I was supposed to be shuttling someone up to Coldfoot this morning, so I was up early packing snacks and busting out the little used iron. Just as I was gathering things to walk out the door the office called to tell me that the shuttle had been canceled. I was and am still pretty bummed, as I've been looking forward to heading up to the Brooks range all week.
Later in the day, I got a call that the first official tour of the season has been booked for Saturday and would I be available to guide? It is our most popular tour, and the most lucrative for guides in terms of overtime and tips - a 400 mile out-and-back to the Arctic Circle. Of all the tours we offer, it is my least favorite, despite the money. It comprises eighteen hours of on-duty time, yet only gets you within sight of the mountains before you turn around and head back to town. Guests are tired and cranky by the end of the trip, no matter how well the day went. Long out-and-back road trips will wear on anyone's nerves. It also means that the summer season is starting in earnest (already!) and things are cranking up at Little Tour Co.
I am training three new guides for their Commercial Drivers Licenses this season and two are just now starting the behind the wheel portion with me. They have a minimum of thirty hours each to complete before 'sitting' for the driving exam at the DMV, plus the fifteen or so my third student has left. Between training them, summer tour schedules ramping up, trainings and shifts at the fire station and my Red Card class in two weeks, I am unsure of how I'll even find time to work my 'steady' job at the kennel. And then wildfire season will start, shelving everything else until fall.
But for all the busy that this change brings, I am mostly enjoying the return of green, of birds, of warm sunshine.
In the mean time, I have been sitting on pins-and-needles waiting to hear back from the university about my application to the Paramedic program that starts this fall. When I arrived home this evening, I had an e-mail from a friend who works at the University and had a meeting with the program director today. Since the decisions have been made and letters posted, I guess he felt fine letting her know about my status. And so I found out through a nearly after-thought line at the end of a longer missive:
"OHHHHHH - you got in - you're in the Paramedic Program - I totally forgot to let you know ... Celebrate!"And I feel in a weird shock about it. At this point, that is all I really can muster to say. When I head to water rescue training tomorrow at the station, word will have spread and I'll get slaps on the back and congrats all around and maybe then it will sink in. At the moment, I am just bracing myself for Saturday's tour and can hardly process a sudden solidification of my usually-murky future.
(Speaking of Murky Futures ... plans continue to solidify that will have us paddling towards Tanana on the Yukon in June to deliver a canoe. Video from a tour this winter ... before I froze my video camera at the Quest start this year. Hopefully the ice will be gone by then.)