Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Adios! (At Least For A While)

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.


  1. I have really been enjoying your blog and am slightly envious of what you are doing. We are visiting Brooks Camp the week after next - will you be doing any of the tours to VTTS that week?

  2. Since each ranger does the Valley tour every other week, and I did one last week, I will probably be doing one the week you are at Brooks. Out schedule for next week isn't out yet, though.
    When you get here, just ask for me at the visitor center (don't ask at Brooks lodge, as they won't know where I am) - it would be great to meet you!