But I think we're doing alright, living it as we are.
Let me back up a bit, to last weekend. On Friday I visited HR and they made some calls for me, to see if I could get on a flight seeing tour (employee benefits here include free or discounted adventure trips, with tips, if there are spaces unreserved by paying customers). I got placed on a tentative list and spent the day trying not to get too excited about it, in case I got bumped off. I also went down to the river with some friends and got my first fly-fishing lesson. Fun stuff! Now I want to get in to fly-fishing, as well. As if I need another hobby. My friend caught this pretty grayling:
In the evening I showed up and called again to see if my spot was still free--I had the one and only employee spot! Jumped on the shuttle to Healy airstrip, put on a pair of glacier boots and waited for manifest and loading. Glacier boots! We flew up to about 12,000 feet (no cabin pressure) from a starting point of somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000. Came back down to 5,700 and landed on Ruth Glacier, about 9 miles from Denali. It was mostly clear and epically beautiful. Not even very cold--I took my hat and gloves and didn't want them at all. Flew up in a limited edition Beaver:
What a beautiful experience! We flew close to some of the steepest, roughest mountains I've ever seen; over bright turquoise glacial lakes; crevasses so deep you'd have a very large, eternal ice casket should you fall in; over the glacial erratics (40 foot boulders on the top of a ridge, leftovers from an ancient ice monster) I hiked to two weeks prior; across the Nenana River, still brown and furious from snowmelt, but dotted with a few tiny, bright red rafts.
Alaska, the Last Frontier!
Since I'd missed dinner, I stopped at the Thai/Chinese food truck in "the canyon" (outside the park where the hotels and tourist shops are) and had a lovely pad thai dish, a good break from dining hall food, and headed back to "Parkside" where I leave.
The next day I went on a beautiful 7-8 mile hike with these pretty hiking buddies. (We named ourselves the "Onward Hos," hehe.)
We finished off the day with an ice cream stop before heading back for dinner.
Now it's my weekend again--the week went by pretty quickly, though the mosquitos have started to come out at full force. Yesterday I went on another beautiful hike, and today I'm going to see if I can get on a raft ride! I think about my crew fighting fires this summer, and sometimes miss it a little, but I'm pretty happy to be where I'm at! Pretty lucky.