The next series of dated blog posts are transcribed directly from my journal, as I wrote them over the course of the past 14 days. Enjoy them here and now as I created them for this blog but was unable to post them. I’m still working on photos, but wanted to start sharing some content– hopefully I can get photos up tonight but the process is a little delayed due to the dampness of my camera (more explanation shortly).
Kahiltna Basecamp, Denali National Park, Alaska. I’m here to staff the National Park Service camp here for the next 14 days. Essentially, I’m a glorified front desk ranger, with my primary duties revolving around cleaning up trash and poop violations, grunting equipment to and from the helicopter pad, and facilitating questions from incoming climbers. That said, I’ll be working in the most beautiful office in the world, learning some fun lessons, and enjoying some hilarious characters (I hope). After the hustle of bouncing from place to place for the past few weeks, I’m looking forward to the chance to just chill out.
I love this. I love being here, being with these people, doing this thing, living this experience. The energy hit when I asked Brandon about sitting in on his glacier travel/cravasse rescue lecture. Even though my past experience has left me with a solid understanding of these systems, seeing the opportunity, the thought hit me “yes, I’d love to learn more, see things another way.” Brandon is a former YOSAR ranger, and one of the most knowledgeable people regarding rope systems on the Denali staff- it was a rare opportunity for advanced knowledge.
It recharges me because I love to be humble, I love learning new things, or discovering things that I thought I knew, and finding that I didn’t know them at all. I love when other people ask me to help (like facing my fears of taking a whipper into a cravasse), or cooking hot dinner for 10 when the day was done.
There are always more ways to help. Serving with the Denali park staff is a good opportunity to practice. The staff know more about technical rigging, medicine, incident management, group dynamics, and leadership, but they need me because I know a little bit and am happy to help. I came up here because it seems like Alaska is able to inspire me to be the best version of myself that I have found so far. Finding ways to help is just another facet of experience that re-inforces that.
Brandon is taking a patrol up the West Buttress route (the same patrol I did two years ago) and I’ve sincerely enjoyed getting to know them over the past few days here. It’s an obvious example of the mountain community that I love. Being at basecamp is an opportunity to further embrace this community, and a chance not to be missed.