Week 10 in the Arctic

This is my 10th week up in Prudhoe Bay just outside of Deadhorse. It’s a thrilling, yet somber time as well. As I approach my 3 month mark, I know I’ll be back home for a week at the start of May. It seems I just got here. The night was pitch black with howling winds upwards of 30 miles an hour and temperatures below -70 at times. Piles of snow inside my door from fierce gusts blasting my door all night long. Meeting new people who I was to work with, then seeing those people leave the Arctic back to their lives elsewhere after just a few short weeks of getting to know them. Seeing new, starry-eyed people come to Alaska to work with me, one by one, until our winter team was fully assembled. Making friends with these new people and being amazed at how well we worked together.

I’ve also made friends with the work crews that come up. All of them have been nice and receptive of my food, which I appreciate. I’ve connected with them all and know most by their first name. If you know me at all, you’d know how great of a feat that is. I’m always sad to see some of them leave on their 3 week rotation but their permanent replacements end up showing their faces a few days later, which is nice. I’ve also become familiar with the area, making me excited for the summer. Even though my fate is uncertain if I’m staying at this particular camp or down in Cold Foot for the summer, it’s still nice to know my surroundings and the history of the area.

A light of uncertainty comes with me going home in a few weeks, too. As I miss my family very much, especially my mom and dad, I feel my time in Alaska has been too short to just reappear back into everybody’s lives. I don’t have a girlfriend that needs me and all my closest friends that I care about have girlfriends, wives, or kids that have always kept them busy. It’s strange to me that I can just show up for just a few days with just enough time for everyone I know to say hi and be on my way again. Albeit it’s rather important I go home for this small, diluted time for physical examinations or other tests they want to run on me for Antarctica, I’d just as much rather stay here where I can focus on making myself better, even healthier for my family back home.

With that said, it’ll be good to see my parents, siblings, and friends again. It’ll be nice to see my grandpa’s grave that passed away while I was up here. To see my grandma and give her my sympathies and apologies for not being able to make it back home for the funeral. Maybe I can convince some friends to take some time out of their busy lives to venture into the mountains or walk around Salt Lake City, reveling in humanity’s grasp on civilization in the valley around my home town one last time for the next 5 months that I’ll be in Alaska. We shall see.

For the last month of winter, my focus while I’m working up here will be squarely on making exceptional food while improving my techniques through repetition, intuitiveness, and studies. I’ll also be looking to lose some weight. I’m tired of being fatigued at the end of the night when I get off work with not much more energy for anything else. I’d like to be able to do physical labor without too much strain on my body and I can’t do that when I’m overweight. My goal is to lose 25 pounds by the time I go home, which is in about 5 weeks. 4 pounds a week is a reasonable goal considering I’ve lost 7 pounds since I started taking my health seriously. I think that’ll be attainable if I stay focused and keep changing my diet for the better. Wish me luck in that aspect 🙂

I’m hoping my new coworkers down in the middle of no-where at Coldfoot are as nice as the ones I’ve met so far up here. I also hope I’ll adjust to sleeping in a giant tent with a room mate in the middle of Alaska all summer long. I’ll be the lead dinner cook, from my understanding. Whatever that means. Cooking for 150 to 200 people is a far cry from what I’ve been doing in Prudhoe Bay so that’ll be nice. If there’s one thing I’ve learned the past 4 years working up north, there’s plenty of hours and money to be made in Alaska. You just have to look hard enough. If I do end up going down the Dalton Highway a few hundred miles, I won’t have phone service but I will have limited internet. I’m glad I’d at least have some way with connecting to the outside world.

But as for now, I sit in my chair in my room writing this blog and thinking about life. I’ve always been good at imagining where I want my life to take me, though it hardly ends up where I expected it to. As I stare into the night sky every night on my way to my room, I always wish those moments never pass. Even though they do, they’re always replaced by just as beautiful and memorable memories as before. Live life how you see it around you, not how the world sees you and you’ll always find yourself in the place you were always meant to be. Even if you didn’t necessarily know where it was going to lead. 🙂