Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sadie and I passing the time while we wait for the pilot car to come and lead us through the road construction

The photo quality isn't that great, but this is the "aurora summeralis" that we saw one night this week

The sky always looks so pretty between midnight and 1am when the sun goes behind the mountains...

First week of tour buses!

I thought that last week was busy, but this week we had even more work to do! Starting on Monday night, the Princess/Holland America tour buses started arriving. We had a new bus come each night this week, so everyone had to work longer hours. I managed to get out a few evenings to go for a run, but other than that, my schedule this week has mostly just been work, eat, watch tv, sleep. On Tuesday evening, Sadie and I went to help Chad bring one of the tour vans back from Wiseman after it had gotten dropped off for a river float tour. I got to drive the van back from Wiseman to first experience driving on the Dalton Highway! We had to wait for around a half hour in the road construction that is being done, but luckily Sadie had her computer with her for entertainment. The co-workers are no longer allowed to order an individual meal off of the menu, because the buffet is now out every night (and it's so much better than the regular menu). Who would've thought that a truckstop in Coldfoot, AK would serve things like glazed pork loin, spinach gratin, and baklava, just to name a few! The mosquitos are out in full force now; almost everyone has bug bites. Good thing I brought 100% deet bug spray, although even that doesn't work all of the time. Hopefully next week will bring a more interesting blog entry; I think after this week we will all be more used to the buses coming in and will get into a routine to get things done a little quicker.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Inside of my tent!

Looking out at the view above the lake
Vanessa, Sharon, and I at the lake off of the Chandalar trail

Toby and Lightning taking a break in the puddles to cool off

Busy week!

Sorry it's been so long since my last post, this week has been a little busy. The first Holland America bus with toursits arrives on Monday, so we have all been getting the camp ready for the guests and the crew guys. On Tuesday, all of the tour guides that work out of the Fairbanks office came to Coldfoot to get their orientation. They will be the ones that lead the tours that go from Fairbanks, to Coldfoot, and then to the Arctic Ocean or other destinations up north. We grilled out and all ate hamburgers and then had ice cream sundaes. We also have gotten a few new co-workers this week. Yesterday Brian (one of the new co-workers) and I went for a hike down the Chandalar trail. We brought 2 of the dogs with us, they ran with us the entire time. Today me, Vanessa, Sharon, Cory, Cory (new co-worker), and Kevin (new co-worker) all hiked the Chandalar trail together. We made it all the way to the lakes on the other side of one of the foothills. It was tiring, walking through lots of tussocks, but the view of the lakes was worth it. It has been pretty cold at night in the tents, but luckily I have a warm sleeping bag so it's not too bad. I definitely have put my sleeping mask to good use, because it's so bright in the tents at night. Tomorrow is my day off, so I will probably just relax and rest up from this busy week!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mom and baby moose in the background

Moved into the tent

So I am all moved into my tent now, and last night I slept out there for the first time. It was a little bit cold, but not too bad. It doesn't really get dark anymore, so that helps keep the temperature up. A few days ago Sharon, Teslin, Cory, Vanessa, and I went to Wiseman to visit the gift shop that is now open. I got a few postcards, and while we were there we borrowed a Yahtzee game that they keep in the Wiseman communtity center so we could play it later that night. Yesterday Sharon, Vanessa, and I walked down to the Koyukuk River and hung out for a while (and by "hung out", I mean we just sat there and skipped rocks for an hour). It's funny how we manage to find random ways to keep ourselves busy up here. Today we got another new co-worker, and we will be getting a few more by the end of this week. I just got back from a midnight walk with Teslin and Marshall, and while we were out we saw a mom and baby moose! We were able to get close enough to get a few pictures!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

View from the hike

Toby and Lightning jumping up to give me kisses!
So much green and no more snow on our walk today!

Everything is turning green!

Today Cory, Lacy, and I went on a hike down the Chandalar trail. We took 2 of the sled dogs, and we walked until we got to Slate Creek a few miles away. I started to notice all of the trees and plants; they are turning bright green and everything is getting more colorful. The weather has been getting pretty warm, and all of the snow is gone. All of the co-workers moved out into the tents today, so tonight will be my first night sleeping outside! The funny thing is, the inside of the tent is probably bigger than the room I have been staying in. Yesterday, a few of us went to the gravel pit about 3 miles up the road and did some target shooting with Will's gun. On the way to the pit, we saw 5 moose; they are starting to come out a lot more now. It's currently raining outside, so tonight seems like a good night to read and attempt to get some sleep (even though it's so much more fun to stay up and enjoy the 24 hour days!)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Vanessa, Justin, Sadie, and I (and Denali, of course) stopping to take a break

The view of Coldfoot down below

Finally reaching the summit!!
Justin, Sadie, me, and Teslin at the top of Shockpoint

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Climb to the top of Shockpoint

On Saturday a group of us (me, Sadie, Vanessa, Teslin, and Justin, and Sadie & Justin's dog Denali) decided t0 hike to shockpoint mountain and climb to the top. To be honest, I didn't expect it to be as hard as it was. Before we even reached the base of the moutain, we had to walk through a huge field of tussocks, which are small areas of raised ground surrounded by a marsh. They are extremely difficult to walk through, and I was out of breath before we even reached the mountain. Then we finally started walking uphill, looking towards the summit. There are no trails up here, so we all had to walk through trees, branches, shrubs, and just about everything else that could grow and get in the way of walking a straight path. We stopped for numerous breaks along the way, but we all eventually made it to the summit! The view was amazing. We sat at the top and had a snack before descending back down, which took a lot less time, of course. It took us about 8 hours to do it, and I don't think my legs have ever been so sore, but it was so much fun. Hopefully we will be able to do it again sometime soon!
P.S. The internet isn't working very well right now (good old Coldfoot internet...), so check back for the pictures tomorrow night!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

mmmm.....Coldfoot mac n' cheese

Our Cinco de Mayo snow!

Lots of new co-workers, and a little more snow

Just thought I would share with everyone that it snowed here the other day! The weather has been warming up, but 2 days ago I looked out the window and it was snowing outside. I guess it will be a little bit longer until we move into the tents. We have gotten a few new co-workers over the past week. Sharon and Will, who are coming here after working in Antarctica. Sharon works with me, Sadie, Teslin, and Vanessa, and Will is going to be a guide on some of our summer tours. We also got another kitchen person, Lacey, and a server, Jay. The amount of people here just keeps growing, and because there are so many co-workers now, there is always something to do. It doesn't really get dark anymore, which is great; I feel like I can do so much each day. The kitchen made mac n' cheese favorite. Kristin and I tried out Skype tonight, and we actually got it to work! Everyone should let me know if they ever want to try it!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Another pretty view from the hike

Vanessa, Sadie and I reaching our hiking destination!
Taking a break from the hike

View after running to the top of the hill (notice the road down below)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Hiking and new photos

I don't have much to write about today, but I took a few photos that I wanted to post. Yesterday I had the day off, so I spent most of the day just relaxing and hanging out around camp. I went for a run along the Dalton and discovered the worst hill I have ever tried to run; it was really steep, so I made it about halfway to the top running and then walked the rest of the way up. The view from the top was beautiful. We got another new co-worker last night, Vanessa. Today after we got done with work, Vanessa, Sadie, and I went for a 6 mile hike past the top of that hill I attempted to run to the top of yesterday. We hiked to a big gravel pit that had another amazing view. I had pancakes again for dinner tonight (I can't get enough of these pancakes!!). The weather has been great: sunny almost every day lately and not too cold. We have even been able to eat outside at the picnic tables for the last few days. That's all for today...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Koyukuk River, perfect setting for a bonfire (and look how much of the snow on the mountains has melted already!)

Jackie, Sadie, and I down by the river

Cory and Joel, 2 of my fellow co-workers, hanging out at the bonfire


It's official: I have been living in Coldfoot for one month! Last night we had a bonfire down by the Koyukuk River for one of the winter season co-workers that is leaving to go work at the Yukon River camp. The crowd was mostly co-workers, but some of the crew guys that are staying here joined us, and a couple that was staying at the Inn showed up. I had a great time getting to know the people I had never talked to, and I even got a chance to try some caribou that we grilled out. It was actually pretty good; it tasted like a healthier version of beef. We stayed out until it got completely dark, which doesn't happen now until about 1am. Today was back to the daily grind of work, which wasn't bad at all, because as long as I get all of my work done I can start whenever I want (well, for now anyway, until the busy summer season starts). It snowed again today, but luckily it wasn't cold enough for the snow to stick to the ground. I picked out the tent I will be staying in, and I will probably start moving my stuff into it next week. I'm actually looking forward to the tent experience. I have the day off tomorrow...I will talk to everyone again soon!