Alex and I spent the summer of 2017 in Haines, Alaska. Alex and I decided to try out moving to a new location and doing something rather drastic instead of the same old day-to-day that we both had experienced time and time again. Going north seemed like an excellent option so I put my finger on the map and landed in SE Alaska.
We were accepted as employees at Alaska Mountain Guides and Chilkat Guides so we packed the van up for a 6-month stint into the Great White North. With snow covering all of the non-major highways in March we basically drove straight to Haines.
I began training to be a raft guide and wilderness first responder while Alex got settled into her mostly-administrative position in the office. It was a real challenge for us to be living in the van while being parked behind the office/warehouse where we worked! Alex could see the van from her desk and meanwhile I was making no money but training away from “the yard” all day with a group of other guides. We rather quickly figured out that van life for this summer was going to be a great challenge or it needed to change.
Fortunately for us a friend of ours connected us with the owner of an unoccupied dry cabin just 9 miles outside of town! Apprehensive to leave the guides we ultimately decided to move out of the yard into the cabin nestled above the Chilkat River and across the valley from Mt. Emmerich. We both agree that it was the best choice we ever made.
Summer was a real blur to be honest. The guides were the best people, so fun and full of life! We felt lucky to have lived in the Yard for the first two months and to be so close to the crew before moving further outside of town. When I would be gone on long trips, often with mountaineering trips, Alex had a group of folks just outside the door to hang with and when we were both together the party at home was always real! Our cabin provided sanctuary and pristine environment. Classic Alaska!
By the end of the summer season we felt it was unlikely that we’d return for another season. I was experiencing fairly rugged back-pain from rafting and the only cure for that was to not lift and row boats. Alex found certain challenges in her work that were hard to over look. Ultimately we packed up the van and hopped the ferry away from Haines.
We loved it so much. Thinking of our small Alaskan home could bring tears to my eyes. It was truly heaven. Since our departure we have considered returning many times. Travel calls us, though. We will land back in Alaska sometime, just not for now.