The Great Alaskan Departure

Yes boys and girls it's that time of year when the leaves have turned and the Arctic fronts are bringing in winds and ice from the North. Summer in the northern hemisphere is on it's way out, and so am I. I'm currently at the airport awaiting a 2 AM depature to Phoenix where I connect and fly to Belize City, Belize.

Lox, crackers, pickles, and a spicey bleu cheese and smoked salmon dip.

Mexican night. Enchiladas verdes, nacho platter, arroz, y burritos con pez, pollo, y carne asado. In 20 hours I will be speaking spanish to get around Belize and will have to adapt my ingredient lists to what centroamerica has to offer. Speaking of which, I bettter put together a shopping list after this post because on Friday morning I got to do some shopping with the marine biologists.

Caramelized apples seasoned with nutmeg and ginger, nuts, berries, carrots, onion, lettuce. Pretty much a fall salad. A wild berry red wine vinaigrette goes good with it.

Garlic, butter, parsley, dill, and shrimp.

Lemon and whisky meringue pie.

After all that it was time to shut the kitchen down for winter.

In preparation for Belize I stocked up on a few leftover bulk spices we had laying around.

Food is all packed up and ready to be flown out. If anything is left behind, and it smells of anything an animal might eat, it will get eaten. Even the carpets have to be deep cleaned because bear will break in during the winter and knawl the carpets to pieces (and that means a total lodge raid) because they taste like food.

My mess this morning. I like the chaos method of packing. Just throw it all on the floor, then piece it together and pack it in tight into my small space luggage. I'm down to a medium traveling backpack, small grey backpack, and guitar case... I'm getting more efficient and need less to get a traveling cooking job done. Goal is to not have to open my big bag until I get to my bedroom at the atoll. Once opened it's like pandoras box and there ain't no way of getting it all back together again.

Last night we all got together and gave our final word on the sucdcess of the seaosn. I'm going to miss that fox, I saw a 900 Lb. bear, I caught a big fish, I ate smoked salmon everyday, I learned, and I'm going to miss the fast mail service we have.

At 10 Am I was on the ATV and out of there. Peace Igi Lodge.

Adios fishermen.

Adios lodges.

The boat...

The ATV...

Then the airport. Someone posted this on the community board, I'm glad the Igiugig village thinks about alternative energies.

De plane mon, here is de plane.

Don't know what's going on here but it looks as if the sun is raining down on Lake Iliamna.

Hopefully once a year I will be able to become a part of Alaska's wild majesty. Just the beauty is worth protecting. We made a few stops at several remote airfields. At one place a truck with a 'Pebble' decal on it's side pulled up and three geologists got out of the truck wearing their field suits and carrying maps. Everyone on the planned stared at them... to hell with Pebble, save the environment. All was quite on the flight to Anchorage. In Anchorage I needed a ride to the airport so I asked to hop in the taxi with the geologists, maybe I could learn something. Right away I brought up the mine and asked them what's going on there. They tell me right now it's only a 'project', moreso a 'science study involving number crunching to look at potential mineral yields'. There is no mining taking place as of today, but they are examining the prospect deeply. The taxi cab driver went into a fit and said it's the absolute wrong thing to do for the environment. The largest sockeye salmon run in the world would be more than likely be executed with the creation of this mine. The company that runs the show is from UK and Canada. So, why do we have foreign companies making mining claims on US territory?

There's that Mt. Reboubt again.

Hello Anchorage. With 16 hours to kill before my flight I think I walked down half of the streets you see below.

Here's where I am at this very second, as if I have to be so precise for the given moment (not), but beyond the worlds biggest brown bear you can see my office haha. The bears head is about the size of my fat dalmation Daisy.

Just one of the many random signs I come across.

Well, it's been a great end to the summer cooking at Igiuigig Lodge. All the clients were happy and I enjoyed my job. I was given the chance to experiment and improve my skills, especially in regards to desserts. Thank you Brad and Brenda for letting me get a taste of Igiugig. One of the best work environments I've ever been in and the kitchen it so spacey.

There you have it, two cooking jobs back to back in Alaska, one for a geology field camp and the other for a fly fishing job. I'm on my way to Belize to cook for marine biologists, and after that I will be heading down to Antarctica to cook at McMurdo Station, which should be sometime around November 1. Another summer done, and another one to come. This is going on 4 summers back-to-back and I keep saying this, but I can't wait until the day I can hibernate during a dark, cold winter. Ohio Rebel by blood, Antarctica Cowboy by name, Universal Cheffing is my game. Ciao, I'm off to paradiso. Hasta la vista baby.