~ What if they choose me for this Alaska Expedition?
On July 31st, 2012 I logged into Face Book and switched over to Pioneer Outfitters’ Page. I saw that I had been left a message and read it. Alaska Expedition. Then, I read it again.
What was this?! It must be some sort of a joke or shot in the dark at best, a scam at worst.
But. Somewhere in my mind, I also saw a glimmer of light. The crack of light was in the shape of a door that had been cracked into a dark room, unlatched and opened, just a bit.
Master Guide Terry Overly had received a call just that morning from somebody – or – other with something – or – other, similar just that morning, I thought thinking back.
Terry had been telling me about the call as I listened with half an ear (and less attention) about some sort of an Alaska Expedition, as I was thinking more about what still had to be done before we left Chisana with our first clients for the 2012 Fall Hunting Season.
I clicked back over to Face Book and read the message again and decided I would see where it led. Following the link in the message, to my surprise it was Metal Flowers Media a casting company based in Hollywood, California.
I filled out their short questionnaire. (So much simpler after filling out so many and creating so many profiles on the different channels and networks of Social Media, these past 20+ months!)
That was fun! Back to work.
Had the river gone down far enough to be able to cross with a Pioneer Outfitters Guide Trainee, in safety, to retrieve the 9 range horses that were my personal string when guiding? They had been left to graze all summer as the Chisana Glacier flooded the Chisana River rose dangerously.
Had all the paperwork been received and readied from the clients expected for the 2012 Fall Hunting Season? Did the trainees at Pioneer Outfitters have all of their gear? Were they ready for their “hands on training”?
A few hours more past and I was ready to log-off and head to the barn to check on the training and work being done there before heading home to spend some time studying for the Alaska Registered Guide exam that I had finally given into the ongoing badgering to and applying to. A final quick run through the email accounts, as I was saving and filing all of today’s work, and a new incoming email caught my eye.
The application that I had filled out only hours earlier, had a reply.
Why would I have been chosen to be a group of people to transverse some of the toughest 200 miles Alaska has to offer extreme adventurers?
At 41 years old, soon to be 42 in 2012, more than half of my life has been intertwined and connected to Pioneer Outfitters.
Pioneer Outfitters is family created, owned and operated outdoor recreation, horse-outfitting, Adventure, Big Game Hunting and Alaska Guide Training, located in the remote interior of Alaska since 1924.
Chisana, home to Pioneer Outfitters, is a fly-in area in the Wrangell Mountains, inside our nation’s largest National Park, the Wrangell St.-Elias National Park and Preserve.
We operate year-round with Horseback Adventures, Big Game Hunting, Winter & Spring Excursions and state of Alaska approved Survival & Guide Training program.
Very simply, the life we live every day is a life of adventure and survival. Everything we have in Chisana is flown in, hauled in behind snow-machines or ridden, in the case of the horses.
There is no magic heat, no magic water and no magic lights to be had with the turn of a knob or the flick of a switch.
We haul our water, maintain our generators, fly in our fuel, groceries and supplies, cut, haul and split our firewood. We mix concrete in half 50 gallon barrels, lift and pour our own foundations, cut, haul, peel and lift logs for the walls of our buildings. We work on our airplanes and tend our livestock and range horses. We hunt, fish and trap for food, skins and fur.
Is this something special? Most days it is simply our lives. There is a special freedom in knowing that what comes, can be met. There is a special joy in being surrounded by such beauty and the power of nature.
The knowing that comes slowly, as humble becomes part of each of us as our understanding makes it part of our own character, that Nature’s fickle finger, her vicious and unmerciful whims can be met and dealt with as they come.
Survival is readiness and anticipation. Strength of mind and body.
I am honored that I was asked to participate in Nat-Geo’s project and if I am called on, I will go. I will not quit and I will survive this too.
The interview I did for Nat-Geo was posted to Vimeo later, and here it is!