During week three, I had come out of the rugged living of Mud Bay, and closer to town during a short stint of house-sitting for one of our employees, Nelle (who I believe I mentioned was one of my absolute favorites in earlier posts.) She went out of state for her daughter’s graduation, and I was elated to be staying in a more modern living situation – complete with running water, internet connection, even satellite t.v!
However, I found it interesting that after only two weeks of living off the grid in Mud Bay, the sudden juxtaposition of such “modernized” living really jolted me. I grew uncomfortable in such a large house that I had all to myself, and the one time I turned on the t.v., I found it to be much more irksome than enjoyable. In fact, the only time I felt that same sense of peace I had quickly found in my little cabin across Mud Bay was the times I was out in nature, playing with Nelle’s two fantastic dogs.
Before beginning my week of luxury house sitting, I had my first day off since stepping off the ferry. I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon moseying around town, familiarizing myself with the small, but eclectic town of Haines. I was happy to find myself down at the Lighthouse restaurant, which sits directly on the small-boat harbor, where the waitress recommended salmon fish tacos and seafood chowder – both of which were indescribably delicious. While eating, I soaked up the fantastic view of the harbor I had. The day began with mild drizzling, and as the sun began to break from the clouds, I was amazed to witness a rainbow form. At first, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me – but as I watched, a band of pastel colors quickly grew brighter as it arced up into the sky, literally forming in front of my eyes.
Monday rolled around, and I enjoyed an outing to The Klondike – a great pizza place in the heart of Dalton City – which, for those of you who don’t know, is the remaining film set of Disney’s White Fang. Admittedly, it was the most social interaction I’d had since arriving here, and I was grateful for the company, though I had been equally grateful for the solitude of my first weeks here in Haines. I then dropped Nelle off at the State Ferry (which, by the way – I find incredible. I thoroughly enjoy how the people of southeast Alaska use the state ferry system as a type of subway system. It is their version of public transportation, and I admit – the rides are typically quite pleasant.) Tuesday was spent at a first aid certificate training program, and I must say, it felt really nice to have it under my belt. Not only is it great information to have in general, but receiving my certificate at the end of class made me feel like a real Alaskan guide – somehow, it made me feel more official.
And whew! Talk about Wednesday! I remember driving down the hill from Mud Bay road into town, and seeing a large cruise ship at the port. I panicked, thinking perhaps I had marked my calendar wrong, but when I got to the office, I was somewhat relieved to find my co-workers equally as surprised. Turns out, the winds were too strong for them to dock in Skagway as originally planned, and they had docked here in Haines, instead. Needless to say, it was a chaotic day – but it was fascinating to watch the entire town scramble to prepare for this unexpected event. Though it was a long and pretty stressful day, Rainbow Glacier Adventures did a great job of pulling together and making it a successful one.
Thursday I was lucky enough to shadow a fantastic photographer and guide, Bob Adkins. It was such a great experience, I learned a lot from him, and was able to get a fantastic shot of an eagle in flight. After the tour, I attended a speech about the interconnectivity of geology/natural history and the history of the people, given by my boss, Joe Ordoñez. It was held at the Sheldon museum which is a fantastic museum located here in town. I then ventured off to enjoy my first yoga class here at the Chilkat Dance Center with a lovely local instructor, Melina. Needless to say, there’s no difficulty in keeping busy out here in Haines, and the learning never ceases.
The weekend was filled with fantastic photographic opportunities, tons of time for yoga, and a particularly memorable hike through the Mt.Riley trail. Without question it was the greenest, muckiest, and finest hike I’ve ever been on. Reaching a plateau after an incredibly steep incline, I looked around, and found myself surrounded only by trees. My breath heavy, I inhaled gratefully the faint scent of mud and fresh grass – and literally let out a call of gratitude for this beautiful landscape – elated to be here in the rainforest of Alaska.
Oh, and remember those moose I posted about before? Turns out they aren’t so friendly if you get too close with barking dogs. During the weekend, one of the dogs got out, barking like crazy at mama moose and her calf. She didn’t like that too much, and tried to charge us – though we were a couple stories above her on the safety of a fenced in deck. Eek!
Here she is, directly before the charge.