Waking, to Campfire Coffee and to Living

What smells better than when the first cup of coffee, perked over a fire, is poured into the first mug? Waking to that wondrous campfire coffee, is a pleasure that must be experienced to know it’s absolute perfection.

The fire you started when you crawled out of your tent is crackling and popping. The sky is streaked with the morning colors, announcing the light approaching.

When things are simple, it reminds me how to take real pleasure in every nuance of life that surrounds me. How blessed I feel and am, everyday.


The day had started normal – crazy – normal, typical for us, the Ladies Annual Pack Trip Tea Party was going to depart for the wilderness, that afternoon!

The mood was high with excitement down at the barn as the horses were being led out to start saddling and packing. The ladies on this trip were all friends and in heaven laughing and teasing each other, all chatting and helping where they could.

It all changed in mid-laugh, I don’t even remember what we were teasing about at the time.

I had leaned over the side of the trailer to pick up the Ruger 44 Super Black Hawk in it’s holster and sling the belt to my shoulder and I reached out with my other hand to pick up my 30-30, the rifle I carried on summer trips.

As I stood up straight the world stopped. The Ruger swung forward from it’s belt and hit the edge of the low-sided trailer we used as a staging area, then discharged.

It was as if a storm had moved in and the thunder was inside me. The thunder erupting from inside me and the earth quaking under my feet.

Looking down, seeing perfectly round dots all over my favorite pair of riding jeans, no bigger than a dime, and perfect little dots of yellow, white and red.

As I realized in that second I was about to die, no shit.

I realized something else, I wasn’t done yet. I didn’t want to die, there had been no time. I was in big trouble and it wasn’t anywhere near to being over.

Well, it’s a story anyway, after so much time. I think in some ways, I was born that day.

It took time, a few years to mourn what I lost, what was taken away and get used to the new me.

Sometimes, I think, campfire coffee is like that.

Sure, who couldn’t use a caffe-mocha-vodka-valium-latte?

All in all though, a cup of campfire coffee, saddling up and heading out will sure level the whole world right out too.

Make sure that you take the time to notice the gifts that surround you too.

Still waiting? Don’t.

There is so much to experience, so much in life and the process of living to appreciate and be grateful for, every day. If experiencing Alaska is a dream of yours too, don’t put it off on the hopes of a “someday” ~ it may never come.

Alaska Chick’s Blog, your window into our lives here in Chisana, home of Pioneer Outfitters, is another way to experience pieces of that dream. You’re here! Come often and I will share with you all the beauty and Adventures that I can. Ask questions! Be here, in this wondrous place of peace and inspiration, with us and it will be your waking too.

Be sure you sign up for the Chisana News Wire, our newsletter, to stay in the middle (and the loop!) of all that is going on; on the Horseback Adventures, on the Winter Excursions, on the Big Game Hunts and with the Alaska Guide Trainees.



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3 Responses to Waking, to Campfire Coffee and to Living

  1. Um……oops. When I get back……call 911,,,,call 911. must have been terrifying for all concerned.
    Its the potential of experiencing something not expected…Alaska bound travelers seek. This magnificent untamed state is vast and wild. One must be prepared for and be alert to a living and potentially dangerous environment… The journey is worth it. This is what you seek. This is who we are. One never ever forgets experiencing Alaska on Alaska’s terms. Pioneer Outfitters delivers to you and your friends and family a true Alaska experience.
    Explore further…follow the links that will lead you to our home….ALASKA.
    How do I know? I have lived the Alaska lifestyle for 45 years. I cannot imagine a life anywhere else. But, this is not about me….its about you and your family.

    • Sandi,
      Well, yeah. Now, so many years later? I wouldn’t trade the missing muscle of my leg for what it taught me…on so many levels. The aftermath was unending. Then, one day, I stood straight, walked with purpose again. “They”- all those experts, told me I would never ride again and there was no way I would ever guide for Sheep. They were wrong.

      Alaska is unforgiving, true. Pioneer Outfitters has grown and opened itself, every year since we began, way back before any of our own time, to accept the lessons Alaska offers to those ready to learn. Speaking for myself, there are no guides, anywhere, I would trust to lead me or my own children or loved ones into the wilderness, aside from Pioneer Outfitters.

      The Pioneer Outfitters Survival & Guide Training is harder on the newest trainees, not because the work is so incredibly difficult- but because of the apparent non-issue of the work. Do you remember the first Karate Kid movie? Think- “wax on, wax off”. If you can’t rake a few yards, feed dogs, check on horses, haul water and cut wood….How can you be responsible for someone else’s child or loved one? How can you lead people; friends, guests or clients, into the untamed wilderness and deal with whatever the big momma- Mother Nature, throws at you? …sometimes it takes awhile for that to sink in!

      Thank you for your input, Sandi. I know there is MUCH I could learn from you, as well. I look forward to that day.
      ~Amber-Lee, aka Alaska Chick

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