is unequipped—for the hustle that goes into life … I’m just hoping she can find her way.
Currently excited for: I have forget-me-nots (Alaska state flower) blooming in the yurt yard! Our friend who passed away this year gave out forget-me-not seeds at her wedding, and I threw them everywhere last summer, but nothing bloomed. To my surprise, they bloomed this year. I’d like to think it was her spiritual presence. Thank you Deanna for shining your light in our lives!
Currently reading: I finally finished Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I’ve been reading a chapter here and there in between other books over the course of this year. I admire how Kimmerer picks apart every subject of nature you can think of in a scientific—yet entertaining—way. I would probably reread this one because her descriptions are so mesmerizing.
I’m reading an ARC of Footprint of a Heart by Shayla “Kiddo” Paradeis. I forgot how we got connected with Shayla, but she was an awesome field tester for our Backpacker Magazine categories. Her self-published book about her FIVE (!) thru hikes is coming out this month, and I wrote an endorsement for it. Here’s what I said (if anyone wants to edit or make suggestions, feel free … I’ve never written an endorsement before):
Shayla’s stories are an invitation to experience a variety of trails in a way that reminds us how we thrive in the wilderness. Part poetic ode to the outdoors, part personal reflection, the words on the pages transport you away from the shackles of concrete and congestion; it’s the next best thing to stepping out there yourself. Furthermore, Shayla has a tenderness about her, making you want to schedule an afternoon tea with her to talk about anything and everything.
Currently watching on Netflix/Hulu/HBO Max/Starz/AMC: Every once in awhile, we can get Below Deck to load, but who needs streaming when Mother Nature puts on a show 24 hours/day.