Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fire Initiations, Pocahontas and Cats

Things are winding down around Coldfoot, Alaska. A few more pallet fires, guitar jams and hitchhikes before I head south to college in Hanover. Also it snowed last night. In August. I guess it's the Arctic. 
(Note: Thanks to Cory for some of these pictures)

 This is a pretty good sequence right here of the fire initiation.

More jamming
 Looking good as always boys.

So many things going on in this picture.

Whatever he was saying must have been fascinating.

Partying it up in Alaska.
 This guy's name is Fred, or Frank, or something that starts with the letter "F" and is an all-around American, generic name. He was hauling a tank of liquid nitrogen from Prudhoe Bay when he picked me up hitchhiking on the North Slope. Pretty sure that's super illegal, but it's Alaska.
Great guy, but he couldn't hear much, so we mostly yelled at each other in the most cordial way possible.
I have about 500 miles of trails to explore right outside my cabin door. Gotta watch out for grizzlies though, there's been a few rogue ones wandering around and getting into the neighbor's dog food. Nothing's more terrifying than biking and then hearing a crashing noise in the bushes moving parallel to you just out of sight. ADRENALINE KICK.
My lovely transport machine nicknamed 'Space Cat'

  Life is good.

My boss's wife just had her 40th birthday and apparently a mid-life crisis, so long story short, we now have another airplane, courtesy of her loving husband. Some people buy red Ferraris for their birthdays, others buy bushplanes to work on. To each their own I guess.

I've gotten really good at telling what planes are about to land by sound. The Beavers have a low rpm rumbling sound that gradually crescendos. The Chieftains take off and land with a high-pitched drone. The SuperCubs putter quietly along, so that sometimes you can't even tell that they're landing, and the DC-3 sounds like it's a fucking WW2 bombing raid.

"Look guys, it's a computer mouse!"

Brooks the mountain dog.

There are more than a few characters up here in Alaska, from the guy that walked out of his dishwashing shift at 3am with only a note saying "I can't drink the water here", to the hippie cowboy hunting guide that flies in more booze by weight than he does food or hunting supplies into his basecamp.

Then there was the Nepali Sherpa that picked me up hitchhiking, who now works as a carpenter on the North Slope and is related to the owner of a guesthouse that I stayed in while trekking in the Gokyo Lakes region of the Himalayas. The world is a small place.

Borrowing the boss's canoe on a fine August day.

I'm going to miss Carlos the caribou blanket, but I'm not going to miss the sub-freezing temperatures at night.  Also excited for a shower that isn't in a pantry after which you have to sprint to your cabin to make sure your hair doesn't freeze.
Collecting duck eggs

 "Just around the river bend".
 "I look once more Just around the river bend Beyond the shore..." 

Channeling Lewis and Clark.

The most important creature of the household right here ladies and gentlemen. Meet Pookie the Cat----Master bird killer and food moocher.

We flew out the swimsuit model and actress Brooklyn Decker two days ago for a four day camping trip. (google her: she is hot as hell). Super nice, beautiful, talkative and she seemed okay with not showering for the duration of her trip, although she confided that they did take a quick dip when the sun came out in the river.

Later, I walked in on a group of hunters hiding out in our office and ogling her through the windows like children in a candy store. No-one was brave enough to step outside and talk to her. At least now I can tell people that I got Brooklyn to pet a duck and admire my rhubarb.... Honestly, I don't know which is more pathetic.
One of the Freedom Ranger chickens that I butchered. 
Slaughtered 14 more chickens single-handily yesterday. It was full on carnage. I'm sitting at the Fairbanks airport right now, so I didn't have time to do laundry. As I'm writing this, I'm debating how to sneak my blood-spattered pants and shirt through TSA without arousing too much suspicion. Any suggestions?
To get them to this state I had to slice, scald, pluck and gut for 7 hours in sub-freezing temperatures. Traumatizing. 
Getting a bit of creative work in along with painting the shed, the house, the cabins.... and anything else wooden.
Showing off my greenhouse mural. I thought a Wright's Flyer was appropriate for a bush plane company. 
 I'll miss Pumpkin and Jeane. Damn awesome DHC-2 Beavers.

Also, trying to catch up on 3 months of news in a day is a bit overwhelming to say the least.

For example: no-one told me about the Higgs Boson discovery or the CURIOSITY LANDING! I can't believe I missed that. I mean, what am I going to tell me grand-kids? "Sorry guys, I didn't have good enough internet access, so I missed us landing on Mars." How lame.

Also have way too much Top G. to catch up on. Anyway, I'm back in the real world driving a non stick-shift, non-giant Dodge pick-up for once this year.  

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