I’ve been here in Alaska for a month and it has been an incredible experience. I came up here to work the annual salmon run in order to finance my future adventures, and possibly squeeze in some adventuring with every chance I could get, and while I have been doing that, and things were great, that all changed this past week.
My company sent me up to Dillingham to help out the plant there. It was a nice change of pace and scenery and the little down time I had I took advantage with bike rides through the rolling hills of the Dillingham country side. It was such an incredible experience to be the only one on the road while being treated to fields of green stretching out to the mountains and river in the distance. The rush of going down the hill and letting go of the handlebars was so invigorating, I can barley describe the feeling. In fact I don’t think the word invigorating really does it any justice at all. It is truly an incredible experience.
After a week in Dillingham I was supposed to go back to Petersburg with a bunch of my co workers. The company had charted a plane for us to get back. We were supposed to have a quick stop in Anchorage to refuel but it turned into an hour layover. We were then told six people would have to stay the night in Anchorage and that they would be compensated for staying. Since I’m always looking for an adventure, I volunteered to stay behind. They gave us our carry on bags and then the plane left. Thinking that the company was going to get us a hotel, we all waited patiently in the terminal awaiting to hear of any news. Hours passed before I called the company to find out what was going on; only to be told that the hotels were filled up and we were on our own for the night. Two people left because they knew someone in town and didn’t want to wait in the terminal. Leaving only four people including myself in the terminal for the night.
As the night began to press on, we started getting restless. We had no money, some didn’t have phone service and we were stuck in the terminal for the night. I kept counting down the hours until my direct deposit would kick in, and then I knew I would be free. I had called up a hostel and they had plenty of space. I thought I would cab it, and maybe walk the city after checking in, but as time went on, I knew that wouldn’t be an option. The tree other men I was with, had little to no money on them, no direct deposit and one was suffering a migraine. One man used what little money he had to buy us all McDonalds for dinner. I knew that when my direct deposit came in, that I couldn’t leave them here. They were angry, and suffering. I just knew I couldn’t leave them behind like that.
When my deposit went through I called a local hotel and they had a suite that was available, and they offered me a discount. So I took it, and made the reservation. I then went back and informed the men, that I got them a room, and the hotel was coming to pick us up. Their faces immediately lit up, and their mood changed. Within minutes we arrived at the hotel and after I finished checking in we went up to our room. They were so happy with how big it was. Two huge rooms, one with two queen size beds, another with a fold out couch, tvs in every room, a fridge, microwave, the bathroom had a spa tube and a separate shower. It was amazing. One of the guys told me, that he had never stayed somewhere that was this nice. I felt happy that I was able to help these guys out. I didn’t even really know them, I had just learned the names, and yet here we were, “we few, we happy few, we band of brothers…” we would sleep like kings tonight.
The next morning we were back at the airport. We were all on different flights and mine left first. I left Anchorage at eight and was headed off to Juneau. I was suppose to have a three and a half hour layover before my next flight, so I decided to catch a cab and head into town to see some sights before I left. I’ve been wanting to visit Juneau so I took this small opportunity to do so. Shortly after arriving back at the airport I learned there was a problem with the aircraft and a smaller plane was taking it’s place. This meant that some people would be spending the night in Juneau. I volunteered to stay. I don’t really know why either. I was desperate to get back to work. I literally only had a change of clothes, a toothbrush and toothpaste with me. The rest of my luggage was already in Petersburg, but I choose to stay. Maybe a part of me thought or hoped I would see the girl that I meet in Petersburg, even though I knew that she wasn’t here anymore. Still something compelled me to stay.
The airline gave me a room, a few meal tickets and and a flight for the next day, for my travel troubles. After checking into my room, I went on a walk. The views around Juneau and it’s airport are breathtaking. In some places you can see the glacier. I found a small hiking trail that was actually very pleasant and empty considering how close it was to the airport. I’m glad it wasn’t too long of a hike though because the only shoes I had were my Ultra Tuffs, which are just rubber boots. Then again, I guess you can’t be a true Alaskan until you have done a hike in Ultra Tuffs.
As the night began to creep in and I wandered back to my hotel I couldn’t stop thinking of so many things. I thought of home, of my family and my friends. I thought of cats, I thought of places that I still want to see and the things I still want to do. I thought of all that and much more, and yet I didn’t feel lonely or alone, even though I was completely alone. I didn’t mind it, but at the same time I kind of missed everyone. Now I’m back in Petersburg, eagerly awaiting to start working again so I can earn enough money to have more incredible adventures.