It rained all night Sunday night – light and easy on this metal-roofed cabin where I have made my home for the summer. Thunderstorms are extremely uncommon in this part of the North American continent - those pounding rains of the Lower 48 with their accompanying lightning and thunder are practically unheard of up here.
Then came a lovely, sunny, cooler, windy, Monday day off – and we all said “adios!” to those bleeping biting bugs, at least for a while. The rains drove away that stagnant high pressure system that had been hanging around for nearly a week and with it went the bugs. The sky was blue with high cumulus clouds – “the back of the front,” as my father used to say. Woo Hoo!
I finally got my NPS resume updated with Glen Canyon and Katmai added, and now will begin the difficult, arduous, mind-numbing task (“click here to apply”) of trying to find a job for the winter. Winter jobs with the park service are not as numerous as summer jobs and so are harder to nab. If I don’t find something that pays, however, I would not be at all unhappy to spend the winter lounging back in southwest Utah and perhaps also visiting some nearby geologic wonders. I could continue mapping the metamorphic rocks of my undergrad study area in the Beaver Dam Mountains. Attention Mark – have you even been able to get out there much since I graduated? I could go back to prepping 220-million year old fish fossils at the St. George Dinosaur Discovery museum. Life is full of possibilities!
When I am finished for the season at Katmai I look forward to continuing this blog as I travel for a few days on the Kenai Peninsula, to Homer and Seward, seeing what late September in south central Alaska has to offer. But even before that – my friend Minnesota Sue is coming out in August for a four-day backpack adventure with me into the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. The very do-able plan is to get to the USGS research hut on Baked Mountain and then to Novarupta. I will have lots of spare batteries for my camera and will have nearly traded my soul to get the four days off in a row. It’s what people here do in August, since the bears depart Brooks River in early August for other waterways and return in September to feed on the spawned-out dead and dying salmon.
There is a woman working for the lodge who cuts hair. Yay! She said she’d cut my ragged mop Monday afternoon. My hair was so out of control and so far gone that I frightened myself when I looked in the mirror. ACK!!! I was walking around with a terminal case of hat hair. I think the black flies/white socks had actually nested in there and might have hatched soon if I hadn't done something. MY FAVORITE CRAFTS AND RECIPE GURU AND BEAUTY CONSULTANT/ACCESSORIZER searched high and low (in the thrift store and/or Dollar store, of course) to send me a nice collection of hair accessories (headband, mini jaw clips, bobby pins – whoa! – and elastics). Sadly, all I could do at that point was pop the headband on and hope I didn't terrify young children when I went outside.
Later that same day…
The haircut was perfect.
The wind had died down.
The you-know-whats came back.