Saturday, September 22, 2012

So... I don't often write about normal life events, but can I just say that this summer has been absolutely insane? It has been so full of adventure and disaster and love and loss... and many, many seafood nachos.
Today in particular was a day for the books. Or the blogs. Blogs, as  the case may be, because this would actually be way too short for a book.

I digress.

This morning, I came to work for basically no purpose. I was supposed to drive people to and from the train, which wasn't coming in. Because Guess What? Last week it rained so much that there were rockslides near the tracks at Talkeetna, meaning the train couldn't get through to Denali. So we (meaning dispatch, not actually me) insanely worked to get all our guests to and from their destinations via motorcoach, which was a feat in and of itself and involved several days of overtime... But again, that was last week. Today I was also supposed to do a tour in Cantwell, which was canceled because conveniently, that area was flooded.

Then, this happened.

So, the "Dome Home Bed and Breakfast" mentioned? Less than a mile away from my apartment. I walk past it every Sunday on my way to church. In fact, I live on Healy Spur Road, right next to Parks Highway.  Mt. View Liquor and Grocery Store is where I go almost bi-daily (if that's even a word) to get snacks or something. It's literally right behind my dorm.
It's so weird to think that could have been any one of us. Me. A co-worker. A family I probably know from church. It was, not surprisingly, big news to take in.

So then things are kinda slow, obviously, since I have no train to drive for and no tour to run, so I go with Leah and Dustin about a mile down the road to take footage. Because Guess What Else? The Nenana River (which is glacier-fed and a near-constant 36 degrees) has literally risen more than 4 feet overnight. In case you didn't catch that...
The WHOLE River Has Risen.
Are you with me? That's some serious shiz.  The water was even more murky than usual (glacial silt will do that; makes it look like liquid cement), almost opaque... And the waves were SO huge, fast, and threatening. So we went to take videos, of course. We even climbed over the railing. I felt okay doing that, because there was a DOT guy there too, in an orange vest, and he didn't say anything to us about it. In one spot, the shore had been washed away up to about 5 feet from the highway. Most of the bank was much more sturdy than that. This road, by the way, is THE only accessible highway between Anchorage and Fairbanks. And the only accessible road for employees working in Denali to get there from Healy, where we all live (Note: Just remember the train is also not running. For later.).

So, satisfied, we made our way back to the lodge, and I was sent home early (Someone else needed my motorcoach).

Later, I came back to Denali with my roommate. The plan was to do a little shopping and get dinner on property. But what ended up happening was this: We got pictures at the Denali National Park and Preserve sign, which I'm pretty sure someone had relocated. Because it was waaay farther away than I remember. At least, that's what my body told me. We also stopped to take pictures of the river... OH! I forgot a part! When I drove back for the day, the place Dustin and I had been standing a few hours earlier?
Washed away.

And all the shops were closed. Well, just as we were about to get dinner, I got a text from another driver saying they were having an emergency meeting because they were about to close the road and they needed to get the employees working a.m. shifts to the lodge, in case they couldn't get there via the road the next morning. Some of us, like me, stayed (or rather, returned) to Healy on the employee shuttle. There was a sign that said "ROAD DAMAGE" and they only let a few cars past at a time because of the flooding. It made for a very frenzied evening. I learned some important things, like "Always be polite, even in an emergency", "Keep a sense of humor", and "Get your food storage ready." And also, "If anyone needs a Christmas tree, I saw several float down the river today. If you're fast enough, you could find them in the Yukon River before the holidays."

1 comment:

  1. Crazy stuff! I'm glad you didn't meet up with that Green Beret guy, and you weren't swept out on liquid cement. You'll have to have a picture party when you get back to detail all of your amazing adventures. We'll be there.: