Thursday, September 4, 2008

Funding the fun

I leave tomorrow morning for my second ten-day stint in Aialik Bay. Alaska Wildland Adventures plans to open a remote lodge on the site. There is plenty to do before guests show up beginning on the first of June, 2009.

This is the second remote job I've worked. I love the challenges these projects offer. Logistics and supply chains are a big part of it, "Sweet, a boat-load of 2x8's. What can we build with 2x8's?" or "I guess the plane isn't coming. Anybody up for another pancake, no butter or  syrup?"

Broken things need to be mended on site or done without. Spare parts and mechanical know-how are what you have around you. If you can't fix it more drastic measures need to be taken. "We're gonna set the tail of the plane in the wheel barrow. It only has to roll a little ways till I get the tail up." "But what if it doesn't work?" "It'll work, it has to." And it did, what a beautiful thing to see the wheel barrow rolling into the fireweed halfway down the runway and the Citabria turning to the south toward Yakatat. I remember wondering how the hell Jim was gonna land and then shrugging my shoulders, out of my control. I had other stuff to do.

The power of the Now grows in the wilderness. Being present is easy because the distractions of modern day are far away. A paper comes with the boat and is devoured by the crew, than largely forgotten or at least put aside. Brittiany and Sara take a back seat to masturbation jokes and whether you have enough bracing in place to stop for lunch.

Meals consist of great-smelling piles of high calorie foods, all you care to eat and then some. The kitchen keeps the groups of boys from slipping all the way back to the cave.  From defending the food against cross-contamination issues to keeping the eff-bomb "out of the kitchen," the cook is key to a successful project. Working men need to eat and eat a lot. Tasty and nourishing foods keep boys happy and focused on the task regardless of the weather, the bugs, the distance to the nearest single woman.

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