(nō’mād’) : A person with no fixed residence who roams about; a wanderer.
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  • Arrigetch Peaks 08/01/09 - 08/14/09

    Around 4 years ago John Borland and I decided to go on a big climb into the northern
    areas of Alaska above the Arctic Circle. We decided on a beautiful spire called Shot Tower as
    our main objective. This tower included 16 pitches of climbing with one of those pitches being
    A2. A2 means that it is ascended by aid climbing, that is using gear entirely to ascend that
    portion. We began the first stage and started to learn how to aid climb. As most people know
    things don’t always go as planned and we ended up being quoted $2000 each for our trip.
    “$2000?!” we said, “thats more then a trip to Thailand!”. The next thing we knew we were off to
    Thailand and thus began 4 years of traveling and utter nomadism. Still throughout those years
    something was missing, something had yet to be accomplished and that was the tower jutting
    mightily from the earth, hundreds of miles from civilization.
    It is July 2009 and I am perusing Alaska Mountain Forum as I stumble across a post asking
    for partners into the Arrigetch Valley. Their goal; Shot Tower. I feel a light tingle float up
    my spine as again the possibilities radiate through me. I quickly shoot the idea down. Money,
    Planning, time, I just don’t have any of those available; but still I reply. Soon I am sending
    emails back and forth with Marcin Ksok and he tells me that the plane ride will cost $650. That
    once again sends me spiraling through the opportunity and I agree to join. With just a few days
    of gathered planning we are all sitting in a car still chatting with the basic questions as we
    get to know each other. Brian Fredricks, Rob Litsenberger, Marcin Ksok, and I drove to Fairbanks and enter the equivalent of crawling into a fireplace. Choking down the air makes me feel like a smoker, and headaches are passed all around. Meeting up with Mike Miller he led us through the backwoods to a Yurt where we spent our first night of the trip.
    Awaking to more smoke from the fires burning all over the interior we continued our drive onto Coldfoot, another 7 hours or so along the famous Haul Road of Alaska. After taking a painless class in Backcountry Orientation and a rather painful class in Arctic Art at the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center we hit up what would be our last real civilized meal for several weeks, an $18.95 buffet that I have yet to regret. That night we stayed at a campsite outside of Coldfoot for the first night in a tent, looking at the tent I would be living in with Brian gave me the feeling that we would be quite cozy by the end of this trip. Our two sleeping pads cuddled each other effectively and got to know one another. The first night we woke to a frost, apparently it was going to be colder then we had realized!
    We headed back to the Visitor Center, as much for the bathrooms as to get information for the approach and decided we would try to get access to South Arrigetch Creek from Takahula Lake. At the airport we weighed all our gear, and ourselves, and groaned about pretty much anything that was going to add an ounce. Soon our packs were down to a healthy 70+ pounds. Only Marcin managed to get his down below 70 lbs. and that was before adding a gallon of fuel. I put mine on the scale it seemed to yell the weight into my eardrums, 81 lbs. Ouch. After some tweaking I got it down to 74 lbs. And was probably much to proud of myself. I personally weighed 240 pounds. We put all our money together in cash with the exception of Marcin, allowing us to ask the question “If the check doesn’t clear do we get picked up?” oddly there are smiles and laughs, but no answer.
    Coyote Air was who flew through, most people seem to fly from Bettles to access the Arrigetch but Coldfoot was our choice because it can be accessed by road, thus bringing down the costs of travel. Dirk was a great pilot telling us stories of his first climb, which happened to be on Mt. Hunter and with Alex Lowe and Conrad Anker, and lots of other interesting facts. He spotted at gravel bar on the Alatna River that he said would be good for a landing and skimmed the water surface as he came down gently on an uneven rocky surface. I hope that sounded like I was calm, in reality I probably ground a few teeth down to nubs.
    Standing on the bank of the Alatna River in the Brooks Range with several people I had only just me in the last month I waved goodbye to Dirk. Steven King probably would have called us a Ka-tet, 4 people bound to a single purpose and it was our goal to achieve a tower. It also happens that the only book I brought along was the Wizard and Glass by Stephen King although I’ll try not to make to many parallels.
    We threw on our packs and headed off into unbroken trail up the creek which leads to the valley. A mist was followed by a light drizzle which didn’t matter to much because we had only made it a few miles before our feet were wet. At times we would be walking the creek bed, happy that the going was so easy and only feeling the pain of our packs. Then we would soon be brought back to the reality of the situation by a bushwhack over alders and through trees which would last hours. The breaks were numerous and each time we would learn we had only gone a few miles, usually less. Every few seconds one, or all, of us would yell “Hey Bear”, “Yo Bear”, “How you doing bear?”, or some sort of combination. Whenever Marcin would yell “Oh Hey Bear” it sounded to me as though he was actually talking to one and I would gaze around nervously expecting a reply “Hows it going? Which one of your is the heaviest? Its getting late and I’d like to stock up.” Every once in a while we would wander on something that seemed human. We came to a pair of socks and somewhere along the conversation we came up to the fact that they must be Jon Krakaur’s socks, this was based on about as much evidence as bigfoot, yetis, or universal health care. Eventually this would come to take a theme on the trip.
    Our first campsite was at the pass one would use to get into the other creek, if someone was so inclined to do so. We could smell sulfur nearby and knew about a hot springs in the vicinity although we had also heard not to get our hopes up. After a good meal Marcin headed off to find the spring while the rest of us collapsed into a deep stupor. The spring, Marcin would later tell us, was like holding down the button on a water fountain and was either too hot or too cold.
    The next morning it continued to drizzle, thanks to our already wet shoes it didn’t seem to bad. We also all knew that it would be only 4 miles to the upper campsite. That was only half of the distance we had covered the day before and that was something to celebrate about. We left camp in good spirits, which were soon shattered in sounds of alders as they splintered under our feet. The immediate mile took 3 hours. Some of the walking your feet never touched the ground they simply limped along amongst the alders which decided to grow horizontally instead of vertically. I would duck my head and just dive in, sometimes they caught the pack tipping my already teetering body in all directions. Then we finally emerged onto the other side of the stream to a much easier hike of boulders under tundra. The next few miles went at about a mile per hour but felt like we were sprinting after the previous epic.
    The campsite was a beautiful knoll of soft grass with the occasional boulder that was hard to find until you were laying on it. Rob found a friend in his piece of granite and named him Gary, one could often hear them cuddling in the night with Rob doing most the talking. We setup the site which would be our home for the next few weeks and rolled into our sleeping bags.
    The next morning the weather was decent but the smoke obscured most of our views. Sometimes we would get a glimpse on the shadow of Mt. Wichmann at the head of the valley, others it was merely a blank spot in our vision. We took this day as a sort of rest before doing Shot Tower. It was my goal not to move any muscles and just let them recover a bit before going into the big climb. Within a few hours however I was following Marcin up the valley that would be our approach. We did a two hour hike to get a good view of the approach and stared at the massive hunk of rock we had all come to climb. We stumbled our way back down the talus which was mostly large loose boulders over small loose blocks. After a good dinner we sorted gear and decided on teams of Rob and I, and Brian and Marcin for the climb. We would leave first at 4am with Brian and Marcin following next at 5am giving us some time to get a few pitches before they got behind us.
    My little alarm clock beeped away at 4am, I awoke and grabbed it in my hand hitting snooze quickly and with the effectiveness of a professional. Soon I was falling back into a deep serenity of quiet and darkness. Before the impact however I opened my eyes, it was my job to get Rob up and if we were going to do this climb then it wasn’t going to not happen because of me. I rasped on Robs tent and we made our way to the cooking area. A nice stream bed that ran only when the water was high and was itself only a few seconds walk from the main stream. Breakfast was made and enjoyed before we left at 4:30am to begin. The smoke had not left the valley and the hike up was a long trudge through boulders and gigantic loose blocks. As they rolled they seemed to spew obscenities for being moved on such short notice. It appeared they were angry whenever they came rolling onto a foot or attempted to take a finger. After a few hours we were at the base of the climb, with that behind us we once again became excited about what appeared before us. We racked up and headed into the climb and were barely a few pitches up before Brian and Marcin were racking their own gear below the climb, we were the slower hikers. The first few pitches of climbing were easy and of average quality. Every now and then we would pull out the sheet of paper which described, loosely, the pitches ahead and wonder at what the description really meant. What does “slow” really mean as the entire description for a pitch?
    After a few hours and a good clump of pitches we were past the traverse of the mushroom. The mushroom is a large overhanging block that is normally done by skipping it entirely. After a few excellent pitches of climbing we finally came to the crux of the route. A 60ft overhanging thin crack that is done by aid climbing. After some discussion I started the first portion of the route and got half way up before I came down and switched off with Brian. It was nice to break this pitch up into two and not half to lead the entire portion. During the climb my hand and arm began to cramp up which led me to think I hadn’t had enough water for the day, this was surprising because I had probably drank 2 liters of water since beginning the climb and that really didn’t seem so long ago. Brian had never aid climbed before and after showing him how to use the etriers and easy daisy he jump right into his first aiding experience. After a while he was very quiet and seemed to be moving along well so I asked an arbitrary question “How’s it going up there?” and retrieved a rather quick reply of “I’m about to F#&^ing S**@ myself.” This garnered some good laughter from those of us on the ground and Brian continued his quiet exaction of the route at hand. Soon he had finished and we were all above the headwall with Rob and I heading toward the summit with just a few pitches of climbing left. Rob was the first to the summit and I followed shortly thereafter. The views, although smoky, were incredible. The smoke gave it an otherworldly view and the peaks unfolded around us. Brian took a summit video and the sound of camera shutters was very evident. Soon we were headed back down. Marcin looked at his watch and we were all surprised to hear that it was 9:30pm. We had been on the wall now for 17 hours with no rest.
    Some of the rappels were nice and quick, we backed almost every one of them up with new webbing we had brought for the occasion. At one of the rappels, back to the mushroom, it was just a large stone. To sling the block I moved it out of its current resting place, wrapped a sling around it and put it back in. The block itself couldn’t have weighed more then 60 lbs, had it given away the fall would have been around 1300 ft and rather unpleasant. The night wore on and at times patience wore on with it. At one spot we were all crammed into a small corner with ropes piled at our feet. Normally a spacious place for two this hole became a pile of people and gear in a matter of minutes. Grumpy voices followed quickly and slightly anxious movements before finally we were off and continuing down the face. I decided to backup a hex placement with cord while Rob watched me anxiously, finally asking “Are you going to pull the rope?!” Questions here on the face had a funny way of sounding like instant requests at this time of night. Still we continued down, there were a few moments when the night seemed almost dark. I had left my headlamp at the base of the climb, a reoccurring theme for me, and used Robs to finish up the last few pitches to the ground. By the time we reached the base of the climb it was beginning to get light once again and a look at the clock alerted us to the the time. 4:00am. Rob eagerly accepted a water bottle from Marcin drank half and handed it off to me. Before I could get a few sips from the precious liquid I heard a noise that sounded like someone stepped on a running hose. I looked to Rob and asked “Did you just throw up?” I was answered immediately by another step onto the hose which I got to witness. He gave me a look of annoyance and soon held out his hand again for a second attack. I took a few slow sips of the water, undoubtedly slowed by previous occurrences and gave him back the Nalgene.
    So far it had been a 24 hour climb with no rest and we still had the hike back down to go. This was a slow laborious process where every now and then you would watch someone fall down and wait to see if they were going to get back up. If they didn’t you assumed they were just resting anyway, maybe they’ll be at the tent later. After a few hours at the base of the last steep field of seemingly never ending rock Marcin sat waiting for everyone, as we came upon him he said rather non nonchalantly “I fell asleep and just woke up.”
    The last person arrived at camp at 7:30am. 27 hours after we had started the morning before. Brian and I talked about making something to eat before sleeping, I got as far as the creek and made some water then remember opening my eyes in the tent thinking “Well this is an odd place to have something to eat”, then I was off to sleep again.
    My eyes came open at about 1:30pm that same day and my stomach commanded me to rise. Breakfast was a wonderful feeling to behold as was the rest of that day while we talked about the blur in our memories that was Shot Tower and made sure we didn’t move further then 100 yards from camp.
    The day passed quickly and we were all soon back into our sleeping bags. The following day we talked about what we should do as the next objective and settled on Pyramid Peak. Pyramid Peak rose from the back of the valley out of a glacier lined in all sides by rock. Sounded excellent, unfortunately we wouldn’t be climbing that peak on this trip. For the rest of the day we decided it was time for a little self cleaning. Which for some of us meant launching ourselves off a 25 foot cliff into a wonderful blue pool of glacial goodness. Hitting the water was an instant shock but it was great to get out and feel the warm sun on our skin. The day from there was a breeze of relaxation.
    Eating in the morning was slow, we took our time getting out toward the peak because we had decided to bivy at the base after the rumored 6 hour approach. We took gear and our sleeping bags with us toward the peak. I was at least 30 minutes from camp before I realized I had left my climbing shoes in the tent and decided that I would just do the climb in hiking boots. After a few hours of hiking we came to a glacier with rocks balanced precariously over the edge. Brian ran ahead and said that he felt it was not to bad and Marcin climbed a ridge behind saying it wasn’t going to be easy. We really didn’t come to do anything easy however so after some discussion Brian and Rob decided to try a small bit of slab to access the glacier and from there see if they can find a way up. None of us had come expecting glacier travel so we had left all crampons and glacier equipment at home, not that I would have wanted to add onto our already overloaded packs. After Brian had crawled his way over a few large blocks with Rob trailing closely behind those same rocks he used to ascend released their loose hold on the ground. Rob hopped nimbly downward in an interpretation of “Cirque de crush you with granite” and narrowly avoided another catastrophe. “F@#$ this I’m done.” Was all it took for us all to shake our heads in agreement. Nobody wanted to be the one who turned the whole group back. We sat staring at the glacier in different modes of agreement before we watched a rock as big as myself come crashing off the glacier ripping down one of the paths we thought would be a good route for ascent. It had barely found its rest before we were headed back. We stopped and did a short hike to the top of a small peak on the way back just to get some good views over the valley and all agreed that we were happy to have attempted the peak.
    When we returned to camp I was very tired, I had awoken at 6am and couldn’t get back to sleep thanks to the vivid dreams that seemed to pervade every inch of my sleep. So I dragged my sleeping bag by the fire and slept laid over an alder.
    In the dream I was laying under granite pillars, the sound of rushing water melting into every sense of my being. The sun had crept off behind clouds which played with rain. Soon little drops of water were changing the color of my sleeping bag from blue to dark blue and each little drop sounded like it fell alone into an empty bucket. My eyes opened and I hadn’t dreamt at all. Everyone was running about and the rain began to increase in intensity. I wondered why nobody had bothered to tell me and I ran to the tent to crawl back into my now damp bag. Shortly after the real dreams took me over.
    It rained all night and was glad to see that the tent had held it all out. This seems like something you would expect since it is, after all, covered with a rainfly but there has been to many times of leaky tents for me to trust it simply on name. That morning I leaned over and unzipped the tent doors, by this time fully expecting the normal smoke and obstructed views. What I did see was a totally different valley. Suddenly peaks were protruding from everywhere. The blue of the sky gave me the impression I had fallen into the ocean where giants roamed about in granite wonder. I excitedly grabbed my camera and started to take pictures. Brian leaned his head and was able to mutter a “Oh Cool” before reentering his sleep state. Normally I felt as though I had to crawl from the tent but today I was out in a flash. Feeling the energy of the sun lift me beyond the peaks as my camera shutter worked itself into a frenzy. The sun dipped behind a peak and suddenly a shadow appeared, this simple thing seemed so foreign. There hadn’t been any shadows when the clouds and smoke were blocking the sun.
    I giggled excitingly as I spoke “Lets go climb something!”
    “Whats the weather like?” was the response I garnered from the yellow tent.
    “Its amazing bluebird skies, sunshine, beautiful, amazing!” I could harldy contain my elation and thought for sure everyone would come bustling out of the tent any moment.
    “Yea right.”
    “Seriously!”
    “If it is so sunny why is it so cold?”
    “Were in the shadow of a giant mountain!”

    Soon Marcin came out of the tent and looked around before saying a surprised “Its Beautiful!”. I nodded my head in agreement. We decided it was to beautiful not to go climbing and we settled on heading up the opposite ridge as we had before. It looked like a straight hike up scree, talus, tundra, and boulders but I don’t think any of us expected what we got. The boulder hopping field seemed to go on forever. At times we would hike for 20 minutes before looking up and thinking “did it just get further away?”. It took hours to get to the top of the ridge and when we arrived Brian instantly spied a line that looked fun on a formation near to the Maidens. The Maidens are two peaks which sit side by side with rounded tops. It is hard to know how many peaks got their names but some seem pretty obvious. The formation we approached was rounded at the base and much smaller then the maidens. Sitting on top of the round was a rather excited looking protrusion. It would come to be known as the Maidens Nipple, after much discussion.
    Brian led the first few pitches of climbing up to a great ledge, both pitches of climbing were great and it was nice to be on unknown ground. I decided to lead the next pitch so we switched over gear. Rob took a trip to the ridge to get a good view of the valley below so we decided to climb this odd formation in a 3 person party, because of rockfall one person would usually wait at a belay for a while so that the other two could climb and hook up a follow rope. I put a piece of gear in near the belay and climbed on the easy ground for a few feet, my mind hadn’t yet warmed up to climbing today apparently as my legs began to shake. My grip seemed weak and all I could think of was the rocks that were going to come following me down as I fell to my belayers ledge. In reality this couldn’t have been more then 8 feet away. Not really something to worry about but it can be hard to explain the way a brain works when climbing, today I felt nervous. I continued the climb over gripping most holds and nervously shuffling my feet until I came to an overhanging hand crack. Brian suggested that I move left along a large ledge and gain the ridge and after inspecting the possibilities I found that that it was easy enough to do so. This is, however, something that spoke into the back of my mind and asked “Are you going to really miss out on hand jams? You have the gear, give it a shot.” A minute later I had my hands cupped to increase my grip in the crack. I had put a piece of gear below at the start of the crack and now it was time to put in another. I reached down to my right to find the correct size and realized that I put them all on my left side. Unfortunately my left hand was doing all the work at the moment and every time I had reached for the gear with my right across my body I nearly fell from the wall. After a few moments thinking I climbed to what I hoped would be the end of the crack and large hold. I was rewarded as hoped and bellowed a “Jesus, that was hard!” before continuing to a good belay point. Brian agreed to the difficulty after he had followed and Marcin only looked at me with the response of “You are crazy” after he followed successfully.
    The rest of the climb was a mix of traversing and down climbing which lead us to the final summit sitting over the Arrigetch Valley and allowing us all a view of the 30 pitch route that is on Central Maiden Peak. We also were allowed something that seems not normally found in the Arrigetch, that is we were able to walk off from the summit and not use any slings or webbing for rappel. Thus began the slow and laborious trek back to camp. Everyone would eventually speak of aching knees and joints. It was hard not to when it felt like we were jumping inch by inch down the mountain, each time landing on unstable ground. At one point I ran down the edge of a rock and put all my weight into a boulder larger then my own bulk but that didn’t keep it from tipping downward. Suddenly I was a little kid on the playground who pushed a bully, now he was rushing at me snickering “nanana na na boom thump”. I faced downhill and sprinted along on a few boulders before finding my way to safety and continuing the slog back to camp.
    That night we sat around the camp and talked about names for the route and the formation. Eventually we called the route the South Ridge of the Maidens Nipple. Not having names for routes but instead just letters from the compass.
    The next morning, after our 8th night in the Arrigetch we all moved slowly out of the tents and to the cooking area. It was another beautiful day with sunshine and blue skies although we all noticed that since the clouds had left, so did the heat. It was starting to get chilly and those of us with large coats were wearing them, in fact we were wearing them with a large smile hugging ourselves and humming “mmmmmmmm thats so warm mmmmmmm” so that the onlookers thought about how a simple knife slice would deflate our satisfaction. We were still a bit sore from the day before but it’s just to hard to skip a beautiful day so Marcin, Rob and I grabbed some gear and headed back up toward Shot Tower to climb a chimney I had seen on a separate formation. We hiked the hour back up to the valley and I launched into one of the most enjoyable climbs I have had in quite a while. It was short and not very difficult but something about the situation and the place makes every climb in the area amazing. I climbed up to the chimney, slung a chockstone and lifted my feet high to the only foothold around. Then I lunged up and wedged my whole body into the crack. At first I couldn’t quite fit and found I had prematurely launched headfirst, jamming myself in a very awkward stance. It took some finagling but soon I was able to continue from inside the crack itself. Large boulders lined the edge precariously perched upon one another waiting for the gentle touch to begin a not so gentle fall. After climbing the crack Marcin followed and I tried another harder crack to the left. After donating a good amount of blood to the granite gods I decided it wasn’t going to go and I moved around it to climb a higher section. Rob scrambled around the formation with the enthusiasm of a child eating a popsicle. Marcin smiled looking graciously at Shot Tower and our other surroundings, if life could be better I almost didn’t want to know about it.
    The night fell and we fell with it, I had moved on from my book and now it was Brian who was engrossed within its pages. I felt euphoric and almost positive that I was awake, all made sense. I looked up at Brian and told him something along the lines of;
    “Its better on the ridges.”
    “What?” Brian looked confused.
    “The ridges where we are.” Obviously Brian had forgotten that we were perched high on a ridge with other mountain people of lore who were depending on us to stay alert.
    “What the hell are you talking about?”
    “Whats going on over there?” It was Robs time to chime in, obviously he knows how important it is that we stay on the ridge!
    After some more rambling where I am pretty sure Brian just gets tired of me and continues to read his book I still feel that what I am saying is correct even though I am now slowly coming to the realization that we are still on the same grassy knoll at the base of the valley. I drift back off to sleep with Brian’s laughter at my obvious sleep talking the last thing I hear.
    Marcin took the job of Head Fire Chief seriously as he tended to the pile of alders and smoke nearly all day. Brian agreed to some bouldering and we had a good time finding routes on the lichen covered boulder at the head of the valley. Soon we were back to the fire watching the process. Put on sticks, blow, wait for flame, blow again, sit back and pretend it’s warm. Near the end of the day Marcin decided to go picking for blueberries, which were a little tart but still tasty in oatmeal. It was a bit of a surprise when Marcin returned with a climbing rope that looked about 30 years old, and that it had come from Home Depot. He led us all back to what appeared to be an old cache of gear, we are not sure how old it was or how long it had been there but after some searching we guess sometime in the 70’s. There were ropes, draws, glacier glasses, hob nail boots, pitons, and food strewn through the rocks and tundra; damn Krakauer. The holes in the cans gave the impression that there was food, before an animal got to it. We spent the remainder of our night pretending to be archaeologists, guessing the dates on equipment and looking for date clues on every piece of garbage. Thus ended our last night in the Arrigetch Peaks.
    We had decided to hike to the first came, four miles down valley, and continue from there if we felt like it to a good place to camp for the night. So at noon we looked back at the place that became home and whispered our goodbyes. The hike was going well and soon we were back at the first campsite, everyone was doing well and had plenty of energy so we continued on. Miles passed below our feet as we continued on, usually in silence. The river had gone down significantly since we had arrived in the valley and that made going much easier along the creekbed. All the areas that had caused us issue on the way in were now much easier on the way out. After 7 hours of hiking we had come to within the last mile of camp. My shoes were dry, as were Marcins and one of Robs but that didn’t last. This last section of river necessitated a crossing and so we dove in thinking “hey its been pretty easy going comparativly, lets just get this over with.”
    We appeared at the river an hour later panting and covered in mosquitos, although I am not sure they could eat me through the sweat and tree’s that stuck to my body. I looked at Brian and muttered “That was hell.” It was possibly the worst mile I can ever remember. Crossing swamps that went from dry to soaking, diving headlong into alders, walking tussocks, watching a Barbara Streisand special, nothing was enjoyable. In my small daily notes I put it as “Sucked Royally” and I can’t think of how to better describe it now. At least we had finally reached our destination and wouldn’t have to hike again before we headed out. The plane wouldn’t be in for another day and a half so we spent the entire next day sleeping, reading, and generally enjoying the sunshine. Dirk picked us up on the morning of the 14th where we would head back to Coldfoot and I would find I had lost 17 pounds. As we headed out we had our final glimpse of the valley which will stand stall and clear within all our dreams.

    Arrigetch Peaks

    View photos at SmugMug

  • Around 4 years ago John Borland and I decided to go on a big climb into the northern
    areas of Alaska above the Arctic Circle. We decided on a beautiful spire called Shot Tower as
    our main objective. This tower included 16 pitches of climbing with one of those pitches being
    A2. A2 means that it is ascended by aid climbing, that is using gear entirely to ascend that
    portion. We began the first stage and started to learn how to aid climb. As most people know
    things don’t always go as planned and we ended up being quoted $2000 each for our trip.
    “$2000?!” we said, “thats more then a trip to Thailand!”. The next thing we knew we were off to
    Thailand and thus began 4 years of traveling and utter nomadism. Still throughout those years
    something was missing, something had yet to be accomplished and that was the tower jutting
    mightily from the earth, hundreds of miles from civilization.
    It is July 2009 and I am perusing Alaska Mountain Forum as I stumble across a post asking
    for partners into the Arrigetch Valley. Their goal; Shot Tower. I feel a light tingle float up
    my spine as again the possibilities radiate through me. I quickly shoot the idea down. Money,
    Planning, time, I just don’t have any of those available; but still I reply. Soon I am sending
    emails back and forth with Marcin Ksok and he tells me that the plane ride will cost $650. That
    once again sends me spiraling through the opportunity and I agree to join. With just a few days
    of gathered planning we are all sitting in a car still chatting with the basic questions as we
    get to know each other. Brian Fredricks, Rob Litsenberger, Marcin Ksok, and I drove to Fairbanks and enter the equivalent of crawling into a fireplace. Choking down the air makes me feel like a smoker, and headaches are passed all around. Meeting up with Mike Miller he led us through the backwoods to a Yurt where we spent our first night of the trip.
    Awaking to more smoke from the fires burning all over the interior we continued our drive onto Coldfoot, another 7 hours or so along the famous Haul Road of Alaska. After taking a painless class in Backcountry Orientation and a rather painful class in Arctic Art at the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center we hit up what would be our last real civilized meal for several weeks, an $18.95 buffet that I have yet to regret. That night we stayed at a campsite outside of Coldfoot for the first night in a tent, looking at the tent I would be living in with Brian gave me the feeling that we would be quite cozy by the end of this trip. Our two sleeping pads cuddled each other effectively and got to know one another. The first night we woke to a frost, apparently it was going to be colder then we had realized!
    We headed back to the Visitor Center, as much for the bathrooms as to get information for the approach and decided we would try to get access to South Arrigetch Creek from Takahula Lake. At the airport we weighed all our gear, and ourselves, and groaned about pretty much anything that was going to add an ounce. Soon our packs were down to a healthy 70+ pounds. Only Marcin managed to get his down below 70 lbs. and that was before adding a gallon of fuel. I put mine on the scale it seemed to yell the weight into my eardrums, 81 lbs. Ouch. After some tweaking I got it down to 74 lbs. And was probably much to proud of myself. I personally weighed 240 pounds. We put all our money together in cash with the exception of Marcin, allowing us to ask the question “If the check doesn’t clear do we get picked up?” oddly there are smiles and laughs, but no answer.
    Coyote Air was who flew through, most people seem to fly from Bettles to access the Arrigetch but Coldfoot was our choice because it can be accessed by road, thus bringing down the costs of travel. Dirk was a great pilot telling us stories of his first climb, which happened to be on Mt. Hunter and with Alex Lowe and Conrad Anker, and lots of other interesting facts. He spotted at gravel bar on the Alatna River that he said would be good for a landing and skimmed the water surface as he came down gently on an uneven rocky surface. I hope that sounded like I was calm, in reality I probably ground a few teeth down to nubs.
    Standing on the bank of the Alatna River in the Brooks Range with several people I had only just me in the last month I waved goodbye to Dirk. Steven King probably would have called us a Ka-tet, 4 people bound to a single purpose and it was our goal to achieve a tower. It also happens that the only book I brought along was the Wizard and Glass by Stephen King although I’ll try not to make to many parallels.
    We threw on our packs and headed off into unbroken trail up the creek which leads to the valley. A mist was followed by a light drizzle which didn’t matter to much because we had only made it a few miles before our feet were wet. At times we would be walking the creek bed, happy that the going was so easy and only feeling the pain of our packs. Then we would soon be brought back to the reality of the situation by a bushwhack over alders and through trees which would last hours. The breaks were numerous and each time we would learn we had only gone a few miles, usually less. Every few seconds one, or all, of us would yell “Hey Bear”, “Yo Bear”, “How you doing bear?”, or some sort of combination. Whenever Marcin would yell “Oh Hey Bear” it sounded to me as though he was actually talking to one and I would gaze around nervously expecting a reply “Hows it going? Which one of your is the heaviest? Its getting late and I’d like to stock up.” Every once in a while we would wander on something that seemed human. We came to a pair of socks and somewhere along the conversation we came up to the fact that they must be Jon Krakaur’s socks, this was based on about as much evidence as bigfoot, yetis, or universal health care. Eventually this would come to take a theme on the trip.
    Our first campsite was at the pass one would use to get into the other creek, if someone was so inclined to do so. We could smell sulfur nearby and knew about a hot springs in the vicinity although we had also heard not to get our hopes up. After a good meal Marcin headed off to find the spring while the rest of us collapsed into a deep stupor. The spring, Marcin would later tell us, was like holding down the button on a water fountain and was either too hot or too cold.
    The next morning it continued to drizzle, thanks to our already wet shoes it didn’t seem to bad. We also all knew that it would be only 4 miles to the upper campsite. That was only half of the distance we had covered the day before and that was something to celebrate about. We left camp in good spirits, which were soon shattered in sounds of alders as they splintered under our feet. The immediate mile took 3 hours. Some of the walking your feet never touched the ground they simply limped along amongst the alders which decided to grow horizontally instead of vertically. I would duck my head and just dive in, sometimes they caught the pack tipping my already teetering body in all directions. Then we finally emerged onto the other side of the stream to a much easier hike of boulders under tundra. The next few miles went at about a mile per hour but felt like we were sprinting after the previous epic.
    The campsite was a beautiful knoll of soft grass with the occasional boulder that was hard to find until you were laying on it. Rob found a friend in his piece of granite and named him Gary, one could often hear them cuddling in the night with Rob doing most the talking. We setup the site which would be our home for the next few weeks and rolled into our sleeping bags.
    The next morning the weather was decent but the smoke obscured most of our views. Sometimes we would get a glimpse on the shadow of Mt. Wichmann at the head of the valley, others it was merely a blank spot in our vision. We took this day as a sort of rest before doing Shot Tower. It was my goal not to move any muscles and just let them recover a bit before going into the big climb. Within a few hours however I was following Marcin up the valley that would be our approach. We did a two hour hike to get a good view of the approach and stared at the massive hunk of rock we had all come to climb. We stumbled our way back down the talus which was mostly large loose boulders over small loose blocks. After a good dinner we sorted gear and decided on teams of Rob and I, and Brian and Marcin for the climb. We would leave first at 4am with Brian and Marcin following next at 5am giving us some time to get a few pitches before they got behind us.
    My little alarm clock beeped away at 4am, I awoke and grabbed it in my hand hitting snooze quickly and with the effectiveness of a professional. Soon I was falling back into a deep serenity of quiet and darkness. Before the impact however I opened my eyes, it was my job to get Rob up and if we were going to do this climb then it wasn’t going to not happen because of me. I rasped on Robs tent and we made our way to the cooking area. A nice stream bed that ran only when the water was high and was itself only a few seconds walk from the main stream. Breakfast was made and enjoyed before we left at 4:30am to begin. The smoke had not left the valley and the hike up was a long trudge through boulders and gigantic loose blocks. As they rolled they seemed to spew obscenities for being moved on such short notice. It appeared they were angry whenever they came rolling onto a foot or attempted to take a finger. After a few hours we were at the base of the climb, with that behind us we once again became excited about what appeared before us. We racked up and headed into the climb and were barely a few pitches up before Brian and Marcin were racking their own gear below the climb, we were the slower hikers. The first few pitches of climbing were easy and of average quality. Every now and then we would pull out the sheet of paper which described, loosely, the pitches ahead and wonder at what the description really meant. What does “slow” really mean as the entire description for a pitch?
    After a few hours and a good clump of pitches we were past the traverse of the mushroom. The mushroom is a large overhanging block that is normally done by skipping it entirely. After a few excellent pitches of climbing we finally came to the crux of the route. A 60ft overhanging thin crack that is done by aid climbing. After some discussion I started the first portion of the route and got half way up before I came down and switched off with Brian. It was nice to break this pitch up into two and not half to lead the entire portion. During the climb my hand and arm began to cramp up which led me to think I hadn’t had enough water for the day, this was surprising because I had probably drank 2 liters of water since beginning the climb and that really didn’t seem so long ago. Brian had never aid climbed before and after showing him how to use the etriers and easy daisy he jump right into his first aiding experience. After a while he was very quiet and seemed to be moving along well so I asked an arbitrary question “How’s it going up there?” and retrieved a rather quick reply of “I’m about to F#&^ing S**@ myself.” This garnered some good laughter from those of us on the ground and Brian continued his quiet exaction of the route at hand. Soon he had finished and we were all above the headwall with Rob and I heading toward the summit with just a few pitches of climbing left. Rob was the first to the summit and I followed shortly thereafter. The views, although smoky, were incredible. The smoke gave it an otherworldly view and the peaks unfolded around us. Brian took a summit video and the sound of camera shutters was very evident. Soon we were headed back down. Marcin looked at his watch and we were all surprised to hear that it was 9:30pm. We had been on the wall now for 17 hours with no rest.
    Some of the rappels were nice and quick, we backed almost every one of them up with new webbing we had brought for the occasion. At one of the rappels, back to the mushroom, it was just a large stone. To sling the block I moved it out of its current resting place, wrapped a sling around it and put it back in. The block itself couldn’t have weighed more then 60 lbs, had it given away the fall would have been around 1300 ft and rather unpleasant. The night wore on and at times patience wore on with it. At one spot we were all crammed into a small corner with ropes piled at our feet. Normally a spacious place for two this hole became a pile of people and gear in a matter of minutes. Grumpy voices followed quickly and slightly anxious movements before finally we were off and continuing down the face. I decided to backup a hex placement with cord while Rob watched me anxiously, finally asking “Are you going to pull the rope?!” Questions here on the face had a funny way of sounding like instant requests at this time of night. Still we continued down, there were a few moments when the night seemed almost dark. I had left my headlamp at the base of the climb, a reoccurring theme for me, and used Robs to finish up the last few pitches to the ground. By the time we reached the base of the climb it was beginning to get light once again and a look at the clock alerted us to the the time. 4:00am. Rob eagerly accepted a water bottle from Marcin drank half and handed it off to me. Before I could get a few sips from the precious liquid I heard a noise that sounded like someone stepped on a running hose. I looked to Rob and asked “Did you just throw up?” I was answered immediately by another step onto the hose which I got to witness. He gave me a look of annoyance and soon held out his hand again for a second attack. I took a few slow sips of the water, undoubtedly slowed by previous occurrences and gave him back the Nalgene.
    So far it had been a 24 hour climb with no rest and we still had the hike back down to go. This was a slow laborious process where every now and then you would watch someone fall down and wait to see if they were going to get back up. If they didn’t you assumed they were just resting anyway, maybe they’ll be at the tent later. After a few hours at the base of the last steep field of seemingly never ending rock Marcin sat waiting for everyone, as we came upon him he said rather non nonchalantly “I fell asleep and just woke up.”
    The last person arrived at camp at 7:30am. 27 hours after we had started the morning before. Brian and I talked about making something to eat before sleeping, I got as far as the creek and made some water then remember opening my eyes in the tent thinking “Well this is an odd place to have something to eat”, then I was off to sleep again.
    My eyes came open at about 1:30pm that same day and my stomach commanded me to rise. Breakfast was a wonderful feeling to behold as was the rest of that day while we talked about the blur in our memories that was Shot Tower and made sure we didn’t move further then 100 yards from camp.
    The day passed quickly and we were all soon back into our sleeping bags. The following day we talked about what we should do as the next objective and settled on Pyramid Peak. Pyramid Peak rose from the back of the valley out of a glacier lined in all sides by rock. Sounded excellent, unfortunately we wouldn’t be climbing that peak on this trip. For the rest of the day we decided it was time for a little self cleaning. Which for some of us meant launching ourselves off a 25 foot cliff into a wonderful blue pool of glacial goodness. Hitting the water was an instant shock but it was great to get out and feel the warm sun on our skin. The day from there was a breeze of relaxation.
    Eating in the morning was slow, we took our time getting out toward the peak because we had decided to bivy at the base after the rumored 6 hour approach. We took gear and our sleeping bags with us toward the peak. I was at least 30 minutes from camp before I realized I had left my climbing shoes in the tent and decided that I would just do the climb in hiking boots. After a few hours of hiking we came to a glacier with rocks balanced precariously over the edge. Brian ran ahead and said that he felt it was not to bad and Marcin climbed a ridge behind saying it wasn’t going to be easy. We really didn’t come to do anything easy however so after some discussion Brian and Rob decided to try a small bit of slab to access the glacier and from there see if they can find a way up. None of us had come expecting glacier travel so we had left all crampons and glacier equipment at home, not that I would have wanted to add onto our already overloaded packs. After Brian had crawled his way over a few large blocks with Rob trailing closely behind those same rocks he used to ascend released their loose hold on the ground. Rob hopped nimbly downward in an interpretation of “Cirque de crush you with granite” and narrowly avoided another catastrophe. “F@#$ this I’m done.” Was all it took for us all to shake our heads in agreement. Nobody wanted to be the one who turned the whole group back. We sat staring at the glacier in different modes of agreement before we watched a rock as big as myself come crashing off the glacier ripping down one of the paths we thought would be a good route for ascent. It had barely found its rest before we were headed back. We stopped and did a short hike to the top of a small peak on the way back just to get some good views over the valley and all agreed that we were happy to have attempted the peak.
    When we returned to camp I was very tired, I had awoken at 6am and couldn’t get back to sleep thanks to the vivid dreams that seemed to pervade every inch of my sleep. So I dragged my sleeping bag by the fire and slept laid over an alder.
    In the dream I was laying under granite pillars, the sound of rushing water melting into every sense of my being. The sun had crept off behind clouds which played with rain. Soon little drops of water were changing the color of my sleeping bag from blue to dark blue and each little drop sounded like it fell alone into an empty bucket. My eyes opened and I hadn’t dreamt at all. Everyone was running about and the rain began to increase in intensity. I wondered why nobody had bothered to tell me and I ran to the tent to crawl back into my now damp bag. Shortly after the real dreams took me over.
    It rained all night and was glad to see that the tent had held it all out. This seems like something you would expect since it is, after all, covered with a rainfly but there has been to many times of leaky tents for me to trust it simply on name. That morning I leaned over and unzipped the tent doors, by this time fully expecting the normal smoke and obstructed views. What I did see was a totally different valley. Suddenly peaks were protruding from everywhere. The blue of the sky gave me the impression I had fallen into the ocean where giants roamed about in granite wonder. I excitedly grabbed my camera and started to take pictures. Brian leaned his head and was able to mutter a “Oh Cool” before reentering his sleep state. Normally I felt as though I had to crawl from the tent but today I was out in a flash. Feeling the energy of the sun lift me beyond the peaks as my camera shutter worked itself into a frenzy. The sun dipped behind a peak and suddenly a shadow appeared, this simple thing seemed so foreign. There hadn’t been any shadows when the clouds and smoke were blocking the sun.
    I giggled excitingly as I spoke “Lets go climb something!”
    “Whats the weather like?” was the response I garnered from the yellow tent.
    “Its amazing bluebird skies, sunshine, beautiful, amazing!” I could harldy contain my elation and thought for sure everyone would come bustling out of the tent any moment.
    “Yea right.”
    “Seriously!”
    “If it is so sunny why is it so cold?”
    “Were in the shadow of a giant mountain!”

    Soon Marcin came out of the tent and looked around before saying a surprised “Its Beautiful!”. I nodded my head in agreement. We decided it was to beautiful not to go climbing and we settled on heading up the opposite ridge as we had before. It looked like a straight hike up scree, talus, tundra, and boulders but I don’t think any of us expected what we got. The boulder hopping field seemed to go on forever. At times we would hike for 20 minutes before looking up and thinking “did it just get further away?”. It took hours to get to the top of the ridge and when we arrived Brian instantly spied a line that looked fun on a formation near to the Maidens. The Maidens are two peaks which sit side by side with rounded tops. It is hard to know how many peaks got their names but some seem pretty obvious. The formation we approached was rounded at the base and much smaller then the maidens. Sitting on top of the round was a rather excited looking protrusion. It would come to be known as the Maidens Nipple, after much discussion.
    Brian led the first few pitches of climbing up to a great ledge, both pitches of climbing were great and it was nice to be on unknown ground. I decided to lead the next pitch so we switched over gear. Rob took a trip to the ridge to get a good view of the valley below so we decided to climb this odd formation in a 3 person party, because of rockfall one person would usually wait at a belay for a while so that the other two could climb and hook up a follow rope. I put a piece of gear in near the belay and climbed on the easy ground for a few feet, my mind hadn’t yet warmed up to climbing today apparently as my legs began to shake. My grip seemed weak and all I could think of was the rocks that were going to come following me down as I fell to my belayers ledge. In reality this couldn’t have been more then 8 feet away. Not really something to worry about but it can be hard to explain the way a brain works when climbing, today I felt nervous. I continued the climb over gripping most holds and nervously shuffling my feet until I came to an overhanging hand crack. Brian suggested that I move left along a large ledge and gain the ridge and after inspecting the possibilities I found that that it was easy enough to do so. This is, however, something that spoke into the back of my mind and asked “Are you going to really miss out on hand jams? You have the gear, give it a shot.” A minute later I had my hands cupped to increase my grip in the crack. I had put a piece of gear below at the start of the crack and now it was time to put in another. I reached down to my right to find the correct size and realized that I put them all on my left side. Unfortunately my left hand was doing all the work at the moment and every time I had reached for the gear with my right across my body I nearly fell from the wall. After a few moments thinking I climbed to what I hoped would be the end of the crack and large hold. I was rewarded as hoped and bellowed a “Jesus, that was hard!” before continuing to a good belay point. Brian agreed to the difficulty after he had followed and Marcin only looked at me with the response of “You are crazy” after he followed successfully.
    The rest of the climb was a mix of traversing and down climbing which lead us to the final summit sitting over the Arrigetch Valley and allowing us all a view of the 30 pitch route that is on Central Maiden Peak. We also were allowed something that seems not normally found in the Arrigetch, that is we were able to walk off from the summit and not use any slings or webbing for rappel. Thus began the slow and laborious trek back to camp. Everyone would eventually speak of aching knees and joints. It was hard not to when it felt like we were jumping inch by inch down the mountain, each time landing on unstable ground. At one point I ran down the edge of a rock and put all my weight into a boulder larger then my own bulk but that didn’t keep it from tipping downward. Suddenly I was a little kid on the playground who pushed a bully, now he was rushing at me snickering “nanana na na boom thump”. I faced downhill and sprinted along on a few boulders before finding my way to safety and continuing the slog back to camp.
    That night we sat around the camp and talked about names for the route and the formation. Eventually we called the route the South Ridge of the Maidens Nipple. Not having names for routes but instead just letters from the compass.
    The next morning, after our 8th night in the Arrigetch we all moved slowly out of the tents and to the cooking area. It was another beautiful day with sunshine and blue skies although we all noticed that since the clouds had left, so did the heat. It was starting to get chilly and those of us with large coats were wearing them, in fact we were wearing them with a large smile hugging ourselves and humming “mmmmmmmm thats so warm mmmmmmm” so that the onlookers thought about how a simple knife slice would deflate our satisfaction. We were still a bit sore from the day before but it’s just to hard to skip a beautiful day so Marcin, Rob and I grabbed some gear and headed back up toward Shot Tower to climb a chimney I had seen on a separate formation. We hiked the hour back up to the valley and I launched into one of the most enjoyable climbs I have had in quite a while. It was short and not very difficult but something about the situation and the place makes every climb in the area amazing. I climbed up to the chimney, slung a chockstone and lifted my feet high to the only foothold around. Then I lunged up and wedged my whole body into the crack. At first I couldn’t quite fit and found I had prematurely launched headfirst, jamming myself in a very awkward stance. It took some finagling but soon I was able to continue from inside the crack itself. Large boulders lined the edge precariously perched upon one another waiting for the gentle touch to begin a not so gentle fall. After climbing the crack Marcin followed and I tried another harder crack to the left. After donating a good amount of blood to the granite gods I decided it wasn’t going to go and I moved around it to climb a higher section. Rob scrambled around the formation with the enthusiasm of a child eating a popsicle. Marcin smiled looking graciously at Shot Tower and our other surroundings, if life could be better I almost didn’t want to know about it.
    The night fell and we fell with it, I had moved on from my book and now it was Brian who was engrossed within its pages. I felt euphoric and almost positive that I was awake, all made sense. I looked up at Brian and told him something along the lines of;
    “Its better on the ridges.”
    “What?” Brian looked confused.
    “The ridges where we are.” Obviously Brian had forgotten that we were perched high on a ridge with other mountain people of lore who were depending on us to stay alert.
    “What the hell are you talking about?”
    “Whats going on over there?” It was Robs time to chime in, obviously he knows how important it is that we stay on the ridge!
    After some more rambling where I am pretty sure Brian just gets tired of me and continues to read his book I still feel that what I am saying is correct even though I am now slowly coming to the realization that we are still on the same grassy knoll at the base of the valley. I drift back off to sleep with Brian’s laughter at my obvious sleep talking the last thing I hear.
    Marcin took the job of Head Fire Chief seriously as he tended to the pile of alders and smoke nearly all day. Brian agreed to some bouldering and we had a good time finding routes on the lichen covered boulder at the head of the valley. Soon we were back to the fire watching the process. Put on sticks, blow, wait for flame, blow again, sit back and pretend it’s warm. Near the end of the day Marcin decided to go picking for blueberries, which were a little tart but still tasty in oatmeal. It was a bit of a surprise when Marcin returned with a climbing rope that looked about 30 years old, and that it had come from Home Depot. He led us all back to what appeared to be an old cache of gear, we are not sure how old it was or how long it had been there but after some searching we guess sometime in the 70’s. There were ropes, draws, glacier glasses, hob nail boots, pitons, and food strewn through the rocks and tundra; damn Krakauer. The holes in the cans gave the impression that there was food, before an animal got to it. We spent the remainder of our night pretending to be archaeologists, guessing the dates on equipment and looking for date clues on every piece of garbage. Thus ended our last night in the Arrigetch Peaks.
    We had decided to hike to the first came, four miles down valley, and continue from there if we felt like it to a good place to camp for the night. So at noon we looked back at the place that became home and whispered our goodbyes. The hike was going well and soon we were back at the first campsite, everyone was doing well and had plenty of energy so we continued on. Miles passed below our feet as we continued on, usually in silence. The river had gone down significantly since we had arrived in the valley and that made going much easier along the creekbed. All the areas that had caused us issue on the way in were now much easier on the way out. After 7 hours of hiking we had come to within the last mile of camp. My shoes were dry, as were Marcins and one of Robs but that didn’t last. This last section of river necessitated a crossing and so we dove in thinking “hey its been pretty easy going comparativly, lets just get this over with.”
    We appeared at the river an hour later panting and covered in mosquitos, although I am not sure they could eat me through the sweat and tree’s that stuck to my body. I looked at Brian and muttered “That was hell.” It was possibly the worst mile I can ever remember. Crossing swamps that went from dry to soaking, diving headlong into alders, walking tussocks, watching a Barbara Streisand special, nothing was enjoyable. In my small daily notes I put it as “Sucked Royally” and I can’t think of how to better describe it now. At least we had finally reached our destination and wouldn’t have to hike again before we headed out. The plane wouldn’t be in for another day and a half so we spent the entire next day sleeping, reading, and generally enjoying the sunshine. Dirk picked us up on the morning of the 14th where we would head back to Coldfoot and I would find I had lost 17 pounds. As we headed out we had our final glimpse of the valley which will stand stall and clear within all our dreams.

    Arrigetch Peaks

    View photos at SmugMug

  • Around 4 years ago John Borland and I decided to go on a big climb into the northern
    areas of Alaska above the Arctic Circle. We decided on a beautiful spire called Shot Tower as
    our main objective. This tower included 16 pitches of climbing with one of those pitches being
    A2. A2 means that it is ascended by aid climbing, that is using gear entirely to ascend that
    portion. We began the first stage and started to learn how to aid climb. As most people know
    things don’t always go as planned and we ended up being quoted $2000 each for our trip.
    “$2000?!” we said, “thats more then a trip to Thailand!”. The next thing we knew we were off to
    Thailand and thus began 4 years of traveling and utter nomadism. Still throughout those years
    something was missing, something had yet to be accomplished and that was the tower jutting
    mightily from the earth, hundreds of miles from civilization.
    It is July 2009 and I am perusing Alaska Mountain Forum as I stumble across a post asking
    for partners into the Arrigetch Valley. Their goal; Shot Tower. I feel a light tingle float up
    my spine as again the possibilities radiate through me. I quickly shoot the idea down. Money,
    Planning, time, I just don’t have any of those available; but still I reply. Soon I am sending
    emails back and forth with Marcin Ksok and he tells me that the plane ride will cost $650. That
    once again sends me spiraling through the opportunity and I agree to join. With just a few days
    of gathered planning we are all sitting in a car still chatting with the basic questions as we
    get to know each other. Brian Fredricks, Rob Litsenberger, Marcin Ksok, and I drove to Fairbanks and enter the equivalent of crawling into a fireplace. Choking down the air makes me feel like a smoker, and headaches are passed all around. Meeting up with Mike Miller he led us through the backwoods to a Yurt where we spent our first night of the trip.
    Awaking to more smoke from the fires burning all over the interior we continued our drive onto Coldfoot, another 7 hours or so along the famous Haul Road of Alaska. After taking a painless class in Backcountry Orientation and a rather painful class in Arctic Art at the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center we hit up what would be our last real civilized meal for several weeks, an $18.95 buffet that I have yet to regret. That night we stayed at a campsite outside of Coldfoot for the first night in a tent, looking at the tent I would be living in with Brian gave me the feeling that we would be quite cozy by the end of this trip. Our two sleeping pads cuddled each other effectively and got to know one another. The first night we woke to a frost, apparently it was going to be colder then we had realized!
    We headed back to the Visitor Center, as much for the bathrooms as to get information for the approach and decided we would try to get access to South Arrigetch Creek from Takahula Lake. At the airport we weighed all our gear, and ourselves, and groaned about pretty much anything that was going to add an ounce. Soon our packs were down to a healthy 70+ pounds. Only Marcin managed to get his down below 70 lbs. and that was before adding a gallon of fuel. I put mine on the scale it seemed to yell the weight into my eardrums, 81 lbs. Ouch. After some tweaking I got it down to 74 lbs. And was probably much to proud of myself. I personally weighed 240 pounds. We put all our money together in cash with the exception of Marcin, allowing us to ask the question “If the check doesn’t clear do we get picked up?” oddly there are smiles and laughs, but no answer.
    Coyote Air was who flew through, most people seem to fly from Bettles to access the Arrigetch but Coldfoot was our choice because it can be accessed by road, thus bringing down the costs of travel. Dirk was a great pilot telling us stories of his first climb, which happened to be on Mt. Hunter and with Alex Lowe and Conrad Anker, and lots of other interesting facts. He spotted at gravel bar on the Alatna River that he said would be good for a landing and skimmed the water surface as he came down gently on an uneven rocky surface. I hope that sounded like I was calm, in reality I probably ground a few teeth down to nubs.
    Standing on the bank of the Alatna River in the Brooks Range with several people I had only just me in the last month I waved goodbye to Dirk. Steven King probably would have called us a Ka-tet, 4 people bound to a single purpose and it was our goal to achieve a tower. It also happens that the only book I brought along was the Wizard and Glass by Stephen King although I’ll try not to make to many parallels.
    We threw on our packs and headed off into unbroken trail up the creek which leads to the valley. A mist was followed by a light drizzle which didn’t matter to much because we had only made it a few miles before our feet were wet. At times we would be walking the creek bed, happy that the going was so easy and only feeling the pain of our packs. Then we would soon be brought back to the reality of the situation by a bushwhack over alders and through trees which would last hours. The breaks were numerous and each time we would learn we had only gone a few miles, usually less. Every few seconds one, or all, of us would yell “Hey Bear”, “Yo Bear”, “How you doing bear?”, or some sort of combination. Whenever Marcin would yell “Oh Hey Bear” it sounded to me as though he was actually talking to one and I would gaze around nervously expecting a reply “Hows it going? Which one of your is the heaviest? Its getting late and I’d like to stock up.” Every once in a while we would wander on something that seemed human. We came to a pair of socks and somewhere along the conversation we came up to the fact that they must be Jon Krakaur’s socks, this was based on about as much evidence as bigfoot, yetis, or universal health care. Eventually this would come to take a theme on the trip.
    Our first campsite was at the pass one would use to get into the other creek, if someone was so inclined to do so. We could smell sulfur nearby and knew about a hot springs in the vicinity although we had also heard not to get our hopes up. After a good meal Marcin headed off to find the spring while the rest of us collapsed into a deep stupor. The spring, Marcin would later tell us, was like holding down the button on a water fountain and was either too hot or too cold.
    The next morning it continued to drizzle, thanks to our already wet shoes it didn’t seem to bad. We also all knew that it would be only 4 miles to the upper campsite. That was only half of the distance we had covered the day before and that was something to celebrate about. We left camp in good spirits, which were soon shattered in sounds of alders as they splintered under our feet. The immediate mile took 3 hours. Some of the walking your feet never touched the ground they simply limped along amongst the alders which decided to grow horizontally instead of vertically. I would duck my head and just dive in, sometimes they caught the pack tipping my already teetering body in all directions. Then we finally emerged onto the other side of the stream to a much easier hike of boulders under tundra. The next few miles went at about a mile per hour but felt like we were sprinting after the previous epic.
    The campsite was a beautiful knoll of soft grass with the occasional boulder that was hard to find until you were laying on it. Rob found a friend in his piece of granite and named him Gary, one could often hear them cuddling in the night with Rob doing most the talking. We setup the site which would be our home for the next few weeks and rolled into our sleeping bags.
    The next morning the weather was decent but the smoke obscured most of our views. Sometimes we would get a glimpse on the shadow of Mt. Wichmann at the head of the valley, others it was merely a blank spot in our vision. We took this day as a sort of rest before doing Shot Tower. It was my goal not to move any muscles and just let them recover a bit before going into the big climb. Within a few hours however I was following Marcin up the valley that would be our approach. We did a two hour hike to get a good view of the approach and stared at the massive hunk of rock we had all come to climb. We stumbled our way back down the talus which was mostly large loose boulders over small loose blocks. After a good dinner we sorted gear and decided on teams of Rob and I, and Brian and Marcin for the climb. We would leave first at 4am with Brian and Marcin following next at 5am giving us some time to get a few pitches before they got behind us.
    My little alarm clock beeped away at 4am, I awoke and grabbed it in my hand hitting snooze quickly and with the effectiveness of a professional. Soon I was falling back into a deep serenity of quiet and darkness. Before the impact however I opened my eyes, it was my job to get Rob up and if we were going to do this climb then it wasn’t going to not happen because of me. I rasped on Robs tent and we made our way to the cooking area. A nice stream bed that ran only when the water was high and was itself only a few seconds walk from the main stream. Breakfast was made and enjoyed before we left at 4:30am to begin. The smoke had not left the valley and the hike up was a long trudge through boulders and gigantic loose blocks. As they rolled they seemed to spew obscenities for being moved on such short notice. It appeared they were angry whenever they came rolling onto a foot or attempted to take a finger. After a few hours we were at the base of the climb, with that behind us we once again became excited about what appeared before us. We racked up and headed into the climb and were barely a few pitches up before Brian and Marcin were racking their own gear below the climb, we were the slower hikers. The first few pitches of climbing were easy and of average quality. Every now and then we would pull out the sheet of paper which described, loosely, the pitches ahead and wonder at what the description really meant. What does “slow” really mean as the entire description for a pitch?
    After a few hours and a good clump of pitches we were past the traverse of the mushroom. The mushroom is a large overhanging block that is normally done by skipping it entirely. After a few excellent pitches of climbing we finally came to the crux of the route. A 60ft overhanging thin crack that is done by aid climbing. After some discussion I started the first portion of the route and got half way up before I came down and switched off with Brian. It was nice to break this pitch up into two and not half to lead the entire portion. During the climb my hand and arm began to cramp up which led me to think I hadn’t had enough water for the day, this was surprising because I had probably drank 2 liters of water since beginning the climb and that really didn’t seem so long ago. Brian had never aid climbed before and after showing him how to use the etriers and easy daisy he jump right into his first aiding experience. After a while he was very quiet and seemed to be moving along well so I asked an arbitrary question “How’s it going up there?” and retrieved a rather quick reply of “I’m about to F#&^ing S**@ myself.” This garnered some good laughter from those of us on the ground and Brian continued his quiet exaction of the route at hand. Soon he had finished and we were all above the headwall with Rob and I heading toward the summit with just a few pitches of climbing left. Rob was the first to the summit and I followed shortly thereafter. The views, although smoky, were incredible. The smoke gave it an otherworldly view and the peaks unfolded around us. Brian took a summit video and the sound of camera shutters was very evident. Soon we were headed back down. Marcin looked at his watch and we were all surprised to hear that it was 9:30pm. We had been on the wall now for 17 hours with no rest.
    Some of the rappels were nice and quick, we backed almost every one of them up with new webbing we had brought for the occasion. At one of the rappels, back to the mushroom, it was just a large stone. To sling the block I moved it out of its current resting place, wrapped a sling around it and put it back in. The block itself couldn’t have weighed more then 60 lbs, had it given away the fall would have been around 1300 ft and rather unpleasant. The night wore on and at times patience wore on with it. At one spot we were all crammed into a small corner with ropes piled at our feet. Normally a spacious place for two this hole became a pile of people and gear in a matter of minutes. Grumpy voices followed quickly and slightly anxious movements before finally we were off and continuing down the face. I decided to backup a hex placement with cord while Rob watched me anxiously, finally asking “Are you going to pull the rope?!” Questions here on the face had a funny way of sounding like instant requests at this time of night. Still we continued down, there were a few moments when the night seemed almost dark. I had left my headlamp at the base of the climb, a reoccurring theme for me, and used Robs to finish up the last few pitches to the ground. By the time we reached the base of the climb it was beginning to get light once again and a look at the clock alerted us to the the time. 4:00am. Rob eagerly accepted a water bottle from Marcin drank half and handed it off to me. Before I could get a few sips from the precious liquid I heard a noise that sounded like someone stepped on a running hose. I looked to Rob and asked “Did you just throw up?” I was answered immediately by another step onto the hose which I got to witness. He gave me a look of annoyance and soon held out his hand again for a second attack. I took a few slow sips of the water, undoubtedly slowed by previous occurrences and gave him back the Nalgene.
    So far it had been a 24 hour climb with no rest and we still had the hike back down to go. This was a slow laborious process where every now and then you would watch someone fall down and wait to see if they were going to get back up. If they didn’t you assumed they were just resting anyway, maybe they’ll be at the tent later. After a few hours at the base of the last steep field of seemingly never ending rock Marcin sat waiting for everyone, as we came upon him he said rather non nonchalantly “I fell asleep and just woke up.”
    The last person arrived at camp at 7:30am. 27 hours after we had started the morning before. Brian and I talked about making something to eat before sleeping, I got as far as the creek and made some water then remember opening my eyes in the tent thinking “Well this is an odd place to have something to eat”, then I was off to sleep again.
    My eyes came open at about 1:30pm that same day and my stomach commanded me to rise. Breakfast was a wonderful feeling to behold as was the rest of that day while we talked about the blur in our memories that was Shot Tower and made sure we didn’t move further then 100 yards from camp.
    The day passed quickly and we were all soon back into our sleeping bags. The following day we talked about what we should do as the next objective and settled on Pyramid Peak. Pyramid Peak rose from the back of the valley out of a glacier lined in all sides by rock. Sounded excellent, unfortunately we wouldn’t be climbing that peak on this trip. For the rest of the day we decided it was time for a little self cleaning. Which for some of us meant launching ourselves off a 25 foot cliff into a wonderful blue pool of glacial goodness. Hitting the water was an instant shock but it was great to get out and feel the warm sun on our skin. The day from there was a breeze of relaxation.
    Eating in the morning was slow, we took our time getting out toward the peak because we had decided to bivy at the base after the rumored 6 hour approach. We took gear and our sleeping bags with us toward the peak. I was at least 30 minutes from camp before I realized I had left my climbing shoes in the tent and decided that I would just do the climb in hiking boots. After a few hours of hiking we came to a glacier with rocks balanced precariously over the edge. Brian ran ahead and said that he felt it was not to bad and Marcin climbed a ridge behind saying it wasn’t going to be easy. We really didn’t come to do anything easy however so after some discussion Brian and Rob decided to try a small bit of slab to access the glacier and from there see if they can find a way up. None of us had come expecting glacier travel so we had left all crampons and glacier equipment at home, not that I would have wanted to add onto our already overloaded packs. After Brian had crawled his way over a few large blocks with Rob trailing closely behind those same rocks he used to ascend released their loose hold on the ground. Rob hopped nimbly downward in an interpretation of “Cirque de crush you with granite” and narrowly avoided another catastrophe. “F@#$ this I’m done.” Was all it took for us all to shake our heads in agreement. Nobody wanted to be the one who turned the whole group back. We sat staring at the glacier in different modes of agreement before we watched a rock as big as myself come crashing off the glacier ripping down one of the paths we thought would be a good route for ascent. It had barely found its rest before we were headed back. We stopped and did a short hike to the top of a small peak on the way back just to get some good views over the valley and all agreed that we were happy to have attempted the peak.
    When we returned to camp I was very tired, I had awoken at 6am and couldn’t get back to sleep thanks to the vivid dreams that seemed to pervade every inch of my sleep. So I dragged my sleeping bag by the fire and slept laid over an alder.
    In the dream I was laying under granite pillars, the sound of rushing water melting into every sense of my being. The sun had crept off behind clouds which played with rain. Soon little drops of water were changing the color of my sleeping bag from blue to dark blue and each little drop sounded like it fell alone into an empty bucket. My eyes opened and I hadn’t dreamt at all. Everyone was running about and the rain began to increase in intensity. I wondered why nobody had bothered to tell me and I ran to the tent to crawl back into my now damp bag. Shortly after the real dreams took me over.
    It rained all night and was glad to see that the tent had held it all out. This seems like something you would expect since it is, after all, covered with a rainfly but there has been to many times of leaky tents for me to trust it simply on name. That morning I leaned over and unzipped the tent doors, by this time fully expecting the normal smoke and obstructed views. What I did see was a totally different valley. Suddenly peaks were protruding from everywhere. The blue of the sky gave me the impression I had fallen into the ocean where giants roamed about in granite wonder. I excitedly grabbed my camera and started to take pictures. Brian leaned his head and was able to mutter a “Oh Cool” before reentering his sleep state. Normally I felt as though I had to crawl from the tent but today I was out in a flash. Feeling the energy of the sun lift me beyond the peaks as my camera shutter worked itself into a frenzy. The sun dipped behind a peak and suddenly a shadow appeared, this simple thing seemed so foreign. There hadn’t been any shadows when the clouds and smoke were blocking the sun.
    I giggled excitingly as I spoke “Lets go climb something!”
    “Whats the weather like?” was the response I garnered from the yellow tent.
    “Its amazing bluebird skies, sunshine, beautiful, amazing!” I could harldy contain my elation and thought for sure everyone would come bustling out of the tent any moment.
    “Yea right.”
    “Seriously!”
    “If it is so sunny why is it so cold?”
    “Were in the shadow of a giant mountain!”

    Soon Marcin came out of the tent and looked around before saying a surprised “Its Beautiful!”. I nodded my head in agreement. We decided it was to beautiful not to go climbing and we settled on heading up the opposite ridge as we had before. It looked like a straight hike up scree, talus, tundra, and boulders but I don’t think any of us expected what we got. The boulder hopping field seemed to go on forever. At times we would hike for 20 minutes before looking up and thinking “did it just get further away?”. It took hours to get to the top of the ridge and when we arrived Brian instantly spied a line that looked fun on a formation near to the Maidens. The Maidens are two peaks which sit side by side with rounded tops. It is hard to know how many peaks got their names but some seem pretty obvious. The formation we approached was rounded at the base and much smaller then the maidens. Sitting on top of the round was a rather excited looking protrusion. It would come to be known as the Maidens Nipple, after much discussion.
    Brian led the first few pitches of climbing up to a great ledge, both pitches of climbing were great and it was nice to be on unknown ground. I decided to lead the next pitch so we switched over gear. Rob took a trip to the ridge to get a good view of the valley below so we decided to climb this odd formation in a 3 person party, because of rockfall one person would usually wait at a belay for a while so that the other two could climb and hook up a follow rope. I put a piece of gear in near the belay and climbed on the easy ground for a few feet, my mind hadn’t yet warmed up to climbing today apparently as my legs began to shake. My grip seemed weak and all I could think of was the rocks that were going to come following me down as I fell to my belayers ledge. In reality this couldn’t have been more then 8 feet away. Not really something to worry about but it can be hard to explain the way a brain works when climbing, today I felt nervous. I continued the climb over gripping most holds and nervously shuffling my feet until I came to an overhanging hand crack. Brian suggested that I move left along a large ledge and gain the ridge and after inspecting the possibilities I found that that it was easy enough to do so. This is, however, something that spoke into the back of my mind and asked “Are you going to really miss out on hand jams? You have the gear, give it a shot.” A minute later I had my hands cupped to increase my grip in the crack. I had put a piece of gear below at the start of the crack and now it was time to put in another. I reached down to my right to find the correct size and realized that I put them all on my left side. Unfortunately my left hand was doing all the work at the moment and every time I had reached for the gear with my right across my body I nearly fell from the wall. After a few moments thinking I climbed to what I hoped would be the end of the crack and large hold. I was rewarded as hoped and bellowed a “Jesus, that was hard!” before continuing to a good belay point. Brian agreed to the difficulty after he had followed and Marcin only looked at me with the response of “You are crazy” after he followed successfully.
    The rest of the climb was a mix of traversing and down climbing which lead us to the final summit sitting over the Arrigetch Valley and allowing us all a view of the 30 pitch route that is on Central Maiden Peak. We also were allowed something that seems not normally found in the Arrigetch, that is we were able to walk off from the summit and not use any slings or webbing for rappel. Thus began the slow and laborious trek back to camp. Everyone would eventually speak of aching knees and joints. It was hard not to when it felt like we were jumping inch by inch down the mountain, each time landing on unstable ground. At one point I ran down the edge of a rock and put all my weight into a boulder larger then my own bulk but that didn’t keep it from tipping downward. Suddenly I was a little kid on the playground who pushed a bully, now he was rushing at me snickering “nanana na na boom thump”. I faced downhill and sprinted along on a few boulders before finding my way to safety and continuing the slog back to camp.
    That night we sat around the camp and talked about names for the route and the formation. Eventually we called the route the South Ridge of the Maidens Nipple. Not having names for routes but instead just letters from the compass.
    The next morning, after our 8th night in the Arrigetch we all moved slowly out of the tents and to the cooking area. It was another beautiful day with sunshine and blue skies although we all noticed that since the clouds had left, so did the heat. It was starting to get chilly and those of us with large coats were wearing them, in fact we were wearing them with a large smile hugging ourselves and humming “mmmmmmmm thats so warm mmmmmmm” so that the onlookers thought about how a simple knife slice would deflate our satisfaction. We were still a bit sore from the day before but it’s just to hard to skip a beautiful day so Marcin, Rob and I grabbed some gear and headed back up toward Shot Tower to climb a chimney I had seen on a separate formation. We hiked the hour back up to the valley and I launched into one of the most enjoyable climbs I have had in quite a while. It was short and not very difficult but something about the situation and the place makes every climb in the area amazing. I climbed up to the chimney, slung a chockstone and lifted my feet high to the only foothold around. Then I lunged up and wedged my whole body into the crack. At first I couldn’t quite fit and found I had prematurely launched headfirst, jamming myself in a very awkward stance. It took some finagling but soon I was able to continue from inside the crack itself. Large boulders lined the edge precariously perched upon one another waiting for the gentle touch to begin a not so gentle fall. After climbing the crack Marcin followed and I tried another harder crack to the left. After donating a good amount of blood to the granite gods I decided it wasn’t going to go and I moved around it to climb a higher section. Rob scrambled around the formation with the enthusiasm of a child eating a popsicle. Marcin smiled looking graciously at Shot Tower and our other surroundings, if life could be better I almost didn’t want to know about it.
    The night fell and we fell with it, I had moved on from my book and now it was Brian who was engrossed within its pages. I felt euphoric and almost positive that I was awake, all made sense. I looked up at Brian and told him something along the lines of;
    “Its better on the ridges.”
    “What?” Brian looked confused.
    “The ridges where we are.” Obviously Brian had forgotten that we were perched high on a ridge with other mountain people of lore who were depending on us to stay alert.
    “What the hell are you talking about?”
    “Whats going on over there?” It was Robs time to chime in, obviously he knows how important it is that we stay on the ridge!
    After some more rambling where I am pretty sure Brian just gets tired of me and continues to read his book I still feel that what I am saying is correct even though I am now slowly coming to the realization that we are still on the same grassy knoll at the base of the valley. I drift back off to sleep with Brian’s laughter at my obvious sleep talking the last thing I hear.
    Marcin took the job of Head Fire Chief seriously as he tended to the pile of alders and smoke nearly all day. Brian agreed to some bouldering and we had a good time finding routes on the lichen covered boulder at the head of the valley. Soon we were back to the fire watching the process. Put on sticks, blow, wait for flame, blow again, sit back and pretend it’s warm. Near the end of the day Marcin decided to go picking for blueberries, which were a little tart but still tasty in oatmeal. It was a bit of a surprise when Marcin returned with a climbing rope that looked about 30 years old, and that it had come from Home Depot. He led us all back to what appeared to be an old cache of gear, we are not sure how old it was or how long it had been there but after some searching we guess sometime in the 70’s. There were ropes, draws, glacier glasses, hob nail boots, pitons, and food strewn through the rocks and tundra; damn Krakauer. The holes in the cans gave the impression that there was food, before an animal got to it. We spent the remainder of our night pretending to be archaeologists, guessing the dates on equipment and looking for date clues on every piece of garbage. Thus ended our last night in the Arrigetch Peaks.
    We had decided to hike to the first came, four miles down valley, and continue from there if we felt like it to a good place to camp for the night. So at noon we looked back at the place that became home and whispered our goodbyes. The hike was going well and soon we were back at the first campsite, everyone was doing well and had plenty of energy so we continued on. Miles passed below our feet as we continued on, usually in silence. The river had gone down significantly since we had arrived in the valley and that made going much easier along the creekbed. All the areas that had caused us issue on the way in were now much easier on the way out. After 7 hours of hiking we had come to within the last mile of camp. My shoes were dry, as were Marcins and one of Robs but that didn’t last. This last section of river necessitated a crossing and so we dove in thinking “hey its been pretty easy going comparativly, lets just get this over with.”
    We appeared at the river an hour later panting and covered in mosquitos, although I am not sure they could eat me through the sweat and tree’s that stuck to my body. I looked at Brian and muttered “That was hell.” It was possibly the worst mile I can ever remember. Crossing swamps that went from dry to soaking, diving headlong into alders, walking tussocks, watching a Barbara Streisand special, nothing was enjoyable. In my small daily notes I put it as “Sucked Royally” and I can’t think of how to better describe it now. At least we had finally reached our destination and wouldn’t have to hike again before we headed out. The plane wouldn’t be in for another day and a half so we spent the entire next day sleeping, reading, and generally enjoying the sunshine. Dirk picked us up on the morning of the 14th where we would head back to Coldfoot and I would find I had lost 17 pounds. As we headed out we had our final glimpse of the valley which will stand stall and clear within all our dreams.

    Arrigetch Peaks

    View photos at SmugMug

  • The Backpack

    I wanted a small backpack to take on the Africa trip with me. I have chosen a backpack to make this attempt with that is only 2000 cubic inches. The Mountain Hardware Paladin

    http://mountainhardwear.com/Product.aspx?top=1625&prod=2931&cat=1655&viewAll=False

    Now the test comes in trying to actually fit everything into it. I have also bought a smaller backpack. They are always nice to have for day use when you want to leave your larger pack behind. The REI Flash 18:

    http://www.rei.com/product/778466

    This is a great pack with no internal frame. It still has both a chest and waist loop but rolls up into a ball about the size of my fist. That is great when trying to get size down!

  • The Backpack

    I wanted a small backpack to take on the Africa trip with me. I have chosen a backpack to make this attempt with that is only 2000 cubic inches. The Mountain Hardware Paladin

    http://mountainhardwear.com/Product.aspx?top=1625&prod=2931&cat=1655&viewAll=False

    Now the test comes in trying to actually fit everything into it. I have also bought a smaller backpack. They are always nice to have for day use when you want to leave your larger pack behind. The REI Flash 18:

    http://www.rei.com/product/778466

    This is a great pack with no internal frame. It still has both a chest and waist loop but rolls up into a ball about the size of my fist. That is great when trying to get size down!

  • The Backpack

    I wanted a small backpack to take on the Africa trip with me. I have chosen a backpack to make this attempt with that is only 2000 cubic inches.

    http://mountainhardwear.com/Product.aspx?top=1625&prod=2931&cat=1655&viewAll=False

    Now the test comes in trying to actually fit everything into it. I have also bought a smaller backpack. They are always nice to have for day use when you want to leave your larger pack behind. The REI Flash 18:

    http://www.rei.com/product/778466

    This is a great pack with no internal frame. It still has both a chest and waist loop but rolls up into a ball about the size of my fist. That is great when trying to get size down!

  • News!

    On the Radio!

    Last modified on 2009-04-21 18:28:38 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

    I will be on KNBA - Alaska on Monday the 27th of April to promote the new Alaska Rock Climbing Guidebook. This is the same day that I will be at University of Alaska Anchorage to do a book signing. If everything goes well then hopefully the book will sell well!

    Zimbabwe Aid

    Last modified on 2009-04-12 21:50:30 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

    The country of Zimbabwe is in trouble, big trouble. When a country starts printing trillion dollar bills for general circulation you know that the currency is collapsing. Thankfully they have been getting some new assistance and credit to help their situation. One can only hope that they are taking it as an opportunity to draft a real solution to the problem. It is nice to see a positive reaction to their aid call.

    Full Article: http://www.reuters.com/article/africaCrisis/idUSL8686434
    Secondary: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7995882.stm

    Sunbox Cooker

    Last modified on 2009-04-12 22:21:46 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

    This simple invention has won an award for being the most “green” of many inventions which do not have corporate backing. They won the $75,000 prize to bring the invention to a larger scale. One thing which I liked about this competition is that it was not for concepts but for actual inventions which are in use. That means we can see whether or not it will work because its being used today!

    Full Story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7991654.stm

    There are other programs which have been using solar cookers for quite some time. One of the better groups is Solar Cookers International, who brings these solar cookers to people all over the world.

    http://solarcookers.org/about/history.html

  • On the Radio!

    I will be on KNBA - Alaska on Monday the 27th of April to promote the new Alaska Rock Climbing Guidebook. This is the same day that I will be at University of Alaska Anchorage to do a book signing. If everything goes well then hopefully the book will sell well!

  • On the Radio!

    I will be on KNBA - Alaska on Monday the 27th of April to promote the new Alaska Rock Climbing Guidebook. This is the same day that I will be at University of Alaska Anchorage to do a book signing. If everything goes well then hopefully the book will sell well!

  • On the Radio!

  • Projects

    I will be heading to Malta and then Africa in December of 2009, this will be the first trip where I put this website and my ideas into action. I am very excited for this project!

    There are a great deal of projects in the world that could use assistance in all ways. I have just chosen a few to keep the confusion down. If you have a preferred project please let me know so I can look into it.

    travellerworldwide

    Ghana:  They have different programs in teaching music, computers, and football.

    Kenya: Care for Kids (Helping poor children in orphanages) and assisting Kenyan teachers are just a few of the options here.

    africanimpact Zimbabwe: African Lion Rehabilitation and Conservation.

    Tanzania: Volunteer teaching and building projects.

  • Projects

    I will be heading to Malta and then Africa in December of 2009, this will be the first trip where I put this website and my ideas into action. I am very excited for this project!

    There are a great deal of projects in the world that could use assistance in all ways. I have just chosen a few to keep the confusion down. If you have a preferred project please let me know so I can look into it.

    travellerworldwide

    Ghana:  They have different programs in teaching music, computers, and football.

    Kenya: Care for Kids (Helping poor children in orphanages) and assisting Kenyan teachers are just a few of the options here.

    africanimpact Zimbabwe: African Lion Rehabilitation and Conservation.

    Tanzania: Volunteer teaching and building projects.

  • africanimpact

  • Donating

    Everything will be used for the project only, if you are curious what the money is going to then visit the page Expenses. Everything is very appreciated and there are several ways to help.

    1. Donate via Paypal, it’s easy and painless.

    2. Have some items just clogging up the house? Sell them and donate some to the project!

    3. Leave a comment and let me know what you think, money isn’t the only way to help!

  • Donating

    If you donate a value of $0.00 USD or more then we will create a link to a site of your choice. For this to work you must click the Return button on the PayPal page after you have completed the donation.

    Display Preference:
    Optional URL:

    Everything will be used for the project only, if you are curious what the money is going to then visit the page Expenses. Everything is very appreciated and there are several ways to help.

    1. Donate via Paypal, it’s easy and painless.

    2. Have some items just clogging up the house? Sell them and donate some to the project!

    3. Leave a comment and let me know what you think, money isn’t the only way to help!

  • Donating

    If you donate a value of $0.00 USD or more then we will create a link to a site of your choice. For this to work you must click the Return button on the PayPal page after you have completed the donation.

    Display Preference:
    Optional URL:

    Everything will be used for the project only, if you are curious what the money is going to then visit the page Expenses. Everything is very appreciated and there are several ways to help.

    1. Donate via Paypal, it’s easy and painless.

    2. Have some items just clogging up the house? Sell them and donate some to the project!

    3. Leave a comment and let me know what you think, money isn’t the only way to help!

  • The Idea

    It seems to me that everyone I talk to at some point would love to go to another country and volunteer for a desired cause. Often it is teaching children, environmental conservation, or construction projects.
    This website was created with the idea that everyone could help even from thousands of miles away. I have done conservation projects in the past and would like to do more for the world. There are many programs throughout the world which do projects that cost a fee to join and volunteer. These paid volunteer positions can often seem like a ridiculous concept; when was the last time you had to pay to volunteer? However, many of these programs use that money to buy school supplies, build buildings, and pay for the land of a conservation society. When the money goes to the right cause, it can go a long way.

    How do you know when your money is going to the right cause? That is always the trick. For that question I devised this website. This website is a personal log to my volunteer work overseas and in America. Every cent spent from this website will be listed on the website, when a trip is made there will be a constant uploading of photo’s and a trip report whenever internet is available. You can see where the money goes and how it is spent, who benefits, and the smiles on the faces of those you have helped. All money will go to the project only once arriving in the continent of where the project is located. This means I will be purchasing my own plane tickets and traveling to that continent from my home in Alaska.
    Now I do not want this site to be donations only where I ask for money and do not give anything of my own. I have decided on several things which I will give to help this project grow.

    1. The first will be 3% Of all Book Sales for the Alaska Rock Climbing Guidebook, which is a book that will be released in May 2008.

    2. I will sell different items that I own throughout the year. All the money earned from these items will go directly to the project.

    3. 80% of all photo sales from my personal photo site : Prezwoodz Photo’s

    If enough money is raised that there is enough to volunteer between 2 weeks and 1 month, then the rest may be used for sponsorship so that someone else may do a program of their choice. Nothing will go to waste. If only $5 is earned through this whole program then it will be spent purchasing school items for kids in Africa. Every penny will be used!

  • The Idea

    It seems to me that everyone I talk to at some point would love to go to another country and volunteer for a desired cause. Often it is teaching children, environmental conservation, or construction projects.
    This website was created with the idea that everyone could help even from thousands of miles away. I have done conservation projects in the past and would like to do more for the world. There are many programs throughout the world which do projects that cost a fee to join and volunteer. These paid volunteer positions can often seem like a ridiculous concept; when was the last time you had to pay to volunteer? However, many of these programs use that money to buy school supplies, build buildings, and pay for the land of a conservation society. When the money goes to the right cause, it can go a long way.
    How do you know when your money is going to the right cause? That is always the trick. For that question I devised this website. This website is a personal log to my volunteer work overseas and in America. Every cent spent from this website will be listed on the website, when a trip is made there will be a constant uploading of photo’s and a trip report whenever internet is available. You can see where the money goes and how it is spent, who benefits, and the smiles on the faces of those you have helped. All money will go to the project only once arriving in the continent of where the project is located. This means I will be purchasing my own plane tickets and traveling to that continent from my home in Alaska.
    Now I do not want this site to be donations only where I ask for money and do not give anything of my own. I have decided on several things which I will give to help this project grow.

    1. The first will be 3% Of all Book Sales for the Alaska Rock Climbing Guidebook, which is a book that will be released in May 2008.

    2. I will sell different items that I own throughout the year. All the money earned from these items will go directly to the project.

    3. 80% of all photo sales from my personal photo site : Prezwoodz Photo’s

    If enough money is raised that there is enough to volunteer between 2 weeks and 1 month, then the rest may be used for sponsorship so that someone else may do a program of their choice. Nothing will go to waste. If only $5 is earned through this whole program then it will be spent purchasing school items for kids in Africa. Every penny will be used!

  • The Idea

    It seems to me that everyone I talk to at some point would love to go to another country and volunteer for a desired cause. Often it is teaching children, environmental conservation, or construction projects.
    This website was created with the idea that everyone could help even from thousands of miles away. I have done conservation projects in the past and would like to do more for the world. There are many programs throughout the world which do projects that cost a fee to join and volunteer. These paid volunteer positions can often seem like a ridiculous concept; when was the last time you had to pay to volunteer? However, many of these programs use that money to buy school supplies, build buildings, and pay for the land of a conservation society. When the money goes to the right cause, it can go a long way.
    How do you know when your money is going to the right cause? That is always the trick. For that question I devised this website. This website is a personal log to my volunteer work overseas and in America. Every cent spent from this website will be listed on the website, when a trip is made there will be a constant uploading of photo’s and a trip report whenever internet is available. You can see where the money goes and how it is spent, who benefits, and the smiles on the faces of those you have helped. All money will go to the project only once arriving in the continent of where the project is located. This means I will be purchasing my own plane tickets and traveling to that continent from my home in Alaska.
    Now I do not want this site to be donations only where I ask for money and do not give anything of my own. I have decided on several things which I will give to help this project grow.

    1. The first will be 3% Of all Book Sales for the Alaska Rock Climbing Guidebook, which is a book that will be released in May 2008.

    2. I will sell different items that I own throughout the year. All the money earned from these items will go directly to the project.

    3. 80% of all photo sales from my personal photosite

    If enough money is raised that there is enough to volunteer between 2 weeks and 1 month, then the rest may be used for sponsorship so that someone else may do a program of their choice. Nothing will go to waste. If only $5 is earned through this whole program then it will be spent purchasing school items for kids in Africa. Every penny will be used!

  • The Idea

    It seems to me that everyone I talk to at some point would love to go to another country and volunteer for a desired cause. Often it is teaching children, environmental conservation, or construction projects.
    This website was created with the idea that everyone could help even from thousands of miles away. I have done conservation projects in the past and would like to do more for the world. There are many programs throughout the world which do projects that cost a fee to join and volunteer. These paid volunteer positions can often seem like a ridiculous concept; when was the last time you had to pay to volunteer? However, many of these programs use that money to buy school supplies, build buildings, and pay for the land of a conservation society. When the money goes to the right cause, it can go a long way.
    How do you know when your money is going to the right cause? That is always the trick. For that question I devised this website. This website is a personal log to my volunteer work overseas and in America. Every cent spent from this website will be listed on the website, when a trip is made there will be a constant uploading of photo’s and a trip report whenever internet is available. You can see where the money goes and how it is spent, who benefits, and the smiles on the faces of those you have helped. All money will go to the project only once arriving in the continent of where the project is located. This means I will be purchasing my own plane tickets and traveling to that continent from my home in Alaska.
    Now I do not want this site to be donations only where I ask for money and do not give anything of my own. I have decided on several things which I will give to help this project grow.

    1. The first will be 3% Of all Book Sales for the Alaska Rock Climbing Guidebook, which is a book that will be released in May 2008.

    2. I will sell different items that I own throughout the year. All the money earned from these items will go directly to the project.

    If enough money is raised that there is enough to volunteer between 2 weeks and 1 month, then the rest may be used for sponsorship so that someone else may do a program of their choice. Nothing will go to waste. If only $5 is earned through this whole program then it will be spent purchasing school items for kids in Africa. Every penny will be used!

  • Projects

    I will be heading to Malta and then Africa in December of 2009, this will be the first trip where I put this website and my ideas into action. I am very excited for this project!

    There are a great deal of projects in the world that could use assistance in all ways. I have just chosen a few to keep the confusion down. If you have a preferred project please let me know so I can look into it.

    travellerworldwide

    Ghana:  They have different programs in teaching music, computers, and football.

    Kenya: Care for Kids (Helping poor children in orphanages) and assisting Kenyan teachers are just a few of the options here.

  • Sunbox Cooker

    This simple invention has won an award for being the most “green” of many inventions which do not have corporate backing. They won the $75,000 prize to bring the invention to a larger scale. One thing which I liked about this competition is that it was not for concepts but for actual inventions which are in use. That means we can see whether or not it will work because its being used today!

    Full Story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7991654.stm

    There are other programs which have been using solar cookers for quite some time. One of the better groups is Solar Cookers International, who brings these solar cookers to people all over the world.

    http://solarcookers.org/about/history.html

  • Sunbox Cooker

    This simple invention has won an award for being the most “green” of many inventions which do not have corporate backing. They won the $75,000 prize to bring the invention to a larger scale. One thing which I liked about this competition is that it was not for concepts but for actual inventions which are in use. That means we can see whether or not it will work because its being used today!

    Full Story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7991654.stm

    There are other programs which have been using solar cookers for quite some time. One of the better groups is Solar Cookers International, who brings these solar cookers to people all over the world.

    http://solarcookers.org/about/history.html

  • News!

    Zimbabwe Aid

    Last modified on 2009-04-12 21:50:30 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

    The country of Zimbabwe is in trouble, big trouble. When a country starts printing trillion dollar bills for general circulation you know that the currency is collapsing. Thankfully they have been getting some new assistance and credit to help their situation. One can only hope that they are taking it as an opportunity to draft a real solution to the problem. It is nice to see a positive reaction to their aid call.

    Full Article: http://www.reuters.com/article/africaCrisis/idUSL8686434
    Secondary: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7995882.stm

    Sunbox Cooker

    Last modified on 2009-04-12 22:21:46 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

    This simple invention has won an award for being the most “green” of many inventions which do not have corporate backing. They won the $75,000 prize to bring the invention to a larger scale. One thing which I liked about this competition is that it was not for concepts but for actual inventions which are in use. That means we can see whether or not it will work because its being used today!

    Full Story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7991654.stm

    There are other programs which have been using solar cookers for quite some time. One of the better groups is Solar Cookers International, who brings these solar cookers to people all over the world.

    http://solarcookers.org/about/history.html

  • Sunbox Cooker

    This simple invention has won an award for being the most “green” of many inventions which do not have corporate backing. They won the $75,000 prize to bring the invention to a larger scale. One thing which I liked about this competition is that it was not for concepts but for actual inventions which are being used today. That means we can see whether or not it will work because its being used today!

    Full Story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7991654.stm

    There are other programs which have been using solar cookers for quite some time. One of the better groups is Solar Cookers International, who brings these solar cookers to people all over the world.

    http://solarcookers.org/about/history.html

  • Sunbox Cooker

    This simple invention has won an award for being the most “green” of many inventions which do not have corporate backing. They won the $75,000 prize to bring the invention to a larger scale. One thing which I liked about this competition is that it was not for concepts but for actual inventions which are being used today. That means we can see whether or not it will work because its being used today!

    Full Story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7991654.stm

    There are other programs which have been using solar cookers for quite some time. One of the better groups is Solar Cookers International, who brings these solar cookers to people all over the world.

    http://solarcookers.org/about/history.html

  • Sunbox Cooker

    This simple invention has won an award for being the most “green” of many inventions which do not have corporate backing. They won the $75,000 prize to bring the invention to a larger scale. One thing which I liked about this competition is that it was not for concepts but for actual inventions which are in use. That means we can see whether or not it will work because its being used today!

    Full Story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7991654.stm

    There are other programs which have been using solar cookers for quite some time. One of the better groups is Solar Cookers International, who brings these solar cookers to people all over the world.

    http://solarcookers.org/about/history.html

  • Sunbox Cooker

    This simple invention has won an award for being the most “green” of many inventions which do not have corporate backing. They won the $75,000 prize to bring the invention to a larger scale. One thing which I liked about this competition is that it was not for concepts but for actual inventions which are being used today. That means we can see whether or not it will work because its being used today!

    Full Story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7991654.stm

    There are other programs which have been using solar cookers for quite some time. One of the better groups is Solar Cookers International, who brings these solar cookers to people all over the world.

    http://solarcookers.org/about/history.html

  • Sunbox Cooker

    This simple invention has won an award for being the most “green” of many inventions which do not have corporate backing. They won the $75,000 prize to bring the invention to a larger scale. One thing which I liked about this competition is that it was not for concepts but for actual inventions which are being used today. That means we can see whether or not it will work because its being used today!

    Full Story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7991654.stm

    There are other programs which have been using solar cookers for quite some time. One of the better groups is Solar Cookers International, who brings these solar cookers to people all over t

  • Zimbabwe Aid

    The country of Zimbabwe is in trouble, big trouble. When a country starts printing trillion dollar bills for general circulation you know that the currency is collapsing. Thankfully they have been getting some new assistance and credit to help their situation. One can only hope that they are taking it as an opportunity to draft a real solution to the problem. It is nice to see a positive reaction to their aid call.

    Full Article: http://www.reuters.com/article/africaCrisis/idUSL8686434
    Secondary: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7995882.stm

  • Zimbabwe Aid

    The country of Zimbabwe is in trouble, big trouble. When a country starts printing trillion dollar bills for general circulation you know that the currency is collapsing. Thankfully they have been getting some new assistance and credit to help their situation. One can only hope that they are taking it as an opportunity to draft a real solution to the problem. It is nice to see a positive reaction to their aid call.

    Full Article: http://www.reuters.com/article/africaCrisis/idUSL8686434

  • Zimbabwe

    The country of Zimbabwe is in trouble, big trouble. When a country starts printing trillion dollar bills for general circulation you know that the currency is collapsing. Thankfully they have been getting some new assistance and credit to help their situation. One can only hope that they are taking it as an opportunity to draft a real solution to the problem. It is nice to see a positive reaction to their aid call.

    Full Article: http://www.reuters.com/article/africaCrisis/idUSL8686434

  • Zimbabwe

    The country of Zimbabwe is in trouble, big trouble. When a country starts printing trillion dollar bills for general circulation you know that the currency is collapsing. Thankfully they have been getting some new assistance and credit to help their situation. One can only hope that they are taking it as an opportunity to draft a real solution to the problem. It is nice to see a positive reaction to their aid call.

    Full Article: http://www.reuters.com/article/africaCrisis/idUSL8686434

  • Zimbabwe

    The country of Zimbabwe is in trouble, big trouble. When a country starts printing trillion dollar bills for general circulation you know that the currency is collapsing. Thankfully they have been getting some new assistance and credit to help their situation. One can only hope that they are taking it as an opportunity to draft a real solution to the problem. It is nice to see a positive reaction to their aid call.

    Full Article:

  • Zimbabwe

    The country of Zimbabwe is in trouble, big trouble. When a country starts printing trillion dollar bills for general circulation you know that the currency is collapsing. Thankfully they have been getting some new assistance and credit to help their situation. One can only hope that they are taking it as an opportunity to draft a real solution to the problem.

  • News!

    Zimbabwe Aid

    Last modified on 2009-04-12 21:50:30 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

    The country of Zimbabwe is in trouble, big trouble. When a country starts printing trillion dollar bills for general circulation you know that the currency is collapsing. Thankfully they have been getting some new assistance and credit to help their situation. One can only hope that they are taking it as an opportunity to draft a real solution to the problem. It is nice to see a positive reaction to their aid call.

    Full Article: http://www.reuters.com/article/africaCrisis/idUSL8686434
    Secondary: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7995882.stm

  • Zimbabwe Aid

    The country of Zimbabwe is in trouble, big trouble. When a country starts printing trillion dollar bills for general circulation you know that the currency is collapsing. Thankfully they have been getting some new assistance and credit to help their situation. One can only hope that they are taking it as an opportunity to draft a real solution to the problem. It is nice to see a positive reaction to their aid call.

    Full Article: http://www.reuters.com/article/africaCrisis/idUSL8686434
    Secondary: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7995882.stm

  • Jungles are Disappearing

    Please help Everyway Possible

  • Jungles are Disappearing

    Please help Everyway Possible

  • News!

  • News!

  • Donating

    Everything will be used for the project only, if you are curious what the money is going to then visit the page Expenses. Everything is very appreciated and there are several ways to help.

    1. Donate via Paypal, it’s easy and painless.

    2. Have some items just clogging up the house? Sell them and donate some to the project!

    3. Leave a comment and let me know what you think, money isn’t the only way to help!

  • Donating

    Everything will be used for the project only, if you are curious what the money is going to then visit the page Expenses. Everything is very appreciated and there are several ways to help.

    1. Donate via Paypal, it’s easy and painless.

    2. Have some items just clogging up the house? Sell them and donate some to the project!

    3. Leave a comment and let me know what you think, money isn’t the only way to help!

  • Projects

    There are a great deal of projects in the world that could use assistance in all ways. I have just chosen a few to keep the confusion down. If you have a preferred project please let me know so I can look into it.

    travellerworldwide

    Ghana:  They have different programs in teaching music, computers, and football.

    Kenya: Care for Kids (Helping poor children in orphanages) and assisting Kenyan teachers are just a few of the options here.

  • Projects

    There are a great deal of projects in the world that could use assistance in all ways. I have just chosen a few to keep the confusion down. If you have a preferred project please let me know so I can look into it.

    travellerworldwide

    Ghana:  They have different programs in teaching music, computers, and football.

    Kenya: Care for Kids (Helping poor children in orphanages) and assisting Kenyan teachers are just a few of the options here.

  • Projects

    There are a great deal of projects in the world that could use assistance in all ways. I have just chosen a few to keep the confusion down. If you have a preferred project please let me know so I can look into it.

    travellerworldwide Travellers Worldwide has a great assortment of programs from teaching English to sports.  Here are a few of the programs:

    Ghana:  They have different programs in teaching music, computers, and football.

    Kenya: Care for Kids (Helping poor children in orphanages) and assisting Kenyan teachers are just a few of the options here.

  • travellerworldwide

  • News!

  • News!

    The Backpack

    Last modified on 2009-04-30 17:28:30 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

    I wanted a small backpack to take on the Africa trip with me. I have chosen a backpack to make this attempt with that is only 2000 cubic inches. The Mountain Hardware Paladin

    http://mountainhardwear.com/Product.aspx?top=1625&prod=2931&cat=1655&viewAll=False

    Now the test comes in trying to actually fit everything into it. I have also bought a smaller backpack. They are always nice to have for day use when you want to leave your larger pack behind. The REI Flash 18:

    http://www.rei.com/product/778466

    This is a great pack with no internal frame. It still has both a chest and waist loop but rolls up into a ball about the size of my fist. That is great when trying to get size down!

    On the Radio!

    Last modified on 2009-04-21 18:28:38 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

    I will be on KNBA - Alaska on Monday the 27th of April to promote the new Alaska Rock Climbing Guidebook. This is the same day that I will be at University of Alaska Anchorage to do a book signing. If everything goes well then hopefully the book will sell well!

    Zimbabwe Aid

    Last modified on 2009-04-12 21:50:30 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

    The country of Zimbabwe is in trouble, big trouble. When a country starts printing trillion dollar bills for general circulation you know that the currency is collapsing. Thankfully they have been getting some new assistance and credit to help their situation. One can only hope that they are taking it as an opportunity to draft a real solution to the problem. It is nice to see a positive reaction to their aid call.

    Full Article: http://www.reuters.com/article/africaCrisis/idUSL8686434
    Secondary: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7995882.stm

    Sunbox Cooker

    Last modified on 2009-04-12 22:21:46 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

    This simple invention has won an award for being the most “green” of many inventions which do not have corporate backing. They won the $75,000 prize to bring the invention to a larger scale. One thing which I liked about this competition is that it was not for concepts but for actual inventions which are in use. That means we can see whether or not it will work because its being used today!

    Full Story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7991654.stm

    There are other programs which have been using solar cookers for quite some time. One of the better groups is Solar Cookers International, who brings these solar cookers to people all over the world.

    http://solarcookers.org/about/history.html

  • News!

  • News!

  • Thank you for visiting my website. This site was built after I watched the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Anchorage, Alaska. There was a film titled The Last Nomads that had a lasting effect on me. This man (Ian Mackenzie), who is a linguist, has made such a large impression on these people and I wanted to make an impact as well. This website is my first step, step two is going out and making the difference.

    I hope you enjoy your visit to this site, If you have more questions about the project here please see The Idea.

    Thank you!

    Kelsey Gray
    442411548_h2iku-m

  • Thank you for visiting my website. This site was built after I watched the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Anchorage, Alaska. There was a film titled The Last Nomads that had a lasting effect on me. This man (Ian Mackenzie), who is a linguist, has made such a large impression on these people and I wanted to make an impact as well. This website is my first step, step two is going out and making the difference.

    I hope you enjoy your visit to this site, If you have more questions about the project here please see The Idea.

    Thank you!

    Kelsey Gray
    442411548_h2iku-m

  • 442411548_h2iku-m

  • Thank you for visiting my website. This site was built after I watched the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Anchorage, Alaska. There was a film titled The Last Nomads that had a lasting effect on me. This man (Ian Mackenzie), who is a linguist, has made such a large impression on these people and I wanted to make an impact as well. This website is my first step, step two is going out and making the difference.

    I hope you enjoy your visit to this site, If you have more questions about the project here please see The Idea.

    Thank you!

    Kelsey Gray

  • Thank you for visiting my website. This site was built after I watched the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Anchorage, Alaska. There was a film titled The Last Nomads that had a lasting effect on me. This man (Ian Mackenzie), who is a linguist, has made such a large impression on these people and I wanted to make an impact as well. This website is my first step, step two is going out and making the difference.

  • This is the new homepage, work!
    monkey

  • monkey

  • This is the new homepage, work!
    tiger4

  • tiger4

  • tiger3

  • This is the new homepage, work!
    tiger2

  • tiger2

  • This is the new homepage, work!
    tiger1

  • tiger1

  • tiger

  • This is the new homepage, work!

  • Home

    This is the new homepage, work!

  • Thank you for visiting my website. This site was built after I watched the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Anchorage, Alaska. There was a film titled The Last Nomads that had a lasting effect on me. This man (Ian Mackenzie), who is a linguist, has made such a large impression on these people and I wanted to make an impact as well. This website is my first step, step two is going out and making the difference.

    I hope you enjoy your visit to this site, If you have more questions about the project here please see The Idea.

    Thank you!

    Kelsey Gray
    442411548_h2iku-m

  • Home

  • Donating

    Everything will be used for the project only, if you are curious what the money is going to then visit the page Expenses. Everything is very appreciated and there are several ways to help.

    1. Donate via Paypal, it’s easy and painless.

    2. Have some items just clogging up the house? Sell them and donate some to the project!

    3. Leave a comment and let me know what you think, money isn’t the only way to help!

  • Projects

    I will be heading to Malta and then Africa in December of 2009, this will be the first trip where I put this website and my ideas into action. I am very excited for this project!

    There are a great deal of projects in the world that could use assistance in all ways. I have just chosen a few to keep the confusion down. If you have a preferred project please let me know so I can look into it.

    travellerworldwide

    Ghana:  They have different programs in teaching music, computers, and football.

    Kenya: Care for Kids (Helping poor children in orphanages) and assisting Kenyan teachers are just a few of the options here.


    africanimpact Zimbabwe: African Lion Rehabilitation and Conservation.

    Tanzania: Volunteer teaching and building projects.

  • Projects

    There are a great deal of projects in the world that could use assistance in all ways. I have just chosen a few to keep the confusion down. If you have a preferred project please let me know so I can look into it.

  • Projects

    There are a great deal of projects in the world that could use assistance in all ways. I have just chosen a few to keep the confusion down. If you have a preferred project please let me know

  • Trip Reports

    To keep up with me and those who are following a similar path check up here!

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala and volunteered at ARCAS (http://www.arcasguatemala.com/),

    I decided that to take my mind a bit off of the face that I was still seeing in every window and glittering back at me from the lake. I needed to work, I needed to get my hands dirty and to get some pain back into my much to relaxed body. I volunteered. On the boat ride toward the ARCAS Conservation center I was not sure what to expect. The cool breeze of lake Peten Itza was refreshing and the water seemed eerily calm. As I would find my stay would be anything but calm. I was put to work right away, everyone spoke English except for one of the workers so it didn’t seem as though I would have any problem figuring out what to do. Just lots of questions asked that make me feel dumb but smarter at the same time, its a wonderful circle. My new boss who’s name I am about to butcher, Alejandro, told me to go work with the birds. The only person in the cages who didn’t speak any English, it was a great start. I remembered the body movements of the lady at the bus station well, I was seeing them again the face had changed and as he pointed in the direction of things I had done wrong I was amazed that this language worked with everyone.

    We had to feed the animals at 7am,11am and 2pm. This time was called “the feed” as was coincidentally the eating of the volunteers. We were fed by one lady who had an enormous workload of food and cooked wonderfully. I watched as we all dug deep into our plates, at least I don’t have to feed this group of monkeys. The week went well, I learned the language a bit and got yelled at even less. I played with scorpions, Tarantulas, and fed all the animals. I would write more but I am about to go watch a movie in a little cafe in Flores, Guatemala. Life is weird sometimes. I could come back and wrote more in this later…but one never can tell.

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala and volunteered at ARCAS (http://www.arcasguatemala.com/),

    I decided that to take my mind a bit off of the face that I was still seeing in every window and glittering back at me from the lake. I needed to work, I needed to get my hands dirty and to get some pain back into my much to relaxed body. I volunteered. On the boat ride toward the ARCAS Conservation center I was not sure what to expect. The cool breeze of lake Peten Itza was refreshing and the water seemed eerily calm. As I would find my stay would be anything but calm. I was put to work right away, everyone spoke English except for one of the workers so it didn’t seem as though I would have any problem figuring out what to do. Just lots of questions asked that make me feel dumb but smarter at the same time, its a wonderful circle. My new boss who’s name I am about to butcher, Alejandro, told me to go work with the birds. The only person in the cages who didn’t speak any English, it was a great start. I remembered the body movements of the lady at the bus station well, I was seeing them again the face had changed and as he pointed in the direction of things I had done wrong I was amazed that this language worked with everyone.

    We had to feed the animals at 7am,11am and 2pm. This time was called “the feed” as was coincidentally the eating of the volunteers. We were fed by one lady who had an enormous workload of food and cooked wonderfully. I watched as we all dug deep into our plates, at least I don’t have to feed this group of monkeys. The week went well, I learned the language a bit and got yelled at even less. I played with scorpions, Tarantulas, and fed all the animals. I would write more but I am about to go watch a movie in a little cafe in Flores, Guatemala. Life is weird sometimes. I could come back and wrote more in this later…but one never can tell.

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala and volunteered at ARCAS (http://www.arcasguatemala.com/),

    I decided that to take my mind a bit off of the face that I was still seeing in every window and glittering back at me from the lake. I needed to work, I needed to get my hands dirty and to get some pain back into my much to relaxed body. I volunteered. On the boat ride toward the ARCAS Conservation center I was not sure what to expect. The cool breeze of lake Peten Itza was refreshing and the water seemed eerily calm. As I would find my stay would be anything but calm. I was put to work right away, everyone spoke English except for one of the workers so it didn’t seem as though I would have any problem figuring out what to do. Just lots of questions asked that make me feel dumb but smarter at the same time, its a wonderful circle. My new boss who’s name I am about to butcher, Alejandro, told me to go work with the birds. The only person in the cages who didn’t speak any English, it was a great start. I remembered the body movements of the lady at the bus station well, I was seeing them again the face had changed and as he pointed in the direction of things I had done wrong I was amazed that this language worked with everyone.

    We had to feed the animals at 7am,11am and 2pm. This time was called “the feed” as was coincidentally the eating of the volunteers. We were fed by one lady who had an enormous workload of food and cooked wonderfully. I watched as we all dug deep into our plates, at least I don’t have to feed this group of monkeys. The week went well, I learned the language a bit and got yelled at even less. I played with scorpions, Tarantulas, and fed all the animals. I would write more but I am about to go watch a movie in a little cafe in Flores, Guatemala. Life is weird sometimes. I could come back and wrote more in this later…but one never can tell.

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala and volunteered at ARCAS (http://www.arcasguatemala.com/),

    I decided that to take my mind a bit off of the face that I was still seeing in every window and glittering back at me from the lake. I needed to work, I needed to get my hands dirty and to get some pain back into my much to relaxed body. I volunteered. On the boat ride toward the ARCAS Conservation center I was not sure what to expect. The cool breeze of lake Peten Itza was refreshing and the water seemed eerily calm. As I would find my stay would be anything but calm. I was put to work right away, everyone spoke English except for one of the workers so it didn’t seem as though I would have any problem figuring out what to do. Just lots of questions asked that make me feel dumb but smarter at the same time, its a wonderful circle. My new boss who’s name I am about to butcher, Alejandro, told me to go work with the birds. The only person in the cages who didn’t speak any English, it was a great start. I remembered the body movements of the lady at the bus station well, I was seeing them again the face had changed and as he pointed in the direction of things I had done wrong I was amazed that this language worked with everyone.

    We had to feed the animals at 7am,11am and 2pm. This time was called “the feed” as was coincidentally the eating of the volunteers. We were fed by one lady who had an enormous workload of food and cooked wonderfully. I watched as we all dug deep into our plates, at least I don’t have to feed this group of monkeys. The week went well, I learned the language a bit and got yelled at even less. I played with scorpions, Tarantulas, and fed all the animals. I would write more but I am about to go watch a movie in a little cafe in Flores, Guatemala. Life is weird sometimes. I could come back and wrote more in this later…but one never can tell.

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala and volunteered at ARCAS (http://www.arcasguatemala.com/),

    I decided that to take my mind a bit off of the face that I was still seeing in every window and glittering back at me from the lake. I needed to work, I needed to get my hands dirty and to get some pain back into my much to relaxed body. I volunteered. On the boat ride toward the ARCAS Conservation center I was not sure what to expect. The cool breeze of lake Peten Itza was refreshing and the water seemed eerily calm. As I would find my stay would be anything but calm. I was put to work right away, everyone spoke English except for one of the workers so it didn’t seem as though I would have any problem figuring out what to do. Just lots of questions asked that make me feel dumb but smarter at the same time, its a wonderful circle. My new boss who’s name I am about to butcher, Alejandro, told me to go work with the birds. The only person in the cages who didn’t speak any English, it was a great start. I remembered the body movements of the lady at the bus station well, I was seeing them again the face had changed and as he pointed in the direction of things I had done wrong I was amazed that this language worked with everyone.

    We had to feed the animals at 7am,11am and 2pm. This time was called “the feed” as was coincidentally the eating of the volunteers. We were fed by one lady who had an enormous workload of food and cooked wonderfully. I watched as we all dug deep into our plates, at least I don’t have to feed this group of monkeys. The week went well, I learned the language a bit and got yelled at even less. I played with scorpions, Tarantulas, and fed all the animals. I would write more but I am about to go watch a movie in a little cafe in Flores, Guatemala. Life is weird sometimes. I could come back and wrote more in this later…but one never can tell.

  • Trip Reports

    To keep up with me and those who are following a similar path check up here!

  • Trips Reports

    To keep up with me and those who are following a similar path check up here!

  • Trips Reports

  • Expenses

    There currently have not been any expenses. Anything spent will be listed below!

  • Expenses

    There currently have not been any ex

  • Donating

    Everything will be used for the project only, if you are curious what the money is going to then visit the page Expenses. Everything is very appreciated and there are several ways to help.

    1. Donate via Paypal, it’s easy and painless. There is a donate button on the upper right of the website.

    2. Have some items just clogging up the house? Sell them and donate some to the project!

    3. Leave a comment and let me know what you think, money isn’t the only way to help!

  • Donating

    Everything will be used for the project only, if you are curious what the money is going to then visit the page Expenses. Everything is very appreciated and there are several ways to help.

    1. Donate via Paypal, it’s easy and painless.

    2. Have some items just clogging up the house? Sell them and donate some to the project!

    3. Leave a comment and let me know what you think, money isn’t the only way to help!

  • Donating

    Everything will be used for the project only, if you are curious what the money is going to then visit the page Expenses. Everything is very appreciated and there are several ways to help.

    1. Donate via Paypal, it’s easy and painless.

    2. Have something to sell? Sell it

  • The Idea

    It seems to me that everyone I talk to at some point would love to go to another country and volunteer for a desired cause. Often it is teaching children, environmental conservation, or construction projects.
    This website was created with the idea that everyone could help even from thousands of miles away. I have done conservation projects in the past and would like to do more for the world. There are many programs throughout the world which do projects that cost a fee to join and volunteer. These paid volunteer positions can often seem like a ridiculous concept; when was the last time you had to pay to volunteer? However, many of these programs use that money to buy school supplies, build buildings, and pay for the land of a conservation society. When the money goes to the right cause, it can go a long way.

    How do you know when your money is going to the right cause? That is always the trick. For that question I devised this website. This website is a personal log to my volunteer work overseas and in America. Every cent spent from this website will be listed on the website, when a trip is made there will be a constant uploading of photo’s and a trip report whenever internet is available. You can see where the money goes and how it is spent, who benefits, and the smiles on the faces of those you have helped. All money will go to the project only once arriving in the continent of where the project is located. This means I will be purchasing my own plane tickets and traveling to that continent from my home in Alaska.
    Now I do not want this site to be donations only where I ask for money and do not give anything of my own. I have decided on several things which I will give to help this project grow.

    1. The first will be 3% Of all Book Sales for the Alaska Rock Climbing Guidebook, which is a book that will be released in May 2009.

    2. I will sell different items that I own throughout the year. All the money earned from these items will go directly to the project.

    3. 80% of all photo sales from my personal photo site : Prezwoodz Photo’s

    If enough money is raised that there is enough to volunteer between 2 weeks and 1 month, then the rest may be used for sponsorship so that someone else may do a program of their choice. Nothing will go to waste. If only $5 is earned through this whole program then it will be spent purchasing school items for kids in Africa. Every penny will be used!

  • The Idea

    It seems to me that everyone I talk to at some point would love to go to another country and volunteer for a desired cause. Often it is teaching children, environmental conservation, or construction projects.

    This website was created with the idea that everyone could help even from thousands of miles away. I have done conservation projects in the past and would like to do more for the world. There are many programs throughout the world which do projects that cost a fee to join and volunteer. These paid volunteer positions can often seem like a ridiculous concept; when was the last time you had to pay to volunteer? However, many of these programs use that money to buy school supplies, build buildings, and pay for the land of a conservation society. When the money goes to the right cause, it can go a long way.

    How do you know when your money is going to the right cause? That is always the trick. For that question I devised this website. This website is a personal log to my volunteer work overseas and in America. Every cent spent from this website will be listed on the website, when a trip is made there will be a constant uploading of photo’s and a trip report whenever internet is available. You can see where the money goes and how it is spent, who benefits, and the smiles on the faces of those you have helped. All money will go to the project only once arriving in the continent of where the the project is located. This means I will be purchasing my own plane tickets and travel to that continent from my home in Alaska.

    Now I do not want this site to be donations only where I ask for money and do not give anything of my own. I have decided on several things which I will give to help this project grow.

    1. The first will be 3% Of all Book Sales for the Alaska Rock Climbing Guidebook, which is a book that will be released in May 2008.

    2. I will sell different items that I own throughout the year. All the money earned from these items will go directly to the project.

    If enough money is raised that there is enough to volunteer between 2 weeks and 1 month, then the rest may be used for sponsorship so that someone else may do a program of their choice. Nothing will go to waste. If only $5 is earned through this whole program then it will be spent purchasing school items for kids in Africa. Every penny will be used!

  • The Idea

    It seems to me that everyone I talk to at some point would love to go to another country and volunteer for a desired cause. Often it is teaching children, environmental conservation, or construction projects.

    This website was created with the idea that everyone could help even from thousands of miles away. I have done conservation projects in the past and would like to do more for the world. There are many programs throughout the world which do projects that cost a fee to join and volunteer. These paid volunteer positions can often seem like a ridiculous concept; when was the last time you had to pay to volunteer? However, many of these programs use that money to buy school supplies, build buildings, and pay for the land of a conservation society. When the money goes to the right cause, it can go a long way.

    How do you know when your money is going to the right cause? That is always the trick. For that question I devised this website. This website is a personal log to my volunteer work overseas and in America. Every cent spent from this website will be listed on the website, when a trip is made there will be a constant uploading of photo’s and a trip report whenever internet is available. You can see where the money goes and how it is spent, who benefits, and the smiles on the faces of those you have helped. All money will go to the project only once arriving in the continent of where the the project is located. This means I will be purchasing my own plane tickets and travel to that continent from my home in Alaska.

    Now I do not want this site to be donations only where I ask for money and do not give anything of my own. I have decided on several things which I will give to help this project grow.

    1. The first will be 3% Of all Book Sales for the Alaska Rock Climbing Guidebook, which is a book that will be released in May 2008.

    2. I will sell different items that I own throughout the year. All the money earned from these items will go directly to the project.

    If enough money is raised that there is enough to volunteer between 2 weeks and 1 month, then the rest may be used for sponsorship so that someone else may do a program of their choice. Nothing will go to waste. If only $5 is earned through this whole program then it will be spent purchasing pencil

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala and volunteered at ARCAS (http://www.arcasguatemala.com/),

    I decided that to take my mind a bit off of the face that I was still seeing in every window and glittering back at me from the lake. I needed to work, I needed to get my hands dirty and to get some pain back into my much to relaxed body. I volunteered. On the boat ride toward the ARCAS Conservation center I was not sure what to expect. The cool breeze of lake Peten Itza was refreshing and the water seemed eerily calm. As I would find my stay would be anything but calm. I was put to work right away, everyone spoke English except for one of the workers so it didn’t seem as though I would have any problem figuring out what to do. Just lots of questions asked that make me feel dumb but smarter at the same time, its a wonderful circle. My new boss who’s name I am about to butcher, Alejandro, told me to go work with the birds. The only person in the cages who didn’t speak any English, it was a great start. I remembered the body movements of the lady at the bus station well, I was seeing them again the face had changed and as he pointed in the direction of things I had done wrong I was amazed that this language worked with everyone.

    We had to feed the animals at 7am,11am and 2pm. This time was called “the feed” as was coincidentally the eating of the volunteers. We were fed by one lady who had an enormous workload of food and cooked wonderfully. I watched as we all dug deep into our plates, at least I don’t have to feed this group of monkeys. The week went well, I learned the language a bit and got yelled at even less. I played with scorpions, Tarantulas, and fed all the animals. I would write more but I am about to go watch a movie in a little cafe in Flores, Guatemala. Life is weird sometimes. I could come back and wrote more in this later…but one never can tell.

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala and volunteered at ARCAS,

    I decided that to take my mind a bit off of the face that I was still seeing in every window and glittering back at me from the lake. I needed to work, I needed to get my hands dirty and to get some pain back into my much to relaxed body. I volunteered. On the boat ride toward the ARCAS Conservation center I was not sure what to expect. The cool breeze of lake Peten Itza was refreshing and the water seemed eerily calm. As I would find my stay would be anything but calm. I was put to work right away, everyone spoke English except for one of the workers so it didn’t seem as though I would have any problem figuring out what to do. Just lots of questions asked that make me feel dumb but smarter at the same time, its a wonderful circle. My new boss who’s name I am about to butcher, Alejandro, told me to go work with the birds. The only person in the cages who didn’t speak any English, it was a great start. I remembered the body movements of the lady at the bus station well, I was seeing them again the face had changed and as he pointed in the direction of things I had done wrong I was amazed that this language worked with everyone.

    We had to feed the animals at 7am,11am and 2pm. This time was called “the feed” as was coincidentally the eating of the volunteers. We were fed by one lady who had an enormous workload of food and cooked wonderfully. I watched as we all dug deep into our plates, at least I don’t have to feed this group of monkeys. The week went well, I learned the language a bit and got yelled at even less. I played with scorpions, Tarantulas, and fed all the animals. I would write more but I am about to go watch a movie in a little cafe in Flores, Guatemala. Life is weird sometimes. I could come back and wrote more in this later…but one never can tell.

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala and volunteered at ARCAS,

    I decided that to take my mind a bit off of the face that I was still seeing in every window and glittering back at me from the lake. I needed to work, I needed to get my hands dirty and to get some pain back into my much to relaxed body. I volunteered. On the boat ride toward the ARCAS Conservation center I was not sure what to expect. The cool breeze of lake Peten Itza was refreshing and the water seemed eerily calm. As I would find my stay would be anything but calm. I was put to work right away, everyone spoke English except for one of the workers so it didn’t seem as though I would have any problem figuring out what to do. Just lots of questions asked that make me feel dumb but smarter at the same time, its a wonderful circle. My new boss who’s name I am about to butcher, Alejandro, told me to go work with the birds. The only person in the cages who didn’t speak any English, it was a great start. I remembered the body movements of the lady at the bus station well, I was seeing them again the face had changed and as he pointed in the direction of things I had done wrong I was amazed that this language worked with everyone.

    We had to feed the animals at 7am,11am and 2pm. This time was called “the feed” as was coincidentally the eating of the volunteers. We were fed by one lady who had an enormous workload of food and cooked wonderfully. I watched as we all dug deep into our plates, at least I don’t have to feed this group of monkeys. The week went well, I learned the language a bit and got yelled at even less. I played with scorpions, Tarantulas, and fed all the animals. I would write more but I am about to go watch a movie in a little cafe in Flores, Guatemala. Life is weird sometimes. I could come back and wrote more in this later…but one never can tell.

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala and volunteered at ARCAS,

    I decided that to take my mind a bit off of the face that I was still seeing in every window and glittering back at me from the lake. I needed to work, I needed to get my hands dirty and to get some pain back into my much to relaxed body. I volunteered. On the boat ride toward the ARCAS Conservation center I was not sure what to expect. The cool breeze of lake Peten Itza was refreshing and the water seemed eerily calm. As I would find my stay would be anything but calm. I was put to work right away, everyone spoke English except for one of the workers so it didn’t seem as though I would have any problem figuring out what to do. Just lots of questions asked that make me feel dumb but smarter at the same time, its a wonderful circle. My new boss who’s name I am about to butcher, Alejandro, told me to go work with the birds. The only person in the cages who didn’t speak any English, it was a great start. I remembered the body movements of the lady at the bus station well, I was seeing them again the face had changed and as he pointed in the direction of things I had done wrong I was amazed that this language worked with everyone.

    We had to feed the animals at 7am,11am and 2pm. This time was called “the feed” as was coincidentally the eating of the volunteers. We were fed by one lady who had an enormous workload of food and cooked wonderfully. I watched as we all dug deep into our plates, at least I don’t have to feed this group of monkeys. The week went well, I learned the language a bit and got yelled at even less. I played with scorpions, Tarantulas, and fed all the animals. I would write more but I am about to go watch a movie in a little cafe in Flores, Guatemala. Life is weird sometimes. I could come back and wrote more in this later…but one never can tell.

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala and volunteered at ARCAS,

    I decided that to take my mind a bit off of the face that I was still seeing in every window and glittering back at me from the lake. I needed to work, I needed to get my hands dirty and to get some pain back into my much to relaxed body. I volunteered. On the boat ride toward the ARCAS Conservation center I was not sure what to expect. The cool breeze of lake Peten Itza was refreshing and the water seemed eerily calm. As I would find my stay would be anything but calm. I was put to work right away, everyone spoke English except for one of the workers so it didn’t seem as though I would have any problem figuring out what to do. Just lots of questions asked that make me feel dumb but smarter at the same time, its a wonderful circle. My new boss who’s name I am about to butcher, Alejandro, told me to go work with the birds. The only person in the cages who didn’t speak any English, it was a great start. I remembered the body movements of the lady at the bus station well, I was seeing them again the face had changed and as he pointed in the direction of things I had done wrong I was amazed that this language worked with everyone.

    We had to feed the animals at 7am,11am and 2pm. This time was called “the feed” as was coincidentally the eating of the volunteers. We were fed by one lady who had an enormous workload of food and cooked wonderfully. I watched as we all dug deep into our plates, at least I don’t have to feed this group of monkeys. The week went well, I learned the language a bit and got yelled at even less. I played with scorpions, Tarantulas, and fed all the animals. I would write more but I am about to go watch a movie in a little cafe in Flores, Guatemala. Life is weird sometimes. I could come back and wrote more in this later…but one never can tell.

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala and volunteered at ARCAS,

    I decided that to take my mind a bit off of the face that I was still seeing in every window and glittering back at me from the lake. I needed to work, I needed to get my hands dirty and to get some pain back into my much to relaxed body. I volunteered. On the boat ride toward the ARCAS Conservation center I was not sure what to expect. The cool breeze of lake Peten Itza was refreshing and the water seemed eerily calm. As I would find my stay would be anything but calm. I was put to work right away, everyone spoke English except for one of the workers so it didn’t seem as though I would have any problem figuring out what to do. Just lots of questions asked that make me feel dumb but smarter at the same time, its a wonderful circle. My new boss who’s name I am about to butcher, Alejandro, told me to go work with the birds. The only person in the cages who didn’t speak any English, it was a great start. I remembered the body movements of the lady at the bus station well, I was seeing them again the face had changed and as he pointed in the direction of things I had done wrong I was amazed that this language worked with everyone.

    We had to feed the animals at 7am,11am and 2pm. This time was called “the feed” as was coincidentally the eating of the volunteers. We were fed by one lady who had an enormous workload of food and cooked wonderfully. I watched as we all dug deep into our plates, at least I don’t have to feed this group of monkeys. The week went well, I learned the language a bit and got yelled at even less. I played with scorpions, Tarantulas, and fed all the animals. I would write more but I am about to go watch a movie in a little cafe in Flores, Guatemala. Life is weird sometimes. I could come back and wrote more in this later…but one never can tell.

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala with the hopes of finding some colorful street items. I knew that Guatemala was known for its color and I intended to see it! After spending some time in Flores I decided to help with animals and

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala with the hopes of finding some colorful street items. I knew that Guatemala was known for its color and I intended to see it! After spending some time in Flores I decided to help with animals and

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala with the hopes of finding some colorful street items. I knew that Guatemala was known for its color and I intended to see it! After spending some time in Flores I decided to help with animals and

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala with the hopes of finding some colorful street items. I knew that Guatemala was known for its color and I intended to see it! After spending some time in Flores I decided to help with animals and

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala with the hopes of finding some colorful street items. I knew that Guatemala was known for its color and I intended to see it! After spending some time in Flores I decided to help with animals and

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala with the hopes of finding some colorful street items. I knew that Guatemala was known for its color and I intended to see it! After spending some time in Flores I decided to help with animals and

    Guatemala

    Photos!

    • Lake Peten Itza
    • Kelsey Gray, Lake Peten Itza
    • Me Again
    • The Lake from a locals house, taken by Caroline!
    • A boat dock in Flores
    • Looking for a tarantula
    • Toucan!
    • Jaguar
    • Baby Alligators
    • Baby Alligators
    • Colorful Parrots
    • Baby Monkeys
    • Arrrg! Monkey
    • Reaching for help
    • Hanging on despite all the challenges
    • Life in the palm of my hand
    • A Kinkajou!
    • More Toucan
    • Skiddish Scoripon
    • Scorpion
    • Tarantula!
    • The Honey Bear, Kinkajou, This is me with one of the animals. I actually still feel bad for allowing this animal to crawl on me for this photo. Its not a good idea and shouldn't be done.
    • Cleaning the alligator cage!
    • testing my luck with alligators
    • Ocelots!
    • My home in ARCAS
    • Paul and Winky!
    • Flores, Guatemala
    • Lake Peten Itza
    • Sunset
    • The Ride back to ARCAS
    • Kelsey Gray's photo

    View photos at SmugMug

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala with the hopes of finding some colorful street items. I knew that Guatemala was known for its color and I intended to see it! After spending some time in Flores I decided to help with animals and

    Guatemala

    2008

    • Lake Peten Itza
    • Kelsey Gray, Lake Peten Itza
    • Me Again
    • The Lake from a locals house, taken by Caroline!
    • A boat dock in Flores
    • Looking for a tarantula
    • Toucan!
    • Jaguar
    • Baby Alligators
    • Baby Alligators
    • Colorful Parrots
    • Baby Monkeys
    • Arrrg! Monkey
    • Reaching for help
    • Hanging on despite all the challenges
    • Life in the palm of my hand
    • A Kinkajou!
    • More Toucan
    • Skiddish Scoripon
    • Scorpion
    • Tarantula!
    • The Honey Bear, Kinkajou, This is me with one of the animals. I actually still feel bad for allowing this animal to crawl on me for this photo. Its not a good idea and shouldn't be done.
    • Cleaning the alligator cage!
    • testing my luck with alligators
    • Ocelots!
    • My home in ARCAS
    • Paul and Winky!
    • Flores, Guatemala
    • Lake Peten Itza
    • Sunset
    • The Ride back to ARCAS
    • Kelsey Gray's photo

    View photos at SmugMug

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala with the hopes of finding some colorful street items. I knew that Guatemala was known for its color and I intended to see it! After spending some time in Flores I decided to help with animals and

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala with the hopes of finding some colorful street items. I knew that Guatemala was known for its color and I intended to see it! After spending some time in Flores I decided to help with animals and

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala with the hopes of finding some colorful street items. I knew that Guatemala was known for its color and I intended to see it! After spending some time in Flores I decided to help with animals and

  • Guatemala

    This is quite the problem. Why doesn’t it work?

  • Guatemala

    What is ARCAS?

    ARCAS is a non-profit Guatemalan NGO formed in 1989 by a group of Guatemalan citizens who became concerned as they saw their precious natural heritage - especially their wildlife - rapidly disappearing before their eyes.
    It was originally created for a very specific and urgent purpose: to build a rescue center to care for and rehabilitate wild animals that were being confiscated on the black market by the Guatemalan government.
    Since its establishment, the ARCAS Rescue Center has grown into one of the largest and most complex rescue centers in the world, receiving between 300 and 600 animals of more than 40 species per year.

    In 2008 I went to Guatemala and volunteered at ARCAS (http://www.arcasguatemala.com/),

    I decided that to take my mind a bit off of the face that I was still seeing in every window and glittering back at me from the lake. I needed to work, I needed to get my hands dirty and to get some pain back into my much to relaxed body. I volunteered. On the boat ride toward the ARCAS Conservation center I was not sure what to expect. The cool breeze of lake Peten Itza was refreshing and the water seemed eerily calm. As I would find my stay would be anything but calm. I was put to work right away, everyone spoke English except for one of the workers so it didn’t seem as though I would have any problem figuring out what to do. Just lots of questions asked that make me feel dumb but smarter at the same time, its a wonderful circle. My new boss who’s name I am about to butcher, Alejandro, told me to go work with the birds. The only person in the cages who didn’t speak any English, it was a great start. I remembered the body movements of the lady at the bus station well, I was seeing them again the face had changed and as he pointed in the direction of things I had done wrong I was amazed that this language worked with everyone.

    We had to feed the animals at 7am,11am and 2pm. This time was called “the feed” as was coincidentally the eating of the volunteers. We were fed by one lady who had an enormous workload of food and cooked wonderfully. I watched as we all dug deep into our plates, at least I don’t have to feed this group of monkeys. The week went well, I learned the language a bit and got yelled at even less. I played with scorpions, Tarantulas, and fed all the animals. I would write more but I am about to go watch a movie in a little cafe in Flores, Guatemala. Life is weird sometimes. I could come back and wrote more in this later…but one never can tell.

  • New Post

    This is quite the problem. Why doesn’t it work?

  • New Post