So my second week here in Alaska has come to a close and this place is starting to feel a bit more like home. I’ve been spending most of my time with my fellow trail crew members during work as well as afterwards. Everything from walking into town for groceries or grabbing a bite to eat, to relaxing along the shore of Eyak Lake soaking up some sun, we even cook meals together. It has definitely helped in making the adjustments to life up here in Cordova Alaska much easier, and so far it seems like all of our personalities are meshing together pretty well.
I know I briefly mentioned the living situations in my last post so I’ll expand on that a little bit here. There are two bunkhouses here at the compound, the new bunkhouse and the old bunkhouse, and it’s pretty obvious why they have those names. All of the returning employees were given the option to choose which they wanted to live in, and so they all chose to live in the new bunkhouse, so most of us new interns for the summer are living in the old bunkhouse. We have myself, Kim, Kelly, and Ryn from the trail crew here as well as Matt, Cody, and Christine who are all on the wildlife crew. The bunkhouse is a nice place to be living, when you first com through the main door there is a large living room on your left with the kitchen/dining area beyond that. Directly in front of you there is space to set out boots and other footwear as well as closet space for raincoats and jackets across from the washer and dryer room. If you turn to the right there is a long hallway running the length of the building with a men’s and women’s bathroom on the right and then bedrooms branching off either side of the hallway after that. It’s a good sized living space for all of us that are in here, and it came fully furnished with everything that we need to be able to cook and clean so I can’t really complain about any of that! As I’ve mentioned, I share my bedroom with Matt from the wildlife crew. It reminds me of my freshman year of college living in my dorm room of Woodhall, it’s a decent sized room with a desk in front of a window with my bed on the right and Matt’s bed on the left. We each have a dresser to store our clothes and the rest of my belongings are stuffed under my bed. It’s nothing fancy or extravagant, but I don’t have anything to complain about.
I believe I left off on my last post on Saturday so I’ll fill you in on our hike from Sunday. We started out from the compound here and walked a mile and a half up the road along Eyak Lake to the trail head for Crater Lake. It was a warm day and by the time we got to the trail head we all had to stop for a moment to shed a layer before moving on, luckily the shade of the forest helped to keep us nice and cool, at least for a little while. The trail twisted and turned, winding through moss and fern covered forests with large spruce trees scattered around. We came across a small waterfall that was flowing down the mountain, as well as a nice scenic overlook about halfway up the trail that made for a nice place to stop for a snack and to grab some water.
As we continued from the lookout the trees were noticeably shorter due to more intense weather and less ideal growing conditions. Now most of the plant growth was all shrubs and mosses as we continued to climb.
When we finally reached the top we were greeted with a nice view and a perfect place to sit and enjoy our lunches on a bed of moss overlooking Crater Lake up towards Eyak Peak.
After lunch we climbed a little bit further up the ridge opposite of Eyak Peak, for a nice view down over Eyak Lake before turning back for the day.
After the wonderful weekend, this past week brought more training, but luckily less time sitting in a room and more time outside. On Monday we went through some training for canoes and kayaks in the morning and in the afternoon we went through the defensive driving class and took a test so that we were certified to drive government vehicles. That ended early so we came back to the compound and did some cleaning and organizing of some of our storage spaces. On Tuesday and Wednesday we started our chainsaw safety training, we spent the day going over the different parts of the saws, how they work, how to take them apart, how to clean them, different types of chain and how to sharpen them, and everything else that we’d need to know about running saws. That filled up our whole day on Tuesday and Wednesday, and finally on Thursday we got to go out and run the saws bucking up logs (removing branches from downed trees), and actually felling a few trees. On Friday we drove all the way out “the road” to take a look out over Child’s glacier where we will be doing some work this summer and while we were there we picked up a radio tower shelter and brought it back to the compound.
In the afternoon on Friday we went to a recreation sight along a river and did some cleanup of a few campsites, clearing out brush and taking down some shrubs to open up the views. It was nice to get to work outside with some of the equipment and get a feel for some of the work we’ll be doing this summer.
But overall the week was pretty uneventful, this past weekend was a treat though. Saturday was Luke’s 20th birthday and the weather was nice so we spent part of the day walking around town looking at a few of the shops we haven’t had a chance to check out yet, we grabbed a bite to eat at The Picnic Basket for lunch before heading out to Eyak Lake to relax and enjoy a nice fire late that evening.
On Sunday we all slept in after being out late the night before and our boss, Bobby, wanted to take us out on his boat to go fish but he only had room for four people on the boat. I had been wanting to get out on a hike so I volunteered to stay behind while the others went out fishing. I packed my bag and set out for the ski hill, I had intended on hiking up the ski hill, continuing on to Eyak Peak, and then bushwhacking my way down to Crater Lake for Lunch and then coming on down Crater Lake Trail and back to the compound for a nice loop. But by the time I reached the top of the ski hill, only an hour into my hike, I noticed some storm clouds forming so I kept my eye on them but I kept going because I’ve been told that lightning is a rare occurrence around here.
I was about half a mile past the top of the ski hill when I heard thunder crack and roll directly above my head. I found a nice low place to sit and watch the clouds to see if they would roll on out and it appeared that they were blowing off. So I started on my way again, and before I could get another half mile down the trail there was more thunder cracking and rolling right above my head. I really didn’t want to have to turn around and head home, but I really didn’t want to run the risk of getting hit by lightning either. So I made the decision and started down the hill, at the base of the ski hill I found a place to set up my hammock in the rafters of the ski lift structure out of the rain where I enjoyed some trail mix and read my book for a couple hours as the rain fell all around me.
And that pretty well wraps up my second week here in Cordova. Nothing really eventful yet, this coming week should be a little more exciting. I’ll have ATV training on Tuesday and then the rest of the week looks like we’ll be working out on the Power Creek Trail doing some repairs on that trail! Hopefully these posts will become less boring for you as I get more used to blog writing. I’ll definitely try and keep including pictures as often as I can!