It's been a long time since I have sent out an update and its been a combination of being busy/avoiding sending one because I don't really know what my next move is yet. I figured its been too long; July 4th was the last email I sent. My season in Denali was a great one. It was certainly the best job that I have ever had in my life. I mean honestly, you can pick any park and they are all awesome, but my actual job that I was doing was a blast, and I was good at it. I also got to participate in a lot of things I was new to, Search and Rescues (SAR). We took a wheeled litter up a 1000ft elevation gain trail for a dude who had a tib-fib fracture. Then a helicopter landed on the mountain and we loaded him in. I hiked 220 miles this summer, which met my goal of 200, but was less than last summer of 340. Although its apples and oranges because there are no trails out here which slows you WAY down and most of my hikes were up mountains. I climbed over 80,000ft of elevation (12 peaks) this summer and that's being conservative.That's like climbing Denali 6.5 times minus all the other stuff like snow, -40 temperatures, 100mph winds etc. I identified and photographed 115 species of wildflowers, 1 being a new species to the particular floristic province that I found it in. Saw lots of bears, wolves (one eating a moose carcass), 5 lynx, porcupines, coyotes, foxes, caribou, moose, dall sheep, and some cool birds.
Photography wise, I got pretty much everything I had my heart set on getting except a bull caribou, a wolf, and a beaver. I still have a chance to get the beaver. And the other two I saw many times throughout the summer but I was usually at work when I had the good sightings and was without my cameras. Oh well, more reason to come back next year. Also, On a side note I won a photo contest put on by Park Science Magazine that should be published in January.
Well this brings me to my current situation, I am in AK with a car which might not make it back to the lower 48, no reason to go to the lower 48 (no job), and am most likely coming back here next summer. So I figured it would be great to try and get a job somewhere where I can fly to, don't need a car, and then fly back here next summer. And to give you some insight on how I make my decisions it follows this flow chart: Find a perm gig, if not go someplace new and build your professional network. I applied for a few jobs both perm and seasonal and noting came of it. I figured I could try and go someplace new that I have never been to like Hawaii. Well I started looking around for jobs in NZ, AUS, and HI. Noting really coming of it until I talked to a contact that I met working in Glacier last summer. He works in a park in AUS called the penguin parade. Its a park located in southeast Australia on Phillip Island. I would be doing a similar job there as I do in the states. But before I tell you all about it I should tell you that it is not certain yet because they have never done an exchange "programme" (I'm learning) such as this before. But I am told that they are doing everything they can to work it out. Not only because I am a great employee, but also because they would like to set a precedent with me so they can continue to recruit employees worldwide. In the meantime I am still in Denali and working as a media specialist volunteer doing special projects mostly involving photography and creating virtual tours. Its a pretty cool gig with lost of expensive equipment to play with and lots of real world experience through the projects that I am doing. If the Australia thing fall through I will probably travel for a few months and then come back here after winter solstice and continue to do what I am doing now. In addition to the media gig I have just been trained to ride ATV to start getting the dogs in shape for the winter. So if I am here once there is lots of snow on the ground I could also learn to mush dogs and go out on backcountry patrols. So even thought I don't know exactly what I am going to be doing for the winter these are my options. In a perfect world I would work in AUS, travel for a couple weeks on the way back in National Park of American Samoa and Hawaii's Parks, make it back to Alaska in time to help set up base camp on Denali, then start the summer season again. I am not a big believer in plans because they never work out as I dream them up but I don't think I will be disappointed no matter what works out. In the mean time tho I am back in cell service if you wanted to catch up and let me know whats going on in America and the other places this email reaches you. The weather is just starting to get around freezing here and it is snowing at the moment. The days are getting shorter now with only 12 hours of daylight and the northern lights are starting to come out more often. I will do my best to keep all of you in the loop as to what my next move is so if you have lots of money burning a hole in your pocket and you wanna get outta dodge you can come visit me. Alaska is a great place but I sure do miss all of my friends and family. I hope you are all well and will talk to you soon.