Little Susitna and the Rest

So sorry it took me so long to do this, about a week now huh…

Well after working at the cemetary, I worked for 2 days as a cook at Anchorage’s Egan Center, a big convention center. There was a big marathon in Anchorage on the solstice (that’s a big thing here since the sun set’s it’s latest on that day…about 11:50pm) The first day, I put fruit on plates, then put pasta in metal bins/strainers…1700 pounds. the next day we made pork tenderloin and all the other fixin’s. Monday and tuesday Ryan, Eric and I went backpacking, an 8 mile trail along a river. I spotted a black bear across the river valley, it was running really fast. As we hiked we saw many beaver dams/lodges (8 to be exact) then we saw what we thought was a badger, but then later decided that it was a marmot (a big rodent thing) We walked past a beaver pond and saw a beaver slap it’s tail on the water to warn the other beavers of our presence. We crossed a small river, i tried to do it in my boots at first, but then decided to do it bare footed, once again the water was really cold and I almost fell in. as we found a place for lunch, I set down my pack and all of a sudden Eric said “hey theres a porcupine!” it was about 3 feet away from us walking away. We found our way up the mountain and set up camp in a flat tundra area, jagged peaks loomed above us shrowded in clouds. We made rice-a-roni with cold mountain water and went to sleep. ryan woke up at 5:30 and hiked alone for 3 hours while Eric and I slept, Ryan came back and we all slept till 10:30. Ryan and I woke up first and started hiking the rest of the trail, we hiked over rocks, saw another marmot, and then hiked from rock to rock over patches of snow, at times sinking in up to our thighs. We made it to the top where Eric met up with us, we followed the ridge to a valley where there was supposed to be a cabin, we hiked and eventually saw it down the rocky side of the mountain. We each found our own way down, my way was not a good one, I had to hang from a rock, and for a little bit I thought I was stuck in a place, I slipped and almost fell , but eventually made it to the cabin. the cabin was for mountaineers, so we just looked in and went back to our camp, climbing up those rocks, I almost slipped again, but made it up really fast. We packed up camp as it started to rain and then hiked down into the valley. the rain let up and it got sunny, we hiked the 8 miles back out and saw more marmots…i was tired…but not as tired as the last hike.

I started my regular job at the boys and girls club, i make sure the kids aren’t messing around, i discipline them, i organize games, play pool, air hockey, foosball. and walk around the place makign sure everythign is “safe” I lead gym time, and 2 outdoor activities….i taught them ultimate frisbee, they called it soccer frisbee. 5 days a week, 7 hours a day 9-4…7.50 an hour…fine my me!

Weed-Whacking

my arms are sore, i have a blister, and grass-stained pants.

After i had left my last journal entry, Adams and Associats called and hooked me up with a job weed-whacking at a cemetery. I started on thursday at 7:30 am and worked for 8 hours. I had a half an hour break, but otherwise I spent my time getting rid of weeds and long grass that dwelled around the graves of a bunch of dead Alaskans. I did the same today. my right arm shakes like I have tremors because the muscles were so stressed from the past 2 days. I start at 10:00 tomorrow as a cook and I can’t wait….Did I mention that I made and will make 9 dollars an hour for these 4 days..thats 188 in 4 days…better then I have ever made in my life!

Temping

I had an interview at Adams and Associates…a Temp. agency. I will be getting jobs here and there all summer, but most importantly up until the 25th when I start at the B&G’s club. This friday and saturday I will be a cook for banquets that are being held because there is a big marathon thing going on here…A COOK!..it was either that or wash dishes…and for 9 bucks an hour.. I like to cook. and I like money..it all works out…I just might go hiking later today, that might be fun.

B&G of AK

I am now an employee of the Boys and Girls Club. 7.50 an hour, 35 hours a week, and I start the 25th. The lady from the B&G Club hooked me up with a number to call of a lady who has warehouse positions open for me to work until then, and maybe even while I work at the B&G Club, once I have my schedule that is.

This job will help me decide if I want to go into education or not…I might switch to communications, who knows.

Interviews

I went to the first interview at 9:00 this morning, he said that they were looking for someone who was going to be around longer..so Asplund Janitorial Supply is a no-go

I went to my interview at the Boys and Girls Club just a second ago. I think i am going to get that job, they are going to call either tonight or tomorrow. I would make 7.50 an hour for like 35 hours a week…that’s fine by me.

Employment?

So Asplund Janitorial Supply called this morning, they wanted to set up an interview. I interview there tommorrow morning at 9:00 am. I turned in an application at the boys and girls club today, they pay 7.50 for 30 hours a week, I have an interview with them tomorrow at 2:00 pm. I am going to take the job that pays the most per week. Hey I need money and camping gear if I am going to be traveling this summer. not to mention I need cash for things next school year. I am leaning towards the job at Asplund just because if I can get a 40 hour a week job doing the same thing on a fixed schedule that I might be able to ask for days off I would take that over a job with crazy kids, less hours, and perhaps less flexibility. but like I said, whatever pays better is what i want.

The crazy thing is that I have such hard times finding jobs back home, I have to go to alaska to be offered multiple jobs!

Hooray for employment and money!$!

Crow Pass

Monday and Tuesday of this week were probably the 2 most beautiful days of my life. I say this not because I met beautiful people, or had some movie-worthy emotional experience, but because I went backpacking.

Since I do not have a job yet (though I turned in my application to the janitorial supply place, and picked up 2 today, 1 from an office supply warehouse and one from the boys and girls club of Alaska) I had the opportunuty to go backpacking with Ryan Tans and Eric Tans. (I am staying with them all summer) We decided to do a hike called “Crow Pass” I dont know the area very well at all but I was up for anything. Ryan suggested we do the hike over 3 days and 2 nights but I decided that I wanted to do it in 2 days and 1 night because i need to persist in the job search. so it was set, we were going backpacking, my first backpacking trip in Alaska, the land of the midnight sun!

I woke up on monday morning at 7:00am I was planning on calling my mom that morning but i forgot she was in michigan until Tuesday, so I decided to sleep in an extra 20 minutes. We packed up our backpacks the night before and I was up until about 2:00 so waking up was a bit difficult. I grabbed a big muffin out of the freezer and we were off to a friends house to pick up a tent to borrow, we left the house at 8:00. we picked up the tent and drove down the Turnagain arm of the Cook inlet. Along the road I saw a bald eagle perched in a tree. The drive was about an hour long, so we got to the trailhead at about 9:30.

We signed in at the sign-in book and started our ascent into the mountains. The beginning of the hike was somewhat dissapointing because the trail was steep and buggy, and in direct view of a mine with trucks and machinery roaring in the distance.

The hike went on, and for some time was uneventful, there were wildflowers every once in a while but nothing too fantastic. We rounded a bend and saw a big green valley with snow covered peaks rising above on either end. the trail consisted of mostly fist-sized rocks that had slid down the mountain, it was difficult to walk on. I had packed for cold weather but by the time i had hiked up the side of the mountain I had taken off my thermal and was just wearing a t-shirt. We were past the tree line so the only vegetation on the path was tundra and small bushes. We hiked over patches of snow that covered the trail for about a hundred feet and then kept hiking up the side of the mountain further into the valley. We saw old rusted mining equipment and some people that had camped there the night before.

*2.5 miles out of 26. Here is a picture of the mining equipment we found*

mining equipment

The trail continued following the river and led up to a big waterfall. We hiked up to the waterfall and followed the trail as it wound it’s way to the wall of the waterfall. Water crashed down next to us as we hiked on the small trail. We then had to climb the waterfall gorge wall in order to get over the mountain. the waterfall was the lowest point in the surrounding peaks so I guess that is why the trail went there. We sat on some cushy green tundra plants on the top of the waterfall/mountain ridge where we talked, drank water, and saw what we think was a marmot down on some rocks by the waterfall wall.

We pressed on over the ridge and into a snow-covered valley.

*3.5 miles out of 26. This is a picture of the valley that I am talking about, I got it off a guys website, since I dont have a camera yet. The valley was pretty much all snow *

crow pass 1

the river/creek that formed the waterfall flowed through and under the snow in the valley. we hiked on the snow field to a large rock that peaked out of the snow and sat out packs down. I climed some rocks around the river and just explored the area for a while. We ate lunch on that big rock and saw many day-hikers pass through. We explored the snow-covered valley and hills and had amazing views of the peaks of the Chugach Mtn. Range. There was a small “A” shaped cabin in the valley that campers can rent out to sleep in for the night for 50 bucks, we went in it and signed the visitors book and actually found a guys wallet that we took to turn in at the nature center at the end of the trail. We spent about an hour and a half in the valley relaxing and playing around. We had to put our rears in gear because we weren’t even a quarter of the way done for that day.

The snow field that we were hiking on was over 6 feet deep, but it was firm so the only problem was that it was slippery and hard to hike through. we hiked uphill on the snow and reached a rocky area that had tundra plants all around. as we hiked a bit farther I saw my first glacier. Raven Glacier is nestled in a valley of 2 mountain peaks and formed the valley that we were going to be hiking through for the next few hours.

*4 miles out of 26. This is a Picture of the Raven Glacier*

raven glacier

We hiked across the side of a peak covered in the snow. if we would have slipped we would have kept sliding down the mountain down into the valley. after hiking across the mountainside we finally got to hike down it. going down the snowy mountainside was less hiking and more jumping, sliding, and bounding.

We started down the valley following the Raven River. We hiked up a hill where bushes and tundra plants grew all over. the sun started to show itself and it was absolutly beautiful, green hills, snowy peaks, and blue sky. as we hiked over the hills, we were surprised by a mother moose standing up right in front of us. she and her calf were sitting in a divot in the hills. Knowing that mother moose can be very protective of their calves we backed off and took another trail around the hill where we got a nice look at the two who were feeding on the bushes.
We continued on across the river/creek by hopping on rocks and then hiked along our first dirt trail of the trip. The trail consisted of pretty flat dirt single-lane path that followed the raven creek. We then came to a bridge over a giant thundering waterfall. This place is called Raven Gorge and was a great place to take a break (not saying that we didn’t take breaks throughout the whole hike)

*7 miles out of 26. Here is a picture of Raven Gorge*

raven gorge

We crossed the bridge and continued on down the trail. We hiked for miles on rocky trails over hills, through mud, small snow-melt creeks, and patches of alder bushes, making sure to shout to make possible bears aware of our presence. All three of us were very tired, we stopped on a hill in the valley and had a snack, Ryan and Eric took naps and I just lied down. we got up and hiked over 2 more ridges in view of raven creek and then descended into a thick forrest wooded with pine trees. The trail was covered with big rocks sticking out of the dirt as it had been for the past 5 miles. along the trail we saw ahead of us a large dark figure, looking closer I saw the fuzzy antlers and face of a large bull moose. He looked at us and kept eating his dinner of leaves. Then he moved on. We kept hiking and saw the moose again, he was blocking the trail feeding away. We ended up waiting about a half an hour for this moose to finally move off the trail so we could walk past. So we kept hiking through dense forest and finally made it to the eagle river. This river flows from a large glacier called eagle glacier, because of this it is quite silty and not able to be filtered to be drank. *13 miles out of 26*

We took off our boots and put on our sandals, we then forded the river, the water was ice cold and my legs burned when I got out of the water. while we were hiking down the side of the valley we saw a big lake made by eagle glacier, I thought it would be a good idea to camp by it, so we started hiking towards it in our sandals. The lake is not actually on the regular trail so we actually hiked away from the marked trail towards the lake. We hiked over dry river beds and over some pretty bare land next to the river, I crested a hill to get a better look of the area and when I thought I had found a good spot to camp, I saw that somebody else actually was camping there. So we hiked into the woods in search of the lake but instead decided to camp a clearing in the forest.

*Here is a picture of the eagle river, When we saw it it was a bit more grey*

eagle river

I cleared a place for our tent with a stick and Eric and I put it up while Ryan got dinner started. We grabed big rocks from our surroundings and made a fire ring. I “swept” the campsite, got rid of the leaf dander and the moose poop and then started to build a fire. We ate dinner. (fettucini Alfredo) While we were eating we heard some snapping of twigs and rustling of leaves in the distance and every once in a while tried to see what or who it was. At first we assumed it was some hikers passing through but then I stood up to see what it was. I saw a dark back of an animal and said “it’s a moose…” but at second glance I saw it’s face “It’s a bear…a freaking bear!” The black bear had smelled our tasty dinner and came to investigate what smelled so good. Ryan stood up and so did Eric, Ryan got a look at the bear but Eric didn’t I asked Ryan what we were supposed to do and he didnt know. I tried to remember what I had read in my backpacker magazines about if a bear comes to your camp. I shouted at the bear in a strong voice “BEAR! GO AWAY!” the bear turned and started to walk away past the back of our campsite and off into the forrest. We decided that this site was not going to work for us that night so we packed up our things. I lit the fire I had built and proceeded to pack up my things. We hiked out by the river into one of the bare clearings. I made a fire while the other guys set up the tent. Eric went to sleep at 9:30 while Ryan and I stayed up by the fire for another hour. Ryan chose to sleep outside (seeing as that the tent fit Eric and I without a whole lot of room to spare. I went to bed and slept like a baby. I wore a bandanna over my eyes to bed because as I have said in previous entries, it never truly gets night here. Dusk is at 11:30 p.m. I woke up to drizzle but fell asleep again. I woke up again and hear a bit harder rain and the sound of Ryan unzipping the tent to be sheltered from the rain. we packed into the tent and actually slept until 10:30.

The tent was piping hot when we woke up so Ryan jumped out. While I was sitting up Ryan called to us and said “You guys!….check this out!!!” I poked my head out the tent door and saw a military helicopter flying so unbelievably low through the valley. it circled our campsite and flew off over the glacier. We had no idea what the heck was going on. The chopper then came back and buzzed our campsite again and flew off down the Eagle River valley. We got out of our tent and started packing up as a bush plane flew by our campsite and came really close.

We started the day off pretty late so we had to hike pretty fast. We hiked through forest, thick forest. Then it started to rain. The undergrowth in the forest soaked my pants but since I was wearing a poncho and wearing my new pants from REI my shirt stayed dry and my pants dried fast.

We ran out of water so we had to filter water from one of the streams flowing down a mountainside. I was freaking thirsty so I drank a bottle of freshly filtered water and then we were off hiking again. We hiked pretty much non-stop that whole day past waterfalls, rivers, over rivers, and past other backpackers.

*21 miles out of 26. Here is a picture of Heritage falls one of the waterfalls we passed on our hike down the Eagle river*

Heritage Falls

My legs were so freaking tired I almost felt like stopping. We encountered some people that had been backpacking who had seen 5 bears in the past 2 days the guy was “packing heat” he had a 44 magnum for “just in case” But none of their encounters were as close as ours.

As we got closer to the end of the trail, signs got really frequent and the trail widened. We finally reached the nature center at about 6:30 but it was closed. I was so tired and so hungry but since it was closed I had no way to eat, we had to wait around for an hour until Ryan’s mom picked us up so we sat around. We remembered that we had that guy’s wallet and wrote a note in the cabin that we would leave it at the nature center. Ryan knocked on the door and turned in the wallet and got a dollar from me to buy a snickers bar. It was the best candy bar I had ever eaten.

My legs were sore, my feet were sore, my hips were sore, my shoulders were sore, my neck was sore but it was still the best backpacking trip I had ever been on!


Settling In

I am going to turn in an application for that janitorial supply place, then go to a folk music store here in anchorage, then perhaps the library, then most likely a concert with Ryan: Peter Mulvey, Peter Case…and some other guy…

some day within the next 2 months i hope to play an open mic. or two. practice performing is always good, not to mention fun!

I’m gonna go wake up Ryan from his nap and then leave!

Wolverine Peak

Yesterday I hiked up a mountain. I climbed Wolverine peak. Ryan and I hiked 11 miles on a mountain that was 4,455 feet. we hiked over snow melt rivers, tundra, rock, and when we reached the top, a couple hiking the peak pointed out some mountain sheep that were grazing on the other side of the ridge, we followed the other ridge down and actually got pretty close to the sheep. We slid down sheets of snow and hiked down more tundra. My legs were pretty freaking tired since I had not gone hiking in some time. but it was good to get back and go to bed…did i mention that we started hiking at 5:30 and went until 11:30..thats right i still had a shadow on the ground at 11:30 at night…the sunset was quite beautiful on the drive back to the tans casa

Today i put in an application to Thrifty car rental, hopefully that treats me right…otherwise its more applying

Here is a picture of the mountain I climbed. This is a picture taken in winter by someone else.

Wolverine Peak