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Day 15, 16, & 17 (Sick & Tired)

The title sounds a little ominous. Even though I am really tired and I have contracted the cold that’s been tearing through the staff, the last three days have still been pretty awesome.

I tried to keep up with my new-normal every other day post last night but our internet was down 🙁

I just finished my third and last day filling in as an instructor. At first I thought filling in meant filling in for the 2 hour natural history block every afternoon but I found out that instructors are actually with campers from 9:30-6 and are either taking them to activities or running activities/lessons themselves. I have been able to teach a three day (2 hours each day) lesson on native Alaskan birds, which I have been able to learn a ton about myself. We’ve learned about bird identification, different types of adaptations (beak, feet, wing, color, etc.), and have taken a field trip to the end of the spit to see nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes. I’ve also had the opportunity to do some camping skills lessons about hiking trip planning using maps, the ins and outs of topographic maps, and how tides and currents effect paddling trips. Other than leading natural history (birds) and camping skills lessons I have also been able to accompany and help some of the campers when the go to boat building – which is a section of time where they go out to the “boat tent” and help to build and cover two traditional skin boats (kayaks).


On Day 1 we went on a hike around the Ageya campus looking for birds that we had just started learning about. We all took binoculars and bird identification books and I wasn’t sure if we’d even see any… but we managed to see three! A golden crowned sparrow, an american robin, and two sandhill cranes (though we see these pretty regularly!)


This is the first bird we saw on our mini hike – a golden crowned sparrow.

The campers on day 1 getting an intro to the tools used to make the traditional skin boats.

The campers on day 1 getting an intro to the tools used to make the traditional skin boats.


Campers Day 2, working on tying parts of the boat tight with wax coated string. These are supposed to be the lightest boats in the world – no metal is used and this wooden frame is covered tightly by a nylon (traditional skin) fabric which is then sewed and coated.

Sunset from my yurt on Day 2. You can see one of the volcanic mountains venting in the background.

Sunset from my yurt on Day 2. You can see one of the volcanic mountains venting in the background.

Getting a chance to teach and learn a little bit myself has been really rewarding and I loved that I was able to do it, but I am getting pretty warn down. The instructor I was filling in for will be back in the morning and I’m glad I’ll have a few days to recover before we leave to go across the Bay.

Speaking of which…I found out that I will be leaving the afternoon (around 4) of the 21st (Monday) with some of the other staff members so we can get over there and set up some of the bigger gear. The campers will then get there the following day and we’ll do our first paddle/hike that afternoon. We will then be doing a series of 8 hike/paddles over the course of the next 7 days, getting back to Ageya in the afternoon on July .28th (the following Monday). I’m pretty pumped for it, but I also have no idea what to expect.

The director’s wife also outfitted me for the trip the other day (all of the campers and other staff members had already been outfitted), which I was not expecting but I’m glad she did! I now have a tent, sleeping bag, life vest, tall water boots, long underwear, a mesh bag, dry-safe bags, a thermos, and a camping bowl to borrow while we’re on the trip. So, I know I’ll be okay on gear but as far as what it’s going to like over there – I have no idea. I’m planning on just going with the flow. I really hope we see some wildlife out there though! I’ve heard stores of seals, otters, whales, bears, and all kinds of other animals – so even if we just see one of those it’d be one more than I’ve seen before!

I won’t have power or internet though so I’ll be a little M.I.A. on the phone and one my blog BUT I’ll have about two days back here once we get back before I catch a ride back to Anchorage so I’ll make sure to fill everyone in once I’m back! I’m hoping I can figure out a way to keep my camera going long enough to take some awesome pictures.

As far as being sick goes, my cold isn’t terrible but I do hope it goes away soon! I’ve been trying to sleep a little bit more, rest when I can, and I’v been drinking this medicinal tea made up of yarrow, wormwood, cayenne, and garlic. It’s pretty gross but people have been saying it’s working for them – I honestly can’t really tell if it’s working for me (but I’m not getting worse at least).

As of tomorrow (Sunday) I’ll have exactly two weeks until I fly back home. I’m starting to get a little sad about leaving, but I’m also pretty excited/almost ready to be heading home. I’m sure the time will fly by!


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