Free Stuff

Found out that we ain't leaving to Denali until tomorrow. I awoke at 5 AM in the truck, waited... waited... nobody showed up. Then a grad student arrived at 8 to open the doors. Boss came later and said they revised the schedule. Cool beans, lots to do around here. The students had class at 9 and after that they started working on their papers.

I wanted to see if I could get into the university recreation center so I journeyed down the giant hill and came to this... a free market with a bunch of free stuff. At first I thought it was a flea market and I dug through my pockets for change, but then on the mic they said everyone take what you want. Ironic because I had planned on going to clothing store to get some warmer gear and more coffee cups for the crew, but I didn't want to spend any money. This helps.

Here's a cool poster I got a hold of. It's going up in the truck for sure. Brit loves to watch Family Guy and she almost got me hooked on it ;) Where I go it's hard to get TV so I tend to not watch the moving pictures, but even way up north I can't avoid Stewie's lessons. He's my favorite character ... smart, independent, best friend with his dog and trying to take over the world.

Skis anyone? Wok? Tempting... but too small for me and needs a flame burner.

Food? Na, I got plenty of it in the truck.

Then back up the hill to pack it all in the truck.

You betcha.

The Christmas lights will be a blast. When we hook up electric at the RV camp I'm going to string the coloured lights all throughout the inside of my home and create a retro camp kitchen. I've found it much more relaxing to cook when you cover two of the three windows on the inside with trash bags. I love ambience. My favorite kitchens to work in our those that are dim and chill with a dash of ease of mind, especially when I'm near the poles and the sun doesn't set. Gotta create serum melatonin some way for a healthy circadian rhythm.

Cool black hoody but I think it could use a fixin.

That's better. Now I'm going to head back down the hill to the rec. center. Last time it was a marathon, this time it was a free market, who know's what will be there next.


Denali Here We Come!

After I got back from the cabin on Coyote Trail I had to find something to do until it was time to go shopping again. I planned out the shopping list last night, so that was taking care of. Maybe shower? Sure. So I snuck over to the dorm and found a way in. Instantly I threw in my laundry and headed to the guys shower room. After I got in the shower I realized I forgot my shaving stuff and shampoo. I hiked all the way back to the truck, grabbed my gear, then went back to the shower. Before... After... haha don't know why I did this, but it's funny to me. Can't wait to see myself before and after 11 days in the bush in Denali.

After the baptism I ate a sandwich.

Looking out the kitchen/truck window I noticed Prof. Rainer didn't go home last night. Instead he slept on the hood of his car. Smart idea. He probably turned the engine on until the hood got hot enough to keep him warm throughout the morning. This dude never sleeps. He drinks at least 10 cups of coffee a day. Students tell me he popped two energy drinks and a few canned starbucks on the last trek. June told me he had an I.V. bag outside his old office labeled 'Coffee'.

Then I headed upstairs to the geo lunch room. June told me to meet her at 1 to do some shopping. I read a really interesting newspaper on mining and drilling. Why was this on the front desk in the geo lunch room? the only we find gold, water, and oil is through geology and geophysics. You could dowse, but folks don't know about that ;)

June arrived on time and we headed to the store. We loaded up her truck with mostly freshies and meats. She told me I'm picking up a few more scientists on the Denali trip... that puts me at 28 clients, fine by me.

Just before I got back to the computer room I had to sort and pack all of this into the cook truck. Every cupboard is stocked full. I bought some steak, hot dogs, ground beef, pork loin, catfish fillets, chix thighs and drumsticks. That should give us at least 8 good meals.

Time to go for a walk before the sun sets. Haha, ya right, the sun don't set. I have to be up at 6 to pack all the student bags in the truck and then Bill and I hit the road. Guess I'll be sleeping in the truck tonight, no point in blowing 35 bucks on a dorm room when you have a truck full of food and a spot on the floor. Cheerio, be back in like 11 days. Here comes big bear time, thankfully there's a shotgun hidden in my cupboard, but all will be well... this ain't anything like the grizzlies of Kodiak.

A Night of Relaxation

After we unloaded the student backpacks into the bay the students came and picked them up. Once that was finished I scratched my head and thought, 'Do I sleep in the truck again?'... 'Shower?'... 'Laundry?'. Bill comes from behind and tells me that his wife really wants to meet me and hear my stories. There was my answer. Thank you Bill. Bill left to go do some more work and a few of the girls came up and asked me if I wanted to go out drinking at the Howling Wolf tonight. Hmm... sounds tempting, cool name for a bar, but then again I already made a promise to Bill's wife that I'd stay at their place, plus I need to put together a short shopping list for our next buy. I'll have plenty of time to party in the future, life's a party anyway. Later Bill and I jumped into his little car and headed to his visitor cabin... on Coyote Trail.

Pretty AK Huskies. Bill's wife prepared some dinner for us and it was delicious and well needed. During dinner I told her all about my journeys and how I view myself as a traveling cooking school. More or less a Chef that travels and learns from the scientists of the world their ambitions and studies, and then spreads that knowledge by dropping nuggets here or there to other camps. Behind this western knowledge pursuit my primary goal is to learn from natives their food habits, sustainability, wholesome recipes, irrigation practices, and environmental spirituality which I can then hopefully integrate into the modern, developed social matrix. After a chat and din I hiked to the cabin that I was staying at, the cabin Anne built while Bill was doing exploration geology for a mining company several years ago. It was quiet, no mosquitoes, warm... nothing better to ask for. There I planned the next 10 days of our menu. Thankfully I did a lot of work before I came to Alaska, so all I need now is the purchase list.

I've found a free life high up in the trees. No worries and no hurry an ol' soul on the road, no fines, no tolls, just bliss that's all. -lyrics from a song I'm trying to put together


UAF Geo Camp Segment 1: Livengood

Monday morning I woke up in the cook truck and started loading the student bags around 6 in the morning. All night I heard people walking around the truck and realized some folks in Fairbanks really don't sleep.

After that, Bill and I took off in the banana boat. The truck is slow and our 70 mile journey was going to take at least 3 hours since a lot of it is uphill. Our first stop along the way was to pick up some potties.

Here's the geo mafia passin us.

Gold mines were scattered along the highway.

The road we were on followed a major pipeline. After staying a few nights in Fairbanks I know now what the main 'intention' of this town is... gold and oil.

Finally, we arrived at an old drilling campsite in Livengood. The campsite was dotted with rundown trailers and machinery. A few of the buildings had been kept up a bit and housed a gold mining group.

Here's Bill and Lara chatting about the past. She used to be a geology student at UAF and now works for the mining company.

Bill talked with the boss of the camp while I scanned the walls... "Double Gold Resources at Livengood..." Bill hooked up with another guy and he helped us find a suitable place to make our camp.

Hmmm...Hmmm....This site looks cool to me. The students arrived around 3 PM and set up their tents.

Here's the boys putting together the main galley tent.

Folks eating their first lunch. For lunchtime I just throw out sandwiches, wraps, snacks, granola bars, trail mix, veggies, fruit, etc. and they pack it up in a bag for their field bushwack excursion.

Once they started packin up to leave for the field I began deep cleaning the kitchen.

Here they are getting ready...

Adios amigos.

Once they left I checked out the camp.

See the moose terds.

After my little hike I began prepping for dinner. On the first night is was gonna be easy Wawaiin ham n' cheese sandwiches. Nothing to elaborate, just something filling and tasty. My goal was to see how much they would consume and how the kitchen equipment worked.

This dish was actually created by my buddy Franko in Australia. Thanks man.

Always keeping an inventory and notes on what they like and dislike.

They return around 7 PM and get their grub... vulture they are haha, but I don't blame them. For the days after this it was around 50 deg F and rainy the whole time. They are out for at least 8 hours hiking through the bush, in rain, tramping through creeks, while obtaining rocks samples and observations, which they eventually map. So they need all the calories they can get.

After eating they get to work on their maps. The goal of the camp: be able to map geological findings obtained firsthand from the field, and furthermore generate some ideas about processes and history.

I just hang with my second baby... the guitar. They say they like to hear the music while they're working so I'll keep it up.

Morning comes and goes the next day, and they grab their lunch again. The suns out... just for the morning.

When they leave this time I get to writting some lyrics and tanning. Rough this place is... ;) But, keep in mind I'm up at 5 to start breakfast and don't get to bed until 11 once the dishes are done and the students crawl into their tents. My siesta is from 12-2, other than that I'm cooking and planning.

Lyrics inspired by the local enviroment.

Mexican night. Stevo sheltered in the warm and stinky wet clothes drying tent.

Oh ya, the kitchen is my bed too. I love it.
Sunday morning I woke up and everything was wet. So much ran put a giant puddle on the roof and the 3 hatches were leaking, big time. So I cooked in my rain gear.

Good thing about being a cook at the poles... I'm usually always in a warm room.

Eat this.

Great American Breakfast.


Setting up lunch. Yes, it's cold and wet, but I'm used to it.

Since it was icky I decied to use the leftover beans and rice from Mexican night, and the leftover ham from the Hawaiin ham n' cheese sandwiches, to make a Louisana Spicey Sausage Gumbo. Don't know if such a dish exists, but I made it haha.

I only have to do dishes twice a day, for dinner the students do it.

Can't wait to go through a winter and get 12 hours of sleep everynight again. I've gone through two years of summer and it's going to continue when I head back to the south pole. One day I'll see the stars again...

Wake up at 5. Coffee.

The old fashioned way.

This morning I got my routine down and am feeling the flow of the kitchen. Time for some bacon, egg, and cheese baggelwiches.

Today was our last day in Livengood and after breakfast everyone packed up.

We broke down the camp.

I took the trash out of the Eagle.

Bill wrote down the gas while I munched away on some trail mix. Can't wait for a shower. When we leave to Denali in 36 hours it will be 10 days without a shower.

The sun started to come out again on our way back :)

This has been the highlight of my trip so far. Beauty in the hillsides. Well, actually, the marathon was cool and writing this one song I got stuck in my head has been a blast, and cooking has been fun too. Everything's been a highlight. Just wait for Denali's photos. Denali will be 10 days without any communication, so bear with me, I'm still here... I'm just hanging with the bears.