NOLS Alaska Mountaineering – Day 30
Hello from civilization!
So today had its ups and downs, but mostly it was ups! We started out the day with a little rain in our final campsite, but it stopped by the time we got going at 8. Also everyone was on time getting ready! Only took us to the last day, haha.
We bushwhacked for two hours (during which time I got stung in the forehead by a wasp… oww), until we could finally see the road! The only problem was there was a large river between us and it.
After making our way along the river for another half hour to find where the river crossed the road (aka our meeting spot) we all got tired of bushwhacking and decided to cross the river and walk down the road. It wasn’t too hard, and then it took about two minutes to get up onto the road. We all cheered and jumped with excitement! Meanwhile, a Princess cruise line tour bus drove by, slowed down, and reasonably asked what was going on (the sight of 15 people appearing out of the bush and then jumping around must have been weird). We told them about our trip, they took pictures like we were some attraction (haha) and then we started walking down the road towards our meetup spot as the bus drove off.
When we finally got to the place, what else should we find but a full horse trailer! I got to pet them and was so excited.
Next we organized stuff to be loaded onto the bus, and then waited. Although it was scheduled to come at 2pm, it showed up around 1 and we were ecstatic. Food! The driver came out of the bus carrying some Ruffles, cookies, blueberry cake, and surprise boxes from our parents! Mine had sweedish fish, gummies, and slim jims. YUM!
After being completely filled, we were on the bus and I sat back watching Alaska roll by my window without me having to move a muscle. It was great.
Around 3:30, we all decided we were hungry again and got into the dinner the branch had packed us: some sort of chinese peanut noodles and lettuce. It was good, but my stomach wasn’t happy with it afterwards. When we finally reached the hub (gas station in the middle of nowhere), I was feeling back to normal and bought myself: a pint of Hagan Das chocolate ice cream, a york min, a hershey bar, an orange soda, and a nectarine from the farmer’s market outside. Yum! I was soo happy, and slept and did jumble puzzles from my surprise box for the rest of the ride. Oh and we stopped at another bush pilot airport to drop off fuel and pick up trash from another group that was still out in the field. He had a few Pipers I got to see up close which was pretty cool!
When we finally got back to the branch, I was on tent duty while some of the others cleaned out the bus. I quickly set up a tent, and talked to some of the “newbies”, aka students getting ready to leave for their trips tomorrow. It’s a full house in the Palmer NOLS branch too, as we’re here, and tomorrow another course gets in as well. Anyway, after setting up my tent, I got some food and called home. It was so great to hear the voices of mom and dad. I missed them so much!
Next I took my first shower in a month. It was AWESOME and lasted an hour and a half. I did a full shower twice, and STILL found sticks in my hair the second time through!
After the shower I found my iPod in my bag I had left at the branch, and turned on some music, which was phenomenal after not hearing any for so long. With my music on, I tried to organize my stuff a little by putting all of my gross clothes in two plastic bags (separately double bagging my stinky, stinky socks), aired out my sleeping bag, and got all of my stuff I’m returning to the branch together. Also we noticed NOLS provided us with clean sleeping bags (YES!) so I grabbed one and decided to sleep under the stars near the bay, where I am now. Wow, what a day!
That trip was so awesome, and I’m both happy and sad it’s over. I’m definitely doing more outdoor stuff now, but I don’t think I could pull off another full month. It was an incredible learning experience though, and one I’m glad I was able to safely have. That was awesome.
Also I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror today. It was odd since I really haven’t seen myself in a long time. I’ve gotten pretty thin, and wow am I tan!
Ok time to sleep. I’m off to the B&B tomorrow, and then heading home! Yay!
And that’s it for NOLS 2009! Below are a few bonus pics from my time in Anchorage and heading home. =)
The book I read during my trip was Alaska by one of my favorite authors, James Michener. Find it here!