October brought a slight chill to the air of Montana, reminding me that winter–a winter without school, or class, or homework–was coming. But I’ve always liked school. I like having a schedule that is scattered throughout my day and ranges from environmental studies to music to tutoring writing and mentoring first years. I loved the exploration and the experiences that made me the person I am today. Those crisp autumn winds reminded me that that era in my life was over.
I sat on a full-sized bed, cross-legged, fidgeting with my hair in my phone’s front-facing camera while I waited for the interview to start. An interview for a job that I was qualified for, but didn’t desperately desire–second choice to another position I’d already missed out on at the same company. Yet it was a community, a place to work, a place to go after weeks of unplanned adventure on the road.
I accepted a job with T Lazy 7 Snowmobiles the very next day, and it’s been four months since then. Updates have been few and far between, and non-existent on this website. If not for the two feet of snow outside my front door, I’d think it was still summer, an endless limbo until my next 9 AM biology class.
At roughly 8,500 foot in elevation, it’s enough to take your breath away after a flight of stairs and cut your alcohol tolerance in half (seriously). I’ve learned about the magic of downhill skiing, the danger of avalanches and backcountry winters, and the absurdity of spending the same amount of money on your drink as your dinner. I’ve been fortunate enough to jump in as a back-up snowmobile guide and spend multiple days a week at the recreation center down the road. Overall, snow has been lacking throughout the year, but in the last two weeks we’ve accumulated 24+ inches. Hooray!
I feel like I have accomplished a lot here in Aspen, Colorado. I challenged myself by taking on a new job in a field that I have little to no experience in–sales! I never would have called myself a salesman, but I’ve learned how to successfully promote ideas and adventures and gained skills I know I will use in the future.
I have picked up old hobbies like fidgeting on the piano and crocheting. For the first time in my life, I have even crocheted the same pattern more than once–a pom-pom topped hat that I sell in our snowmobile office gift shop. In the past two months I have sold 11 hats, with three more ready to go in the shop.
I’ve taught myself new hobbies, too. John and I invested in our first pairs of cross country skis, and we can jump onto the Forest Service trail at the bottom of our front porch staircase. Skiing through the mountains gives me a sense of peace and wonder that I have rarely found in other activities. I’ve also found a passion for cooking and baking, and collecting recipes. If you’re still reading and have a favorite recipe, please send it my way! My recipe book is starting to fill up with remarkable foods from family and friends.
The future is always on my mind–where I’ll be living, what I want to do next, what I want to work towards. I’m happy to announce that I will be going back to Denali National Park and Preserve for my third summer in interior Alaska, and I could not be more thrilled. I will be a Field Educator with the Denali Education Center, an environmental education non-profit near the park entrance. This position is going to offer me many new challenges and I know I will learn a lot. What a dream to spend my days creating connections for visitors with Denali’s wild landscape!
More updates soon on planning for our next Canada-Alaska road trip,