An Alaskan wrap up!

So i got a bit distracted my last couple weeks in Alaska. The little internet i could attain didn’t seem hardly worth it when i realized i’d much rather be indulging in saying soaking up my last few days in this incredible place with these amazing people.

To wrap up the season we performed in Renee’s silk show called Elements. After our 6 or so rehearsals, the four of us were ready to present our rendition of Outer Space. Shiny blue leotards, galaxy leggings, fancy eye make up and loads of rhinestones led the way. The performance took place in the gymnasium at the Rec Center where we had our silks classes. The gym was fashioned into a make shift theatrical auditorium complete with stage lights and ambient soundtrack. I performed two silk routines , one for the opening number and one for our outer space routine. We also had 3 dance numbers that accompanied the show. This is the most dancing i’ve done in probably 3 years! Crazy. The show performed two evenings and was the talk of the town. I feel so blessed to have picked up this skill along my journey and hope to continue in NYC if it won’t break the bank : /

There are so many lovely things, events, and happenings that led to the end of my time in Skagway. I wish i had the time and energy to talk about them all, but i’m feeling a bit emotionally exhausted post returning and do believe that some memories are best when left to the moment. One happening i have to share is my wondrous evening of finally seeing the northern lights.

Before i even knew a theater opportunity in Alaska existed i had written in a dream journal that the Northern Lights was the one wonder of the world i simply had to witness. The girls in the cast and i had been rigid about wake up cycles on evenings when the chance of visibility was high, always missing them. A week toward the end of our trip we were getting anxious. Two nights before i left i got a text from my boss that there was a small aurora in the sky, this was at 9pm. I ran out screaming saw the faint light and alerted the rest of the crew. I pleaded with Jimmy to stay up till 10 in hopes of seeing a more distinct light as the evening progressed. We checked, and not much had changed there was another small wave below the first we saw but they were fainter than before. A bit bummed i headed back to bed and decided to set my alarm for 12:15 to check one more time.

To my surprise i opened the back door to reveal a fork of northern lights in the west. This was before i headed down the stairs ran around a helicopter and looked north to see the entire horizon loaded with dancing glowing streams. The lights ebbed, flowed and pulsed. Meridith joined me for some viewing, along with some of the Temsco mechanics. I was in awe. completely at peace and yet amazingly energized by the experience. I felt an overwhelming sense of wonder and fulfillment.

I felt that after that experience was resolved to be at peace saying good bye to Skagway, at least for the time being. The next couple of days were a haze, my head spinning with the culmination of many incredible things and trying to grasp the idea that i would somewhere that could not be more opposite than Alaska in a matter of hours. The travels were messy and emotional and when i returned it was with a heavy heart, some tears and a brain dizzy with culture shock.

On the positive side, i already am reminded of the pulse and opportunity in this city. it was wonderful to be in my own bed, see friends, have my independence and freedom back, and start dreaming of my next adventure.

Signing off from the last frontier i leave you with this quote:

“We travel down the road of mystery not to gain knowledge, but to deepen the mystery.” -John Muir

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I’m on a boat!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

So my good friend Liz Fallon has been performing on the Statendam, a Holland America cruise ship that docks in Skagway every other Wednesday. Liz is a friend that i met at Six Flags St. Louis my last summer i worked there. She moved to NYC two years after me and ironically enough lives just about a 5 minute walk away from me in Astoria. It is simply fitting that we manage to see each other in Alaska!

We had been planning for just about three weeks to join her on her cruise ship for dinner and a classy hang. We finished our 2:30 show and got dolled up quickly and headed out to the big boat.

After approaching the massive piece of machinery we stepped inside to colored glowing lighting, red lush carpets, mirror filled walls and decoration of grandeur. We got a tour of the boat and i felt myself quickly slipping into fancy mode. It’s funny how easy it is to forget the finer things in life when they’re nowhere to be seen. My time here in Skagway has been far from fancy but i didn’t really miss it until i got on this boat and felt a little bit like a princess. From our tour, to our fancy meal, to the classical music we heard in the adagio room from a young violinist and piano player, to the lovely couple i talked to from England who were simply using this trip as a vacation filler to appease their son and daughter in law.

After being on the ship i decided i could get use to living like that for a bit, i would love to be on a cruise ship for 6-9 months if it took me somewhere new and helped me see more of the world.

I’m so lucky that this profession allows me to travel and get my hands into all kinds of nature and culture.

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Brunchin’ with the Baldwins!

Sunday Sepetember 7th

Today is our last day off before an 11 work stretch as we move into wrapping up the season. We move down to our skeleton cast because our days consist of less shows and we don’t need as much support to wrap things up. Jon Baldwin our boss was kind enough to invite us over for Sunday brunch with him and his lovely second half Teegan! Why he would offer that on his one day away from us is beyond me ; ) he must be really proud of us.

I’ll have you know that this was no ordinary brunch. Being residents of NYC we don’t mess around with brunch, it’s a serious extra curricular activity, so we have expectations. Jon blew them out of the water. He made HOME MADE BAGELS!!! They were incredible! Especially when paired with a lemon dill or veggie cream cheese they made to accompany the perfect everything bagels. We also had an assortment of fresh home grown veggies and smoked salmon to top of our bagels. A beautiful shrimp salad and fresh fruit on the side all started with a sensible bloody mary. This was as close as you get to Sunday bliss. In their quaint eclectic Alaskan home i simply gave into the cozy couch, amazing food and warm company of those around me. I felt the stress of work lifting from my can can legs and was reminded why the lifestyle and pace here is so special and unique.

As the afternoon progressed brunch turned into a knitting party after we mentioned our knitting wishes to Teegan she brought to her secret dresser under the stairs that held the worlds most abundantly beautiful yarns! She told us to pick our favorite and choose a pattern. Before i knew i was reading patterns and casting on 150 stitches to make my first hat starting with a RIB stitch. I had knitted a bit as a kid and made a beer koozie a few weeks ago here, but never had i attempted anything as intricate as this beautiful hat on page 70 of this knitting magazine. Here goes nothing! Update to come.

We hadn’t been knitting too long when we had to say our goodbyes to head over to the Skagway Rec Center for silks class. That’s right! Renee is back and we’ve been silking it up, so much in fact, that we are now going to be a part of Renee’s 3rd annual Silk Showcase! This year’s theme is the Elements and me and the other gals are going to be representing space with a dance and small silk routine. We’re ecstatic and sore. More to come!

A little midday Helicopter and Hike!

August 27, 2014

Yes, this is a bit delayed but last Wednesday my Skagway family and I travelled to Upper Dewey Lake via helicopter and hiked back down after our 3 show day!

Jimmy and I had been planning on doing this for weeks, we originally planned to take the dead head up to Upper and camp in a cabin they had up there but our days off never synced up early enough for us to make that a reality. This was the last week we could take advantage of the drop because dog cam,p which has to be running in order for the drop to be free, was ending that Friday.

We decided to book it even tho we just had the night and invited my other cast mates to come along on the adventure. The Helicopter ride was a short 10 minutes but boy was it incredible to land right on a mushy spot of grass consumed by mountain and lake. It was possibly even more surreal that this 10 minute helicopter ride had the same final destination as my strenuous 2 hour uphill climb earlier in the season. It felt like sheer magic to be in that amazing stunning location so quickly.

When we first arrived we drank in the scene, got our picture with our helicopter before it took off for Dog Camp and made a game plan. We didn’t have much time before it started to get dark but we decided to head in the direction of Devil’s Punch Bowl, which is about a mile and half hike/climb away from Upper Dewey! I had wanted to reach this destination the first time i came up to Upper but was too exhausted and a little deterred by the questionable trail that led to it.

I had a load of energy and determination this time around! As the majority of the group petered off to enjoy a relaxing snack or drink, Shoshana and i busted our butts up that hill to reach the Punch Bowl. The trail would end or disappear in front of us often and we thought for sure we were headed the wrong direction but then we would pick it up again a minute later after climbing over some rocks or wrestling through some brush. A couple of times our brains lost faith and were pressed by our time constraints and we thought to head back, but our hearts kept us going. At one point we were literally running on the top of this mountain edge racing toward the last big boulder we saw, hoping beyond it would be our prized view. We finally reached it! Elated with pride and exhaustion we snapped a couple of pics and hustled back to the rest of the group. I may have been influenced by the immense amount of Game of Thrones i had been reading and watching but i felt like Sho and I were warrior princesse’s adventuring on the top of that mountain! We had a mission and i had an epic theme in my head and beautiful scenery in every direction, all i needed was a fierce warrior princess costume in place of my hiking gear. HA!

We all headed back down the mountain. Things started to get a little dark and my eyesight went to poop, luckily Jimmy had a flashlight to lend me so i didn’t have to keep sliding down the hill.

The hike down was lively and exciting! Still took us probably an hour and a half. After 3 can can shows and all that adventuring i was out for the count! Yet another amazing adventure to add to the list! I can’t believe i only have 23 days left!

Zip Linning made me feel like Peter Pan!

Thursday, August 21, 2014
Another day off and another adventure!
Jimmy and i had the day off together today and we both have been dying to go zip lining! Today we fulfilled that desire ten fold. Not only did we get to go zip lining but it was literally the perfect Skagway day. One of those where the sun is shinning all over, the sky is so blue it cuts through the fluffy clouds that are dispersed like gigantic cotton balls throughout the sky.

We met our troop at the Ore dock next to the Disney Wonder (big ole Mickey ship) and took the Alaska Excursion short bus out to the Dyea flats, where the views are even more breathtaking than the ones in town. We rode those infamous uni-mog machines that i mentioned that time i went dog mushing the rest of the way to the zip lining camp. I was giggling with excitement as we raced up the mountain bouncing up and down and back and forth in the back of the monster truck.

When we arrived at the camp they suited us up in our harness gear and set us up in groups. Our instructors/guides were Brittany and Jenny! Two lovely ladies who showed us the ropes(no pun intended). Before we knew it they had us doing flips, tricks and tandem zip lining. I have an awesome video to share with those at home who are interested.

The jumping and spinning was such an adrenaline rush, i felt like i was peter pan or a lost boy zipping through the trees and hollering with glee.

Some of my other tricks aside from a somersault were zip lining upside down, hanging from my torso and grabbing my feet with my hands making a bridge of sorts, a sideways tucked spin they call the fireball, and a trust fall where you use no hands and fall backwards!

Jimmy and i had an awesome time, anytime i get to smile uncontrollably with him is time i wouldn’t trade for anything.

The ride back was just as nice but i quickly felt my body and brain checking out, we stopped at the station for some fuel. Let me specify that the station is a restaurant and the fuel was food and beer as it could be mistaken for the literal connotation of the words. Feeling revived and wanting to soak up more sun by walking i moseyed my way here to the brary to post this blog : )! First on the day blogging! Don’t expect that to happen again HA! IMG_3779

Summit Biking and BBQ!

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

After 6 days of can can dancing, a day off is a slice of heaven. While sleeping in never seems to be an option here in Skagway I spent the better part of my morning doing the second best thing, reading A Clash of Kings. For those who don’t know, this is the second book in the Game of Throne series. I’m only on page 200 of 758 so I have a ways to go but am loving the journey.

Around 2pm I got myself together and headed out to sockeye cycling to see if they had any room on their 3:00pm tour! Just my luck there were only 2 ppl signed up so I called on my friend Maggie to come adventure with me. To top the adventure off my wonderful friend Alyssa was our tour guide for the afternoon! After being bussed about 15 miles up the Klondike Highway, we loaded up on layers and were fitted to our bikes. After a performance of safety procedures by the lovely Alyssa, we were off! Our small group of four coasting single file down the summit road, the ride was hardly strenuous. I probably got more of a work out braking than I did from actually pedaling. Coasting down the summit’s dips and turns with the mountains and Alaska terrain surrounding was absolute bliss. At speeds of up to 25mph, sucking up that fresh wild Alaska air lit up my lungs and senses. Viewing highlights along the trip :

-William Moore Bridge: A bridge suspended only on one side because it is built on a fault line. You can literally see a big crack in the earth on either side of the bridge (Land that use to fit together like a puzzle piece but is now clearly separated down the whole mountain face and side)

-A beautiful glacier waterfall that we filled our water bottles from. When you ride a bike past these it feels like a massive a/c unit it’s so cold!

-The sawtooth peaks: Some of the higher peaks in this area that are jagged and pointed at the top because they haven’t suffered the pangs of glacier ice bouldering over them in over 20,000 years!!!

-black lakes: small lakes black in color because of the tannins in the surrounding foliage.

– a last stop in Skagway at the Mile Zero B&B to munch on some fresh wild raspberries before turning in our bikes.

When maggie and I got out of our biking gear we headed to the store for we had dreams of hosting a last minute salmon bake! After realizing the grocery store was practically rid of, well everything… we grabbed a sweet potato, chips and salsa and kept our fingers crossed, hoping the fish store in town would have a fresh catch. We were in luck! We got a beautiful piece of sockeye salmon and moseyed our way back to Maggie’s. Maggie works/lives at the Mile Zero B&B here in town. The residence is breathtakingly quaint and homey, with a beautiful living room and backyard porch and grill.

We prepared the salmon, sweet potato slices, corn on the cob, pasta salad and grilled mango. Maggie made her momma’s sweet tea which we added some spirits for an extra kick : ). The party crew was me, Maggie, Jimmy, Cody, Kristi, Maggie’s co worker Teresa, Maggie’s friend Nate and later on Bill joined the group. It was great eating, beautiful setting and wonderful company.

I’m so lucky to have had another incredible day off, balanced with adventure and friends. The quality of life here is something so special. I’m getting wrapped around Alaska’s finger, it’s going to be so hard to leave, might just have to find my way back someday…

Ladies of the lake!

Saturday, August, 9

Today was a day off for me and I spent the majority of my time planning for…..(drum roll please)…CAMPING! probably my favorite pastime here in Skagway! The girls and I had been planning on going for a week. We invited some other friends to join our caravan and so I had my work cut out for me in the realms of preparation. I went to the store to load up on hot dogs and condiments for the crew, pasta salad ingredients and fixings for peanut butter and banana sandwiches in the am. Mer provided the jumbo size bag of trail mix and s’more fixings. I got us two 12 packs of PBR because the only thing worse than running out of food on a camping trip is running out of booze. After a stop at the theater to pick up some borrowed camping gear and a quick trip to the hardware store for some rope, I was feeling a little tired behind the eyes. Probably meant I should’ve taken a nap but instead I decided to push through and go on a little jog!

The run was great for stimulating my brain and muscles since I wasn’t can canning that day.

When the girls got back from the show. We spent about an hour divvying up all the goods in backpacks and then headed out on our adventure. At this point out group had dwindled due to a forecast of rain for the evening. The boys (cough: jimmy and bill) were not thrilled by the 6 inches of rain we were supposed to get that night.

After all my preparation, I was not about to give up without a fight. All my girls were in,so we headed up to Lower Dewey Lake where Mer and I camped In early July.

We made it up to just a light drizzle, collected some very wet firewood, put up our tent and said a prayers to the fire gods. After several strategies and a lotta love we got a fire started and had it running the whole evening. I feel the need to mention none of us were ever girl Scouts! Boom! We’re Just awesome I guess ; )!

We had a feast for the evening of hot dogs, filled with grilled peppers and onions, a square of home made baked Mac n cheese which also adorned sed hot dogs. The pasta salad and trail mix we had as sides and s’mores for dessert. We also managed to polish off enough of that beer (all of it) to make a lovely pyramid totem before we left! (Picture to come later)

Mer taught all of us how to shot gun our first beer. I’d like to remind everyone I have absolutely no experience with this seeing as I went to a college with a bunch of theater nerds. There idea of partying was to dress in as little clothing and as much glitter as possible then take as many Jell-O shots one possibly could. : /

After a lot of good times and convo, we retired to the tent. Then the rain really started to come down. There’s nothing like sleeping in the thick of nature, the rain enhanced that buzzing feeling of being connected with the earth and checking in with your roots.

A night of tossing and turning it may have been, but I still managed to go in and out of coma like magic sleep.

Awakening early to relieve myself (that means pee in the woods, in case you were wondering) I realized that while sleeping next to the edge of my tent my sleeping bag and my tennis shoes were a bit damp, well soaked…

After the troops rounded up and our brains were a turnin’ we decided to make our breakfast, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, inside the tent seeing as it was still raining a bit. We had hoped to have started another fire and toasted them a bit but wet and anxious to hike back down to a shower, we scarfed them down and loaded up our gear.

It was such a lovely night with the gals, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It really just goes to show you that attitude and commitment can make anything positive and wonderful.