I’ve been back in Montana for two months and I already find myself drifting back to my recent summer in Alaska. After sifting through some photos, I came across a couple little rambles I wrote while in camp. Figured I’d share them with the rest of the world. Enjoy!
I’m sitting next to the fire, listening to it crackle and pop, reminding me of Rice Crispies as you pour milk into your bowl. I’m back in Alaska and pondering on the day of guiding I have ahead of me. Kemuk, our 100lb yellow lab is prodding at my hand in an effort to get a pat on the head. I delightfully oblige and take another sip of coffee.
We’re two weeks into our season here in the remote wilds of Alaska. The weather has been hot (for Alaska standards) with the fishing not far behind. With the warmer weather the water levels in the river are on a steady drop, 1 foot per every 4 days to be exact: makes boat driving fun.
I’m living in a camp full of men and I find myself surrounded by testosterone, f-bombs and beards. Being a female in a man’s world, numerous friends ask me what it’s like living in a remote camp with a bunch of dudes. To be honest, it’s not half bad. It’s more like living with four brothers, which of course it has down sides like being crop dusted and teased with “girl talk” being non-existent. But it’s a drama free world and whenever I can’t finish my dinner, I can always pawn it off on one of them. It’s a good system.
I know of a couple female guides in Alaska but have met even fewer. I’m not sure if it’s because of the unforgiving terrain, weather and bugs or if has something to do with the stereotype that “the final frontier is for the adventuresome 20 something dude”. I know that’s how it was back in the good ole days. Women going to Alaska alone was a rare thing 30 years ago. My mom was 21 when she left Idaho Falls for Bristol Bay, Alaska to cook at a lodge. My grandparents thought she went off the deep-end, and so did everyone else.
However in my opinion, Alaska is an excellent place for young women (or any age woman) to experience something that used to be a fantasy back 30+ years. With the increase of female anglers/guides, Alaska is a paradise with major opportunities for any lady wishing to experience the Alaska guide life. It’s the foundation for my love of fly fishing and has opened doors I never thought would be within my grasp. To any woman out there who is hardworking, tough and willing to live with a couple stinky men, Alaska is a bounty of opportunity. I wouldn’t be where I am today without it!