Friday, June 11, 2010

Get Rich or die tryin'

Being away from someone you love is very hard. And I started early. After college, I moved clear across the country about 5,000 miles from my family to work in the Yukon. Now, many (many) years later, I find myself living on a glacier missing my Rich, who is 1,000 miles away in the same state. The good news is, he misses me just as much! We talk once a week and, weather permitting, we'll see each other in a couple weeks when he flies in from Homer to Juneau for a couple days. He might even come up and spend a night on the glacier. He'll be here July 1st (Canada Day) until July 4th, also known as...the day before my birthday!! It's all very exciting for me.
The weather on the glacier has been unusually good this year so far. Only two weather days in five weeks. That's pretty much unheard of. We have had to cancel a few tours here and there as the fog rolls in and out (helicopters don't fly when it's foggy) but on the whole, it's been great. Sunny days means tours and tours means I get paid. (mushers don't get paid when it's foggy). And the whole reason for being separated from my sweet boy was to make money to race this winter. So fingers crossed for more clear days. As all the mushers, handlers, photogs and managers get to know each other at the glacier camp, the job is getting a little more fun. We all get along amazingly well and though there isn't much in the way of extracurricular activities (we're all too tired) we make work fun. Also, even though tips weren't great this week, I had two different people tell me that this was the best thing they've done in their whole lives. In their whole lives! I think that's pretty cool.
Here's a whole heap of photos to illustrate a morning in the life on the Mendenhall Glacier camp.

I roll out of bed, actually I roll out of sleeping bag on a plywood cot, at 6 a.m. and immediately go to the yard to scoop dog poo. All my buckets have my name on them as things have a way of disappearing.

My harness rack. The harnesses are tied at night just in case the wind picks up.

This morning was pretty foggy. These are my sleds waiting to be flipped up and tied off.

The south park dog-food hut. There are four dog lots in south park and four in north park. We feed Dr. Tim's Momentum and the dogs are doing really, really well on it.

Burt waiting for breakfast.

Burt getting interrupted by me. If you look closely, you can see the drool.

The fog is lifting. You can see the Mendenhall Towers.



Gone! All in about 30 minutes. Crazy weather.

The sun is out, time for zinc on the pink noses. Codfish hates it but we have to protect the dogs from the sun.

Summer sporting her zinc nose.

Finally time for breakfast. Martha is our cook and she is AWESOME!!

Soon the guests arrive.

Here's my team on the trail with my first batch of guests for the day. Sorry it's a big blurry, but you get the idea. And so on the hour for the rest of the day we hook up and unhook teams to take people from all around the globe out on the glacier via dog team. Not a bad gig.


Susan Stevenson said...

I loved this entry and the photos. What an exciting experience it must be for the guests who fly up there for a dogsled ride!

I went on my first ride (locally) this past winter, after living here for 7 winters. I shouldn't have waited so long.

I know the separation from your husband is hard. Hang in there!

I found your blog a while ago. I enjoy reading about life in other parts of this great state. I live in North Pole.

I hope you have a great season!


Stuart Forman said...

Beautiful pictures. Two years ago you took my family on a dogsled tour in Skagway when we were on our trip and you were a terrific host, thank you. My daughter fell in love with your dogs.

Pete said...

Wow, Jillian! Great post! Pics are awesome!

Loon said...

What an amazing experience you're having! So cool, what a dream job in a beautiful place! It will be over before you know it and you'll be back to 'real life' so enjoy it while you can!

Ari said...

Not a bad gig at all. Incredible views! You are very fortunate!