After spending my entire life in school, shifting between classes, sports and pursuing whatever it was I thought was important at the time - I was ready to slide into six more years of classes and homework. It would be easy and in my comfort zone. Like all college grads I constantly doubted myself and asked is this what I really want? Mmmm.... shit. Shit six more years of school? So I applied to 20 internships one Saturday, three weeks before I'd walk the stage. Within the week I was proudly announcing, "I'm going to Alaska." Little did I know exactly where I was going, nor what I'd be doing but isn't that the point? No one does - you just have to jump. Right? Right?
So a week after this picture was taken I packed up my apartment, said the goodbyes, drove back to my home town and packed. Packed for what I wasn't sure but I brought everything from shorts to thermals. I'll spare you most of the details of the week leading up to the travels - however some important notes: my mom and I bought most of EMS (our local outdoor store) and shipped beans, rice, and dried fruits priority mail to my awaiting, unknown destination.
Arriving in Anchorage after one long flight I spent the night splitting a room with a coworker that I'd connected with through email. We grabbed drinks, chatted and then headed back to our room so we'd get enough sleep before our next leg of travel. At noon we arrived for our small chartered flight - but unlike big airlines you don't leave on time. At 2pm our pilot arrived and by 3pm we were taking off.
Getting in this hunk of metal to fly into this grand abyss of wildlife was the scariest thing I'd ever done in my life. With every jolt and waver of the plane my hands went flying in the air. The other passengers started coming to the rescue by telling me local lore and place names of area. After an hour flight we landed in Port Alsworth, AK in Lake Clark National Park where I started my journey of park service for the next five months.