Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Hostel and the Stones

     Ok so the hostel I'm staying in is pretty cool. It's a great place to meet people from all over the country, you can really see how different culture is. I started helping out this guy with his website for fly fishing. Did you ever meet an annoying person, that just talks way too much about his or her passion.  Well he's the guy. Thankful for me I can deal with it. He offered me a free fly fishing lesson, which I might take him up on, if I manage to spike his morning coffee with some ADHD medication. I was only kidding about that.
     I can't wait to get to Eagle, AK. I've been cooped up in this "Beautiful" city way to long already. I sure hope the kidney stone passes before I leave tho. You can't just pack up and go to the hospital out there. And if something serious happens you have to be taken out via helicopter. And we know that won't be cheap. All in all I'm ready for this Experience.  Oh yeah, didn't I tell you. Im finally getting off the grid for a little bit. Lets just hope these stones don't get any worse.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Alaska's Treating Me Great.

     Gwin's Lodge was closing down so I recently came to Anchorage.  Been here about a week and a half .  I'm staying in a hostel that I clean for a few hours a day for a free room, so things are working out there. I got a job at a restaurant  down town which is pretty nice. I should make some decent money there. Enough to rent a room from someone. My plan is to save up enough money over the winter,to buy a kayak and some cameras and put some of my adventures online. Alaska is so beautiful and I feel like I need to see all of it by way of a kayak. Eventually I'll become a guide once I'm comfortable with the water and my surroundings.
There is something else in my life thats going on and I'm going to refrain from putting it out there because I want to make sure everything is 100%, but lets just say real life blog. Those are all the hints I'm Giving out let your minds wonder.

I went on a date tonight, very nice girl I must say, Pretty too. Guess I'll see where that goes. Hopefully further, maybe not.  I like the fact that most of the women up here are into the same stuff I am. The girl to guy ratio up here is, from what I hear somewhere around 8:1 men to women, while the selection isn't plenty, the quality sure seems to be there.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Anchorage Hostle New Job Already

I left Coopers Landing  on Wednesday and got dropped off at a hostile in downtown anchorage.  The hostile I'm staying at is very clean, which surprised me.  It's relatively inexpensive $30 for the first night and $25 dollars for every night after that.
     I contacted the manager John, and asked him if there was any work I could do for a free room and he said yes. So now I am working in the mornings a few hours every day.
      I went job hunting yesterday and got a job at steakhouse in the mall as a server. I start the "intense" training course tomorrow and it only pays minimum wage while in training, but after that I should be making very good money. I don't need very good money here because I have no expenses other than food, but good money will allow me to save for my real goal of being a Photo Journalist and living off grid.
     I bought a Mac Book also so I can edit my blog daily. It's so much easier editing on a computer than doing it on my phone.
     Anchorage is a very interesting city and the thing I like about it the most is that it is full of art. There is a Preforming Arts Center here and I think I will be checking that out very soon. I'm Just glad that I made it, I have a job, and I have a place to stay.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Horrible kidney stones. Great hospital.

So yesterday I woke up for work with a pain in my lower right side. It was a stabbing pain that I could not bare. When the second cook arrived I clocked out because we werent very busy at all. I went to my tent and laid down, only to wake up 4 hours later to the worst pain I ever felt in my life.
      After googling my symptoms I had a strong inclination that I was having appendix problems. I told the owner of the lodge about this. He was nice enough to drive me an hour away to the hospital in Soldotna.
     The hospital was staffed with very nice people. They gave me an I.v. took some blood and did some tests. The doctor came back in and said I had kidney stones. I was in the wost pain I had ever experienced in my life. The doctor ordered some pain killers via iv and wrote me a prescription for painkillers for when I left till the stone passed. The pharmacy didn't open till 9 and the pain was so unbearable the doc said I could stay and they would medicate me until I could get to a pharmacy to fill my prescription.
When I was released I went outside to meet Keith who had camped out in the van all night, and we went to Fred Meyer to fill my perscription.  Hopefully this stone passes tonight because its very painfull and I have to work at 7:30 am

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Paracord Belt

A few days ago I took the braclet off my
Wrist and made a makeshift belt.  I cut where the braclet was fused and unraveled it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What a hike

So trapper Jim  met me at 7 o'clock at the restaurant. We ate breakfast. then we set off into our three and a half mile journey into the Bush. He spoke of stories while we walked. Stories of him as a young man, self sufficient in the wilderness. 3 hours later we arrived at his  13 by 13 Cabin, constructed of logs which he cut himself. His roof was only a tarp. It had a hole for his wood stove. His tv was only 7 inches and black and white he had one light and a DVD player, all which he powered off a little generator.
I read his journal which first entry told this story of a bear encounter in which the bear had attacked him jaws and sharp teeth just missing his leg as he leapt into a tree. Which he calls his favorite tree.
    I told Jim of my experience in Alaska so far flying to keani getting ripped off by lloyd. Arriving at Gwins and my dream of having a nice house in the bush completely off grid.
     He asked me if I had a knife I didn't so he gave me a leatherman tool, with a nice leather belt pouch to hold it. He also gave me a nice head lamp, so I could see at night, and a book to read, about the first guide in Alaska. I told him I'd return the favor with a book that I was reading. I needed a belt to hold the leatherman pouch  inplace so I took out a extra paracord braclet and unraveled it and made a belt.
     Jim is a good person and he told me people in the bush help each other out. Which is a community mindset I like.
     I waited for the rain to calm and a few hours later I made the hike back to Gwins alone.  Halfway down the trail, if you could call it that, I lost the trail. Jim cam and found me after a phone call and told me the way to go. If it wasn't for him I would have had to become self sufficient for the night, and probally would have lost my job at Gwins.
     The brush was so wet I had puddles in my coat pockets, the Ziploc inside had a hole in it allowing water to get inside and  into my phone. Feeling lost in the mountians of Alaska is overwhelming I  guess that's what they call The Alaska Factor. Everthing is bigger, longer, and harder than it looks. And it is.
     When I got back it was around 8 pm I missed dinner at Gwins ,but managed to foraged some nachos and cheeze from the staff cooler. And a small bag of rice for my waterlogged phone.
I changed from the clothes I was swimming in, into something dry and warm. Smoked a Newport, with a damp filter, and called it a night

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Trapper Jim

So in a few hours I will be going with trapper Jim to his off grid cabin. He wants to go to Fairbanks to trap and needs someone to take care of his place while he's gone. If this national geographic thing doesn't pan out ill probally end up doing that. It would be good to get some experiance tho.

A little extra cash

So I've been here two weeks and I have the menu down. I really like it here I can walk right accrost the road and fish the Russian river. Although the salmon are starting to turn red.
      I decided to make some extra cash I would start making survival braclets out of 550 paracord so I hitch-hiked into Soldotna the closest town from me about 40 miles away. It didn't take me long. One ride down. Two rides back. People seem to be more accepting of hitchers up here than the people in the lower 48.   I went to sports authority and bough some paracord and some clips. After I hitched home, I made a few braclets and ended up selling 5 of them making most of my money back. I decided to order more supplies online and cut my costs. They came today actually ( yes the blog is now current) Keith agreed to let me sell the brackets in the general store. So I found a nice spot on the front counter right next to the cash register. 
     Work was good other than the fact that the manager has mor story's than James Patterson and dean koontz put together. And he would rather talk to girls than fo things that need to be done like cook food for customers other than that everything is fine here.
     About two days after I got here I registered to Alaska outdoors forum and I posted a short recap of this blog and the stuff that has been happening to me. There were a few people that helped me out tremendously and sent me some clothes which I really appreciated.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

My first day.

My first day at gwins lodge was relatively good. I cooked with Nick the morning cook manager, who stays in the cabin directly behind me. Getting to know the menu seems to be a little hard. But not as hard as remembering where everything is at. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it. Nick is from south Africa and boy does he have some story's, sometimes I wonder If that's all they are, story's.
     While at work charlotte called me into her office so I could sign my contract until the middle of September. She explained pay. $10 an hour and that room and board cost $16 a day and comes out of my check. After everything was explained I signed the paperwork and returned to the kitchen to finish work.
      After work I hung out with Nick and Tyler. Tyler likes hunting and trapping and guns in general. We talked about trapping and he told me about trapper Jim who lives in the woods and is self sufficient just by trapping. I think this is awesome.
     Before I know it its time for bed. Work starts at 12 tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Arriving at Gwins

So my ride showed up at 1 pm and I threw my bike and my bags in the dodge ram and we were off she was a nice lady that was heading to Seward to meet her husband who works on The Slope doing oil work. We stopped in the next town over Soldotna, gassed up her truck with the $20 that I gave her for the ride. She grabbed some beer for her husband I grabbed a ham and cheese sandwich, and energy drink and we were off agian we talked about where we were from and she said she knew many people like me. People that came to Alaska with very little and make a life for themselves.
     This was reassuring to hear that a lot of people do what I'm doing. But not many people want want to live in the bush like I do. I'll get there eventually, I hope,being totally self sufficient.
      Building my home out of wood I cut, making money from the animals I trap. Solar and wind powering my home. OFF THE GRID.  That's where I want to be. The only real place peace and serenity exists. No one telling you what to do or how to think. No loud trucks passing my door. Yes it will be a simple live.  It won't be easy. But its better than a real job. When the economy crashes which I think will be sometime in my lifetime . I will have already been doing what everyone is learning to do.

     When I arrived at Gwins the cook manager Eli showed me the hours on the schedule I would be filling in for a cook that left , and the owner Keith showed me too my room I unpacked my things , which took me 2 seconds because I didn't have much and turned in for the night 5:30 am comes early.

Worked for a week

The following week didn't go so well I got a part time job at snug harbor where we sold the fish, as a labor hand in the processing dept.  See we didn't fish everyday because fish and game sets the days and hours that your allowed to fish.  I stayed there for about a week and half at the fish camp I only worked one day at snug because it was a 3 mile bike ride. We only caught another 2000 pounds of fish over that week and a half and I got paid another 200 bucks. Most of my pay from the first big catch was gone after buying a new hiking backpack to keep my clothes in and a Mt bike so I had some transportation. The day I heard that we were only going to be able to fish one day a week I quickly used craigslist to find employment I found a lady that needed help at a lodge I called her and she told me the position had need filled but there was.another lodge that was "short handed" she gave me the name of Gwins lodge manager. I called and asked for charlotte. After talking with charlotte she emailed me some paper work I filled it out sent it back. The following morning I was giving the job. I posted an ad on craigslist for a ride to Gwins lodge and within an hour I had found one it left that following morning.

The first day working for nate

Sam was tired after diving Sam was tired after driving so I agreed to fish while sam took a nap. It was time to go to work as soon as we got there I put my wallet in a granola bar box. Through on my rain gear hopped on the 30 foot aluminum Skiff .  and we headed out into the water. as we approached the first net I started pickin fish like it just came naturally to me. I think Nathan was surprised by this, but that's what happens when you hire someone that has experience. by the time all six nets were picked we have about 1500 pounds of fish and it was time to head back. When we arrive back at camp we are loaded the fish from the Brailer bags , into totes marked Snug Harbor seafoods.  after that was done we headed up the bluff. When we reach the top, we all started to get really acquainted. Justice and Nathan were from South Dakota, justice worked on a farm driving tractor. And Nathan work for UPS and also for John Deere building heavy equipment. I came to find out that Nathan was really there for the love of the game " commercial fishing that is" and justice his cousin was just there to lend a hand and get paid. We were hungry after working. So I offered to grill a few of the salmon we caught. I love salmon and back home it isn't cheap out here its free. Nate and Justice accept my offer for me to cook for them. I cooked up some salmon we ate and before I knew it it was time to go out again I woke Sam up and we both suited up in our rain gear and headed out ill spare you the details but we got all this fish picked this time in about 2 hours another 1000 pounds for a total of 2500 pounds and at $2 a lb that's $5000 bucks ten percent being 5000 bucks which we split when I went to grab my wallet to put my days wages in it was gone ! To make a long story short the only one left alone with the wallet was Sam since it was in his vehicle and he was the only one left alone with it process of elimination told me it was him I tryed everything but fighting the kid for him to give me my wallet back even offered for him to take the cash and.just leave my I D. Finally I just let him leave I wasn't gunna fight over a wallet with 300 bucks in it although I was depressed about my ID and I knew at that point I was really screwed but atleast I had a place to stay and a source of income

The search for work

Later that day after installing the kitchen floor I came to realise that the situation was serious I only had $300 dollers left in wallet, I got ripped off from some old guy who I was supposed to be working with all season.  I had no job, and no place to really go. I had to do something, and I had to do it very fast.  I turned to the same website that I found my first fishing job on, Craigslist. 
     I found a listing for another commercial fishing job in Kenai only a few miles from Lloyds house.  I called the number posted on the listing and I asked for "nate" when Nathan answered I told him what happened and that I had some experiance. That's one thing you can't get robbed of from your employer experiance. I told Nathan that I knew how to pick fish tie knots, set nets , pick them and work long hours . I also told him I had a friend with me with the same experiance and we were a package deal. The pay was 8% of the catch I told him he could have both of us for 10% of the catch. He graciously accepted our offer and 2 hours later we were on our way to Kenai from anchorage we slept at a pull off along the highway that night and arrived at around 9 am the following morning where I met Nathan and his cousin Justice who was also helping Nathan and had been since the beginning of the fishing season.

Sams the following morning

That following morning I was sleeping while Sam did some chores around the house. When I awoke his mother was asking him to put the laminated floor down in the kitchen.  I offer my hand which was the least I could do after he gave me a place to lay my head.
     I cut the flooring size and Sam and I laid it down in about 2 hours. His mother promised me $50 for the work I put in but I graciously declined

Staying at Sams

So Sam and I dropped Brandon off at the airport, so he could catch his 2 a.m. flight back to california. I felt bad for Brandon not getting paid but atleast he had a wife to go back too. I on the other hand had already made up my mind when I left pennsylvania that I would never return ever agian.
     After we dropped Brandon at the airport Sam and I drove to a friend of his house hung out a little bit and ended up at his house where he lives with his mother and little brother. I took the couch that nice and Sam was nice enough to provide a pillow and warm blanket.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The burn

So Lloyd Brandon and I went fishing 2 days later. We filled 6 totes full of salmon  about 7000 lbs or $14000 worth we picked 14 nets and right as we were picking our last net the outdrive on Lloyds boat went out .  He called a skiff to come get us and 3 hours later we picked the 14 nets again, and pulled 15 thoysand pounds this time. We went to sleep that night waiting for a tow and by the time we got towed in the morning. All the fish had baked on to the deck. Lloyd hirend another deckhand named Sam from anchorage he hopped aboard as we proceded to pick the dead fish. Which were getting sunbaked in the process. 
Eventually we realised we weren't getting paid and me Sam and Brandon left for anchorage since I didn't have anywhere to go I decided to tag along.

Commercial fishing pre game.

So its was 6 a.m. when Lloyd, Brandon and I hopped in the car drove accrost the bridge and to the dock where a skiff took us out to the big boat. We stayed about 2 hours on the boat coiling nets and tying crab knots to get our selfs set up for our upcoming fish day. The boat was nice enough with 2 bunk beds and a coffee maker, shower, and microwave upstars.

The ride

As I got in the back seat of the intrepid, Brandon the greenhorn from California, who arrived a few days earlier greeted me.  We drove about 4 miles to a garage where I was shown to my room which was a  early 80 style rv.  Since Brandon arrived 3 days before me he already had the bedroom and I got the couch. We hung out for a while talked about where we were from and what its like there.

The Move.

As I got off the fourth plane and arrived in Kenai,AK I I called lloyd my captain for my new job as a commercial fisherman. We would be fishing the cook inlet 3 miles from the mouth of the Kenai River. Ring..... Ring...... " Hello, were out here." said lloyd. " Ok I'm coming, just waiting for my bag." What I actually ment by bag was my nylon frame pack stuffed half full of clothes. No food. No water. Just 4 shirts 2 pairs of socks I grabbed my pack from the revolving baggage claim, that took a half hour to turn, due to the fact the flight attendent had misplaced something. Once my pack was around my back, it was smooth sailing from there. Right out the door and into the 99 dodge intrepid. "Lloyd." I said, in a positive manner that way he knew I knew I had the right vehicle . He gave a short nod, I threw my pack in the trunk, opened the door sat down and tried to get my self acquainted.