Thursday, January 8, 2009

Epic Alaska, Part 2

This is the second part of my original blog. This details the actual events of my trip, seeing my friend Dave-O, and working at Camp Baldwin in Delta Junction...and less of the internal ponderings I'm so prone to...well...ponder.

Part 2...continued from part 1...obviously.

The Flight to Seattle. The plane was late, I missed seeing some happens.

Mt. Rainier from the plane. One of these days, I'll see it from the base instead of the Summit.

Some of the landscape from the plane.

1:30PM Friday, July 18th…leave Alabama…travel roughly 3800 miles through 3 airports, 2 ghettoed up Delta planes, and one nice ride from Alaska air.

This is what hours and hours of air travel, delays, and airport food makes me look like. (Horror.)

Santa's house in North Pole AK...around 2:30 AM.

Giant drawings on the Santa Claus house wall.

12:30AM arrive in Fairbanks, Alaska…hungry, tired, slightly anxious, but completely excited.
Dave-O picked me up and we drove to North Pole where I grabbed the first hot food I saw…a "box of meat" from Safeway and hungrily ate it…it would later exact its revenge on me. Never eat a box of assorted animal parts at 1:30 in the morning…or ever…then we stopped by the Santa Claus house for a few goofy pictures. After that, it was off to the Brink's house, my weekend digs. There was no fanfare, no big meet and greet when I arrived, I simply walked through the front door, down the stairs and crashed on an open couch in the basement…where I could hear the breathing of maybe 3 or 4 other people. Dave-O had brought in my luggage and I drifted off to dreamland only a foot off the permafrost…yes, the basement was ridiculously cold, but you don't punch a gift horse in the neck and I was grateful to have a place to sleep.

Home sweet home on the weekends...a wonderful, kind, family lives here.

The next morning, I met some of the other folks I'd be hanging/working with over the next week, there was Battleship, Risk, and Twister, and I think Guess Who was there that night too, (no, their parents weren't all in some Milton Bradley cult; all of the councilors had board game add to the campy fun I was Mousetrap.) I wondered what they were all going to think of "the new girl" who just kind of showed up in the middle of the night and invaded their space. After all, they'd been there since May working at the camp and here I was just dropping into the middle of everything! Now, the Brinks themselves, the owners of the house were down fishing Salmon on the Copper River, so I still hadn't met my host.

One of the sled dogs at the cabin. He may look vicious, but he's actually quite gentle.

Well…it took a while to read everyone's personality, but all was cool so no worries there as far as I could see. Still, I hadn't met Mark, the guy running the camp I'd be helping out at…and considering we'd never even spoken on the phone, I was a bit nervous. Sooo, we were off to Salcha Baptist, the church he pastors, where they were doing construction on a new roof with a world changers team. Again, in typical Alaskan fashion, there was Mark, with his hands deep in some work offering a quick hello and nice to meet you, then, back to the task at hand. We pulled insulation, removed drywall, and tarped the gaping hole where a roof used to stand. New trusses and equipment stood around the building waiting to be put into place…but that would be for another day. Everyone there worked hard and I enjoyed being able to help out in whatever small way I could. The rest of the night was spent hanging in North Pole, goofing around and getting to know each other a little better. It was good times.

The blue tarp in the Sactuary at Salcha Baptist...when you don't have a've got to have something!

The next morning we attended church at Salcha Baptist…quite an experience with the hue of the tarp casting smurf like shades of blue over the congregation, not to mention the massive gusts of wind that threatened to send it flying! We had a large potluck with the members and world changers team…some of which hailed from no more than 10 miles away from me in Alabama…small world eh? After that, we were off for a little fun and games. Dave-O and I took a walk down the highway, narrowly avoiding getting hit by the semis, tour buses, and campers that sped helter-skelter down the road. We walked a mile or two towards the Salcha School, took in the views and chatted about life and its changes…deep thoughts yo.

Hitchin' my way down the road in AK.

Dave tries a tested and proved method.

We goofed around taking pictures, and pretend to hitchhike back to the church...because I'm a nerd and thought it would make for a great photo-op. After bidding Dave goodbye for the day, several of us loaded up on the Brink's four wheelers and spent the afternoon traveling all around creation. For me, that was about as perfect as it gets. I love just being out there, roaming around, beautiful scenery, good new friends, and the wind in my face.
A truly wonderful day. Open land, open skies, new friends, freedom.
This was also the day I spotted the first moose I'd ever seen outside of a zoo! Simple pleasures y'all. Tomorrow, would begin work at Camp Baldwin in Delta Junction and I had no idea what to expect…

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