Plans Change

So the plan to go to Denali (the national park which contains the tallest mountain in North America) fell through because of God. The mixture of rain and melting snow has flooded the middle of the state near Denali. Parts of the highway are closed, the water actually has flooded rivers and filled streets and started floating away cabins. So instead of hanging around the park and hiking all over, we are going to do a hike called “Resurrection Pass” it is a 38.5 mile traverse on an old trail that was used by miners. We are going to leave on Friday after I get off of work, have Mrs. Tans drive us about 100 miles, drop us off, and then we are going to hike for 3.5 days. close to 40 miles…that will be cool…perhaps someday I will build up to the Appalation Trail when I am in my 30’s or 40’s…but for now I am happy with 38 miles.

Our manager got fired…she threatened people to keep them from reporting the bad things that she does…that didn’t go over well so she is gone. The mood at work was one of relief and joy.

g’night!

Bored and Frustrated

I may have sounded lonely and depressed in the last entry, but now I am just frustrated and bored. I am frustrated with the managment at work, and how the manager and he head guy in charge are mistreating the assistant manager, and being completly unreasonable. The manager is a flakey woman, the head guy in charge of the B&G club is on her side and he is just mean and unreasonable. I can’t help but get involved with the unfair treatment of me and my colleagues. If the assistant manager gets fired or quits because of any mistreatment or craziness, there are about 4 or 5 of us planning on walking out. Even though I may need that extra 2 weeks (i put my 2 week notice in anyway) I would be willing to walk out to stand for justice and to fight for a positive work environment. I don’t think it will happen, bu I am willing….

I am getting bored with coming home to the same house, and sitting around all night…it is good that I will be going to Denali on friday…

hope everyone I know is awesome, and that they are not bored or frustrated

Homesick

I really have to say that I am eager to get back to a place where I know people, know what there is to do on a friday night. As the days go by I find myself getting more and more frustrated with work, and bored at home. you can only visit the same websites so many times (they don’t change themselves every hour) I don’t have any friends here, I have my temporary brothers, but Ryan works when I don’t and Eric either sits around, or is out with his own friends. I have made a friend from church through Ryan, but he also works, and were not that close where we will just hang out whenever. I am getting kind of lonely, missing home, night, crickets, reall rain (not drizzle). I love the mountains, don’t get me wrong, but I only see them when I ride my bike to and from work. and when I go backpacking on random weekends. I hope that my trip next weekend is fantastic, I hope that the trip to kodiak pans out. I hope that my roomates e-mail me. It is really depressing when the only e-mails you get back are either from ebay or from the people from Kodiak Island answering questions about ferry’s, planes, and trails. It’s not like I haven’t been sending e-mails. I haven’t heard from my future roomates since the first 2 weeks that I got here. I have e-mailed them twice asking questions and tellgin them to write, but i have got nothing back…that is frustrating.

I’m ready to come home, I’m ready for Palos Heights and GR, I’m ready for friends, and ready to see my girlfriend. I miss hanging out with everyone, I don’t know anything about sports, Anchorage public school staff, people from Anchorage, world politics, or whatever it is that the people surrounding me talk about. I want to make fun of Raelson, and hear Brian’s hilarious laugh, I want to hear Burry playing guitar in the background, I want to share inside jokes with Leah, I want to eat my mom’s cooking, hang out with my brother, his girlfriend, and roomate, I want to just be with my girlfriend.

I am making it sound like I am miserable, it is really nice here, no one should ever love their summer job to death, being away from everyone and everything you know isn’t supposed to be easy, I love the scenery and I really can’t complain, I am getting paid more than I ever have before, I am getting free room and board, and I have a comfy bed to sleep in. I will be home for only 8 days, and then I am off to school. I am gonna give my momma a big hug…but now I am gonna mill around the house, then go to sleep. g’night.

Glacier Pictures

Here are some pictures from our Glacier hike on the 4th of July weekend in McCarthy

Ryan, Me, and Eric on the glacier, a big ice-fall in the back
root glacier 3
Me on the Glacier, with mountains in the back
glacier1
The three of us in a glacial cave, solid ice walls, ceilings, and floor
root glacier 2
Me touching the curved, blue, ice walls at the mouth of the cave
root glacier 4

I will try to get more pictures from this trip, and also the hike up Bird Ridge, maybe even a few from work
these are the first reall pictures from MY trip to Alaska…the other ones were all found on the internet

Frustration

For the first time in my Xanga history, My entry yesterday was lost. aAter writing it, I gave up and waited until today.

Last wednesday I forgot to mention that I saw Dar Williams in concert. She is a folky singer-songwriter and is an amazing songwriter, has a hilarious stage presence, and her music is very good, it was an all around good cocert, I would highly encourage all to look into her music.

I was planning to go backpacking this past weekend but my friend backed out on me, so i just ended up doing laundry, and sleeping in. I went hiking with the guys on sunday afternoon. Basically it was hiking up mountain on a 45 degree angle with no stairs for 3 hours. For those of you who have never hiked up a mountain, you dint hike down, you run, or stumble slowly, I did both. I wasn’t sore when I would walk on flat ground, but when I would go down or climb stairs, my legs killed.

Work is very stressful, a lot of crazy staff politics, and ill-behaven children. one kid got caught with a knife, kids fight, today some girls found a 4 year old at the park, she had wandered away fom home, so we talked to her in the club and she said she knew how to get home. I walked with her back home and she led me the wrong way…so we had to turn back, walking at 4 year old pace. We found her house, a trailer. Inside was her mother, bright pink hair, no older than 25, and she was not wearing very modest clothing. My manager wanted to talk to the mom, so I walked with the mom back to the club, it turned out that she works nights and leaves her daughter with her grandparents, when she is home she sleeps in the day and keeps the doors double deadbolted, letting her daughter fend for herself…today she forgot to lock the doors.

I am gonna get going, I took a nap, and I’m gonna find something to do.

Good to Have a Job

well, I guess it is good that I have a good-paying job, because I like backpacking gear…I really only have had one paycheck but it is gone…i get payed tommorrow

I bought a very nice backpack, a very good tent, cookset, paid for trips, food, and ordered books, and a rain jacket. I will get a stove and water filter…and a platypus water resevoir. I am not overly materialistic, i just want to be able to have good trips….after i have the things needed to survive in the wilderness, im done. I don’t need more weight in my pack.

I plan on perhaps taking a week-long trip to Kodiak island…very scenic…anyway…I shall write more at a later date

Solitary Backpacking Pt 2

When we left off, our hero was slowly drifting off into a world of slumber. As the morning sun slowly rose over the top of Mount Williwaw, the rays of sunlight diffused through the golden nylon wall of Josh’s tent. His watch alarm went off and he opened his eyes. It was 9:00 and the tent was already too warm for Josh to be lying in a sleeping bag. Josh put on some clothes, unzipped the door of the tent, pulled out his sleeping pad and started getting ready to make breakfast. He was a bit worried about this one, freeze dried scrambled eggs and bacon sounded a little iffy. he pulled out the stove and boiled the correct amount of water. He poured the boiling water into the foil pouch and then sealed it up. the eggs and bacon had to soak up the water for 5 minutes. In the mean time, Josh boiled water for honeydew melon white tea that he had brought along. The eggs and bacon were done soaking, so he poured off the excess water, poured his breakfast into a pot that would serve as his eating bowl and then poured himself a nice hot cup of tea. The eggs werent bad at all adn the bacon, even though it was more bacon bits than bacon, was also quite delicious. (of course anything is yummy to a person who has hiked 5 miles with a heavy pack on his back and had little to eat) He ate his breakfast, washed the dishes in the creek, and headed up the hill to explore what was up the trail. He hiked a little to see what was at the end of the valley, at about 10:30 he turned around and headed back for camp, he took down the tent and started to pack up his gear. he was out on the trail and heading back the way he came by 11:00. He passed the lakes again, seagulls screeching in their aggitated fashion. Since it was one of the warmest days of the summer, Josh decided that he would take a quick dip in the lake. The gulls eyed him waiting for any sudden move. he walked slowly over the smoothe rocks under the water. He decided that it would be too hard to walk all the way out to the middle of the lake to swim, so he went in up to his waist and submerged his body into the cold water. he walked out of the water and dried off, put on his pack and started to hike again. the seagulls screamed at him and swooped down on his head. they dropped pebbles (at least he thought it was pebbles, it didn’t splatter when it hit the rocks) the birds came within 6 inches of his head. he began to run from them, for fear of getting hit or pooped on. once he was out of range of the seagulls he looked down at his wrist to see what timem it was. He was shocked to see nothing there, he had left his watch on the rocks when he went in the lake. Josh ran back to his swimming spot, grabbed his watch and, once again, the gulls swooped and screamed at him. The hike continued for a few miles, Josh decided that he would take his first break at a large rock that he saw on the hike in, He must have not been paying attention to his surroundings enough, because he never found that rock. He hiked 3 miles to the trail marker, and sat down on his pack to have a granola bar (he had not remembered to pack a lunch) and drink a few gulps of water. He hiked over hills, streams and over the planks that he had slipped on before, remembering to take it slow this time around. as he hiked down the trail he saw a hawk soaring in the sky. He whipped out his monocular and got the bird in focus. He watched as it circled the area. The hawk started getting closer, and closer, and as the seagulls before, it began to swoop down, but not as close as the gulls. he hiked faster and eventually the hawk left him alone. The whole hike back josh saw a total of 31 hikers on the trail where only yesterday night he had seen just 3. He reached th trailhead at 2:00 and sat for 2 hours waiting to be picked up at his designated times. He had gotten a bit sunburn on the top of his arms, and saw many other people arriving in the parking lot. he got picked up and took a nice long nap. His first solitary backpacking trip over, he decided that it was more fun to backpack with a friend.

Solitary Backpacking Pt 1

This weekend I went backpacking alone…ooh..

Our hero had recently bought a new backpack and cookset, and with plans for a weeklong backpacking trip forming in his mind, he decided that he would put his new gear to the test and also see if that freeze-dried food was palatable.

For quite some time he has had a desire to be alone in the wilderness. Years of reading writings by Thoreau and visiting Walden pond himself a year prior, his longing for solitude had to be appeased. The opportunity presented itself on July 11, after work he was going to get a ride to the trailhead, and hike in 5.5 miles to Williwaw lakes.

Josh got off work at 4:00, packed his new Gregory Shasta full of camping gear and hopped in the car. Eric drove him to the Glen Alps trailhead to which they arrived at 6:00, but the Alaska sun was still high in the sky. The hike started out on an access road that followed a powerline cutting through the valley. Josh had traveled this road 2 weeks prior with Ryan where they spotted 14 moose on the opposite side of the valley. While the moose were so far that they appeared to be only as large as a pinkie-nail held at arms length, the sheer number outweighed their distance. Enough about that hike, back to the mountain solitare. Josh turned off the access road and onto the first leg of the trail. the trail led to a large bridge that spanned the flowing waters of the South Fork Campbell Creek. The book in which this particular hike was found stated that after the creek crossing the trail could be quite soggy, the author was right. Josh squiched through muddy soil and across planks laid down on the trail. tracks of previous hikers, dogs and moose scattered the muddy trail as Josh hiked. As he walked along a plank and neared the end, he noticed that the next plank was not within stepping distance, and between these two planks sat a gloppy mass of mud. Josh jumped from the edge of the plank that he was on and soared towards the plank in front of him. his foot landed and slipped out from under him on a thick layer of mud that covered the plank. He fell backwards and plunged his arm deep into the thick mud. His backpack loaded with about 40 lbs of gear landed behind him on the plank, keeping the rest of his body from tipping into the surrounding mud. the mud slurped as Josh pulled his arm out, he stood up and opened his Nalgene water bottle to wash the mud off his elbow, wrist, watch, and hand. As he hiked on, he eventually reached a small stream and spotted the crisp footprint of a black bear in the stream bank. Josh recalled the sign that stated: “YOU ARE IN BEAR COUNTRY, HIKE AT YOUR OWN RISK” Knowing that in order to avoid an encounter with a bear, you must let them be aware of your presence, he sang outloud as he hiked through a patch of alders. the trail winded on, and Josh saw a pair of Backpackers setting up camp on a hillside. He reached the intersection of 2 trails and followed the one to Williwaw lakes. The trail marker said that it was still 3 miles to the lakes, which meant that Josh had hiked 2 miles in about 50 minutes. The trail wound over hills, over streams, and past dried up ponds, which were now just pits of dark rocks. As Josh hiked over the crest of a hill, he spotted the first of the chain of Williwaw lakes, he hiked closer. Josh hiked over boulders and as he neared the lake, the sound of seagulls echoed in his ears. The gulls flew closer and screeched with anger in their voices. As Josh hiked along the banks of the lakes, the seagulls swooped closer and closer, they must have been protecting their territory because they were coming within inches of his head. Josh began to run from the gulls and away from the lakes. He found a suitable camp site, complete with a fire-pit made of rocks by previous hikers. He decided that this would be the place that he would spend the night.

Josh pulled the tent from his backpack and unfurled the nylon sanctuary. He inserted the poles into the sleeves and pushed the tent into being. The golden dome shone bright in the setting sun but was abruptly muted with the addition of the rattan colored rain-fly. After the tent was set up, Josh moved on to dinner, he retrieved the foil pouch of freeze dried beef stew, the fuel cartridge,the stove, and his new MSR cookset. he screwed the stove onto the fuel cartridge and attempted to light it. Either it was the fact that this cartridge was new and had not been given the opportunity to allow the isobutane to work it’s way through the inner workings, or perhaps it was just too windy, either way the stove would not light while even remotely out in the open. Josh took his pots, food, stove and spoon up a hill and hid close to an exposed rock face. Nestled between the rock wall and a large boulder, he lit the stove with a stormproof match, the stove sputtered and then, in a jet-stream of fury bellowed out a constant flame. He put his pot, which contained only 1.5 cups of water,over the flame. he ripped open the foil package and opened the mouth of the plastic bag within. Upon opening the lid of the pot, Josh was surprised to see the water was already boiling, he quickly poured in the steaming water and closed up the plastic bag. Josh shut off the stove, gathered up his things and made his way back to the campsite. Josh opened up the bag of stew, poured it into an empty pot and started skarfing it down. Perhaps it was the fact that he haden’t eaten since lunch, and now it was already 9:30, that made the stew seem so palatable, Either way at that moment it tasted great. He ate the remaining bits of beef, peas, potatoes, and carrots and washed his pot in the Midle Fork Campbell Creek that cut through the valley and laid next to his campsite. After dinner he decided that since there already was a firepit constructed complete with firewood strewn about the site, he would make a fire. He broke some small twigs and placed them between the charred skeletons of two logs that sat within the ring of stones. Striking a stormproof match (the only kind he had brought) he attempted to set the twigs aflame. He had no luck. A second try turned out to be even less fruitfull than his first. The wind had been too strong, and the lack of tinder was not helping the situation. Josh decided to give it one final try. Sheltering the pile of twigs with the Thermarest sleeping pad (which he had borrowed from the Tans’s, Along with the stove and tent) he leaned in and lit two matches. the flame died down, but then miraculously started to blaze, the flame turned into flames, and flames into fire, then fire into a blazing fountain of heat, light, and dancing tounges of fire. the smell of smoke was heavy in the air, keeping all mosquitos at bay. Josh thought to himself, as he does every time he smells campfire smoke “why can’t they make a cologne that smells like this?” Josh sat down on the sleeping pad, and then pushed his body into his sleeping bag. Enjoying the heat, and bug protection of the fire he laid down and started to read from a book about backpacking that he had borrowed from a friend at church. The sun started to dip behind the mountainside that sheltered the valley. He looked at the face of Williwaw peak lit up with the golden rays of a setting sun. The shadow line, formed by the mountain blocking the sun, traveled several feet within a matter of minutes. Josh filled his water bottle with the cool flowing water from the creek and doused the fire with it. He covered his gear with the pack rain-cover, put his sleeping bag and pad into the tent and crawled in for a night of uninterupted slumber. He read a chapter of Desert Solitare by Edward abbey, and then shut his eyes. The raging winds pushed the walls of the tent inward, the rain-fly creaked against the poles, and the floor bubbled around him. Though the light of the sun still glowed in the sky, it was the wind that kept him up. Even though it was 12:30 he couldn’t fall asleep, he decided to read another chapter, a chapter full of excitement kept him up late putting his eyes into a state of weariness. Josh set his watch alarm for 9:00 and closed his eyes. He drifted off as the wind shook his temporary shelter.

B&GC Work

Working at the B&G club is fun but also horrible. I enjoy becoming friends with the kids, I even enjoy catching kids breaking rules and disciplining them. There is something about making someone pay for wrong or stupid behavior. I wish I could do that with all people who have no morals or are just stupid, because I know plenty.

Every wednesday I get to accompany 13 kids to a high school swimming pool. I get to go swimming, and diving off the diving boards. I teach an art class every monday and friday, but it might be every day now…I’m not sure. Every day I catch kids using bad language, eating in places where they aren’t supposed to, fighting, arguing, cheating, making messes, and it is my job to discipline them for it. Usually i just use the “bench” i make them sit down and not talk for 5 or 10 minutes..that usually works. if the kids have attitude or are repeat offenders… I bring them to the managers office, she deals with them. I help hurt kids, scraped knees, once a kid who got hit in the chest with a baseball, and today a bloody nose. but all these things are not what make the job bad, it is all the activities that I have to organize, kickball, warball, scooter-soccer, hockey-soccer, ultimate frisbee, and whatever else I can think of, let alone planning and doing art projects every week at home (for an example to show them) and at the club. I am making a paper mache mask upstairs right now for an example. Today I changed my schedule so i dont have to do 2 hour-long gyms in a row

my day at work consists of:
Gameroom-1hr: walking around disciplining kids and playing pool/foosball/guesswho/or connect four
gym-1hr: organize a game
outside activity-1hr: soccer, kickball, ultimate frisbee
art-1hr: working on a project I make up
game room-2hrs: same as before
outside activity-1hr: same as before

Sometimes, I just dont play a game outside… just I walk around making sure kids aren’t breaking rules. Waking up at 8:30 every morning is not cool for summers, oh well it is work and it is cash..I’m happy

I bought a backpack 2 days ago, a real good one, the old one I had was given to me by an aunt, it wasn’t very good, this one is a Gregory Shasta..good stuff, I’m excited.

I get payed to go to a “sea life center” in Seward next tuesday, we leave at 7:30 in the morning and then get back at 6:30…the sucky thing is that they are taking time off of my normal schedule in the week to make up for the extra hours I will be getting. but hey, who am I to complain, I get to go see sea animals, learn stuff, travel, and play with stuff all on work time and while getting paid. I hope the van of kids aren’t annoying.

I have been looking at tents and stoves online on ebay and other places on the internet…it is hard to decide…

i’m gonna go finish painting my mask now…bye

Alaska 4th of July

I spent the 4th of July weekend with the Tans family. We went on vacation to McCarthy. McCarthy is an old mining down nestled in a mountain valley. old buildings, a glacier, mountains, a river and history up the wazoo. well we camped the first night (Thursday) at a camp site along the highway…a state park. the next morning we woke up and started driving more to McCarthy. we drove about 2 hours on a dirt road, over a small bridge that stretched over a gorge. the road was actually the old railroad track to the city, you could still see some of the rail-road-ties in the road covered by dirt. we arrived to the town, set up camp and went walking around the old buildings, people still live in the small town across the river, but it still has the old historical feel. we ate dinner and went to bed, we were kept up until midnight by constant fireworks. we woke up the next day, took a shuttle to the mine (5 miles away from McCarthy) and hooked up with a hiking guide, we were going hiking on a Glacier. Ryasn, Eric, and I walked 4 miles to the glacier with our guide Torry. He told us all about glaciers, the mountains around us and some history of the area. across the whole landscape there where what looked like piles of gravel, it turned out that these rock piles were big mountains of ice covered by a thin layer of sediment. we hiked onto the sediment covered ice and over a hill. Torry told us that we were gonna do a little bit of exploring, immediatly we found a cave in the ice, we hiked in. The cave wasnt very deep, about the size of a large living room, and the cielings were about 15 feet high. the walls were clear as clear can be with the most beautiful tinge of aqua blue. in the walls were suspended rocks and pieces of sediments, it looked like they were floating in water. the walls were rounded into all different flowing shapes. we hiked on over flat areas of solid ice, over tiny ice-melt streams and over hills. we looked deep down into what they call moulains (moo-lahn) which are deep holes carved down into the glacier by water, most had streams falling down into them. we ate lunch looking at a waterfall on a mountain next to the glacier, my hands were starting to hurt it was so cold. after lunch we put on our crampons (things that attatch to your boots with metal spikes on them so you can cling to the ice better) we hiked over bigger hills and back onto dry land. we hiked 4 miles back to the guide shack past the copper mine. we were so hot by that time we unzipped the lower half of our pants into shorts, and took off our sweatshirts. we decided to hike back to McCarthy, 5 miles. we started to hike down the waggon trail and we were bombarded by mosquitos. we started to walk faster, and faster…I stopped to put on the legs to my pants and my sweatshirt, about 20 mosquitos attacked my legs in 3 seconds, i had to run and put on my clothes. after getting covered up we were ok, we got back to our campsite and ate dinner. I took a nap, and then we went to get some ice cream in town. there was a family who lives in town, their parents were hippies who came there way back when and now all their kids and the parents dressed like they were straight out of the 1900’s they got together at night and broke out their upright bass, mandolin, 2 fiddles, and 2 guitars. they played folk music for a little bit while a tall tale contest was going on in a local resturaunt. we went back to camp, slept, woke up and drove home. All together a great weekend.

I have been working at the boys and girls club for a fair amount of time, im learning the kids names. I get to teach an art class 3 days a week, and get to go swimming every wednesday. It is stressful at times, a bit annoying at others, but if I am going to become a teacher this is a good way to see if i should stick with it.