Keeping Up With The Boys, In the Bush of Alaska

Keeping Up With The Boys is one of the aspects of this blog. What it is, an on-going update of how Pioneer Outfitters Guide Trainees are managing.  As Wilderness and Big Game Guides, as people.  The Pioneer Outfitters family is smaller than normal this winter. Smaller is only relative, as we keep on doing the same things, the same ways, we keep learning, living and trying to share our slice of the world with others.The Pioneer Outfitters Team

When I arrived, all I knew was how to work and work hard. Instant success? Not in my new twisted little man-world. (I didn’t know how to cook.) What a time. So much to learn. So many mistakes to be made. The years go by so quickly as I learn all I can, not just to survive, but to strive towards more. To learn everything I can about as much as I can. I knew, I had to become a guide. A female guide, in the back country of Alaska.

Keeping up with the boys is a full-time endeavor, not unlike being a parent, most specifically, a mother.

No matter how many times you say it, it’ll have to be said again. “What we do, every single day, is hard.”  No matter how hard it looks on the surface, it is going to be harder.

Alaska Chick with Dall Sheep
Alaska Chick Rich Gribble's 2nd Dall Sheep- it is harder than the guys make it look!

No matter if the boys look at me and roll their eyes, it will come. The day, they don’t want to, get up, go out, and do the same things every single day, no matter if it is 60 below, raining cats and dogs, blowing that wind straight off one of the largest pieces of ice in the world sitting 5 miles away or sweltering hot with the mosquitos fighting over the last drops of blood left in your body… the same thing has to be done. Whether it’s cutting firewood, hauling water, feeding dogs, tracking horses, it all has to be done, you have to do it. What’s more, is that strength, the strength it takes to do the job, needs to be more when you do it everyday.

Accidents happen. Slivers, cuts, bonks (that’s a technical term) or bruises. You are going to go flying off snow machines, get hit by branches, smacked in the face when it is freezing (and we ALL know that hurts), kicked by horses, bonked with falling trees (THAT should only happen once! -Pay Attention!), bludgeoned by falling rocks that clients and newbie-trainees let loose descending off a mountain, saddle sore, muscle strains and experience long, never ending periods of exhaustion. The strength comes in right there. Making sure you stay strong, eat well, sleep well, are all part of staying strong. The reason is, you get to do it all again tomorrow. The reason is people are depending on you, to keep them safe and taken care of. The animals are depending on you, to keep them safe and take care of them. Another point to understand is that it is also your inner strength. The strength of your mind. If your mind grows weak, your body will follow.Alaska Chick

Keeping up with the boys has another twist that has to be mentioned. I am getting old. Yes, it is true. You might think I should say, “I’m getting older.” No, that was a few years ago. I think the proof of that being fact is you really start thinking things through, you really have a multitude of experiences to base your actions on, without even thinking about it. Certain activities that used to thrill, now make you shudder at the thought (which wasn’t even a shadow before) of actually breaking another bone, or how much something was gonna hurt the next day.

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