I know I still owe a post to Carola Fitzhugh for her questions on Face Book a few days ago! I wrote it, and promptly lost the whole dang thing. My brain is bruised from the loss… I’ll get back to it, I promise!
This post is for Paul Preston and his wife, Allison, to answer their questions about the possibility of making Chisana and Pioneer Outfitters their home at some point in the future.
Paul wrote: “I have spent literally HOURS reading through the official website and your Face Book page while I was waiting to talk with Terry… It was well worth it because I answered lots of questions on my own, lol. Obviously cost is always going to be a factor in a person’s decision making (some would give up their first born for an opportunity like this but would never be able to afford the school… Very unfortunately. Knowing what kind do personal attributes or qualities (mentally, physically, skills, experience, etc.) you guys have learned to look for. I know you have made it very clear that it will push a person to their limits. Ever had people that ate it up and begged for more? Is their certain reasons people typically seem to fail? And what is Chisana like?…. Haven’t been able to find much about it online. These are just a few of the things I was wondering about as I read through the info and blogs. Just food for thought…. On the other hand, ay gotta have something to talk about when these potential trainees call! Take care guys and hopefully Terry, yourself, my wife and I can get something worked out soon!”
Alrighty! I know Terry and Paul spent ages on the phone the other day chatting and sharing with each other, getting to know each other and I very briefly (my favorite kind) spoke with Mrs. Preston yesterday, myself.
First, let me say to you ALL, and both Preston’s as well, we will always do what we can to help dreams come true. THAT is what we do.
“Ever had people that ate it up and begged for more?” ABSOLUTELY! LOL, yes. And by the way, there is always more!
“Is there certain reasons people seem to fail?” Yes. There sure is. Of the people that fail, 97% of the time people fail, because they quit. Period. Sound too simple? Not really, if you think about it. The toughest part of living in Chisana, is learning to deal with YOURSELF.
I don’t quit. Pioneer Outfitters don’t quit. We wont quit on you. Ever.
Learning to deal with yourself is part of what folks call “growing up.” But it is more, I believe. Learning to deal with yourself requires you to know and understand yourself inside and out. No fantasies, no lies, no pretending. The in-your-face truth. Brutal truth. No place to hide, just the real you.
What does that have to do with training? Living in Chisana deprives one of all the normal and social “escapes” we, as people, use to “pretend” with others and themselves (ourselves) that we are something we are not. Going to the corner bar, going out to restaurants with friends, going out dancing, simply being “social.” We call those, “escapes.”
When you live in an environment like Chisana, we live, work, eat and play together. Day in and day out. Every single laugh, every tear, every frustration, every triumph, every loss or failure… there are no secrets from each other.
What does that mean all together? It means after awhile, you (me, her, him…. all of us…) run out of other people to blame. To blame for not knowing something, not doing it well, for having a bad day, for basically anything. Blame. Blame is what people fall back on when they cannot face the truth.
So. What to do? Face yourself. Know yourself. Better yourself. (This is an important one.) Better yourself. Not better than me, him or her… better yourself from who you were yesterday. Every day.
So, why do people quit? Because: #1 Guide Training and/or guiding isn’t nearly as fun and easy as they’d hoped and thought it would be. (We take Guide Training very seriously. It really isn’t a tv show.) #2 Trainees are expected and rated on their own efforts to improve themselves and their skills and abilities consistently. (We are a family, we have a good time and are typically busy living. It is easy to forget we are paying attention.) #3 Homesick…. Some of the people that come to us, this is their first time out and away. (We are really out and away!)
“What is Chisana like?” There really isn’t anything online that comes anywhere near portraying the truth of it’s beauty and uniqueness.
Chisana, “Shushanna” as it was known, means “red river” or Tsetsaan’ Na’ ~ literally, copper river or red river. Copper mining inspired some of the early prospectors to travel to the land that is now Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, but it was the discovery of gold in Chisana (pronounced Shoo-shana) that began the last great historic gold rush in Alaska (1913).
Pioneer Outfitters has made its living as horse- outfitters from it’s’ birth. Taking those generations of living in this enormous wilderness and using them to show you all there is to be seen and to help you safely experience all the wonders it has to offer.
Since 1924…When Canadian and Alaskan frontiersmen Lou Anderton & Co. started Pioneer Outfitters with horse trips to the Bonanza Creek to pan for gold and sightseeing and Spring Bear Hunts, they couldn’t have known the legacy they were building.
Mostly? Chisana is home.
There’s always more to share, (I’ve proven that with my posts! LOL) and someone, each person that calls or emails can always come up with a new question for me to answer… (bring it on!)
I hope I answered these questions clearly for you Paul (and you, Allison!), don’t be shy about it! Tell me if you have more.
Allison Preston (Paul’s wife and partner in life) also added her buck-fifty asking how long we work on navigation… (that’s a new question!). We will work with any trainee until the skill is mastered, navigation included. Some find this skill harder than others (the compass and map reading). Allison also asked if I had any extra tips for women as trainees and what I would add to the gear list with a woman in mind. THIS will be written next! (I should have thought of this one, myself, Allison, thank you!)
To end, Allison made me snort my coffee all over my keyboard asking me “Why is it that some of your clothes need to be black?” I laughed, because I don’t believe anyone has ever asked me that and it is a big deal out here, at Pioneer Outfitters.
Pioneer Outfitters is Master Guide Terry Overly, and he is known in these parts as “The Man in Black.” We are his team and the black marks us as his team. Trainees and Professional Guides alike, we are part of something special, doing something incredible and very special. It is a sign of respect, for Master Guide Terry Overly and for the Guiding industry he represents with each breath.
Besides. The old guides out here in the bush tend to make fun of all the different camo patterns and it tends to rub off. I wear what keeps me warm and dry and it tends to be a mixture of black, pink (No, the critters don’t seem to care!) and camo.
Keep the fantastic questions coming, folks, and I will do my best to answer each and every one!