Since beginning this nomad life four years ago, we have traveled south for the winter leaving Alaska to the Alaskans. Last year we abandoned our campground early because of the raging forest fires that daily rained ash on everything. Smoke burnt our eyes and we needed fresh air. Wearing masks to breathe was too claustrophobic for me and not wearing one made me cough with the intense smoke. We headed south for Colorado (a son and daughter live there) to travel eastward to Pennsylvania (where my family lives) and then back west to Las Vegas (another son lives there). During those travels we had issues with our Forest River trailer and decided to order a new one. While it was being ‘made,’ we stored our cracked and nearly broken trailer in Las Vegas and flew back to Alaska to spend several winter months with our daughter and our new granddaughter.
March 15, in the height of COVID in Seattle, we flew through Seattle back to Vegas to pick up our new Grand Design home. After a month in Vegas with our son, we began the northern trek back to Alaska for our summer job managing Cooper Creek Campground on the Kenai Peninsula. After a week or so of ‘set apart’ time, we jumped exhaustedly into the routine of camp manager. It is now autumn and we are finishing our last big hurrah of the summer with Labor Day weekend campers. According to my daily calculations, we have 24 days left to clean bear boxes, firepits, and pack ourselves up.
After the fires last summer, we could never imagine the craziness of this year and the ‘dreaded virus.’ With all of the ‘mandates’ (not laws) for travelers, we knew we wouldn’t be meeting too many tourists this year. We also wondered how the campground would fare with only Alaskans. They came out in droves and really kept the summer economy afloat. They fished, camped, floated, biked, hiked, and made more messes than any other year. Some had never ever camped before and we found the evidence in discarded rubber bands and abandoned receipts for tents and sleeping bags. Some Alaskans asked if we were happy (as they were) there were no tourists. Honestly, tourists respect and honor Alaska than most Alaskans. We had more toilet paper (and tampons) in the trees, trash in the fire pits, dogs off leash and pooping everywhere, people cutting trees, and campers selling their sites on Facebook pages. I had more issues with campers over reserved campsites than ever and I called the no-help- whatsoever-law enforcement more times than the previous three years combined.
On the flip side, we met many new Alaskans who were true campers, true Alaskans, home grown and native. I met natives from Utquiagvik, the highest point in the Arctic Circle (a bucket list place I want to go). Another man, a tour guide from Coldfoot, invited us above the Arctic Circle to see the Aurora Borealis overhead in October. I met people from Fairbanks to Juneau, and some who pass by here from Anchorage to Homer always calling to see if we need anything. Anything included going to RV places to bring us supplies because we had no time to do it! Or even Oreos! Or ice cream! We were given flowers, wine, sake, brownies, halibut, salmon and FOOD, FOOD, FOOD! Some campers we have known for the past 4 years gave us sour dough starter from the 1920s and invited us for caribou steaks. I even had one camper bring me a nice big rock for holding the door open when I clean my toilets! These are the people we enjoy in our campground. These are the real memories. They are the blessings in our daily lives.
We still had a lot of tourists from Maine to Georgia to Tennessee to Boston to Las Vegas to Nebraska to California and Arizona as the summer progressed. Each person talked about their journey to get to Alaska whether they had to drive through Canada with their stringent rules or via an airline that required a mask for 12-15 hours. From each of their experiences, I came to understand quite quickly how much of the Covid19 information is deceptive and even wrong, especially when it comes to the outcome of tests. In spite of all their struggles, everyone was grateful to be here, breathe fresh air, and enjoy the 20 hours of sunshine!
If I’m completely real, this year was tough, especially tough when we realized that we literally had no law enforcement back up for anything. For all of those cities wanting to be without law enforcement, let me tell you, it’s not cool when someone threatens you and you have no recourse. Then there was the bear that removed a cooler from someone’s truck and they shot off a firearm to scare the bear. We did call law enforcement, but they never followed through to tell us what exactly happened. And, what exactly happened was that my husband could have either been shot or attacked by a bear while hauling water from the creek to put out a raging fire an irresponsible camper left at 10 p.m. at night.
Will we do this again? We are waiting on the LORD for that answer. We love what we do. We love 99% of the people, but we would really like to have water, sewer and electric rather than boondock all summer. We may have some options if the fear over the virus ends and nothing else bigger happens, but we’re not hopeful for that. There are too many political entrapments with this whole event and other ‘Plandemics’ so we have no idea what will happen next summer. We also know Biblical prophecy and what is promised for the world and ‘lawlessness.’ Yet, we could return to Cooper Creek and continue to make new acquaintances and friends. I know the regulars who depend on us will really miss how we manage this campground!
We will have the entire winter to pray about it. We are not leaving Alaska this fall. As the leaves on the Cottonwoods change, we will be packing up and winterizing our nomad home to store here in Cooper Landing. We will be renting the same suite we lived in last year near our daughter and our grandchildren. I will also work a few days cleaning the post office as I did last year. My husband will be working at Alyeska Resort as a ski instructor if all goes well with this ridiculous virus that was supposed to last two weeks to a month.
The most difficult part of these changes is not seeing my other children. Neither of us have any desire to fly wearing masks – remember I wore them last summer and it was claustrophobic for me. We also have no desire to travel through Canada again with their rules when the Yukon has zero cases. They are actually fining people who stop along the way! We hope maybe we can fly in April, but it seems that the whole population has been programmed for masks and then a vaccine – something else I will not accept. So, in the realities of the ‘new world order’ in which we are living, I may never actually see my other children and it grieves me deeply.
For now I will be here in the Last Frontier helping my daughter teach her son to read, watching my granddaughter grow and learn to walk and talk, meeting locals in the post office, going to Bible study with some of the wisest, oldest women I have ever known, and having time to continue writing, studying Revelation, and preparing my heart and life for what is coming on this world.
“Just one thing have I asked of Adonai; only this will I seek: to live in the house of Adonai all the days of my life, to see the beauty of Adonai and visit in his temple. For he will conceal me in his shelter on the day of trouble, he will hide me in the folds of his tent, he will set me high on a rock” (Psalm 27:4-5).
I will probably ride snow machines around the mountains or out on the frozen lake, play a little ice hockey with my grandson on their neighbor’s rink, and maybe this year I will finally try snow shoes. I never ever imagined one moment in my life that I would ever visit Alaska, let alone say I’ve spent four summers here (and visited the two summers before that) and actually have an Alaskan ID. So as the autumn changes take place on the trees and the rose hips and high bush cranberries ripen, we too will be making transitioning to remain here and not return to the Lower 48. Life is always an adventure as a noman and with Yeshua at the helm, there’s always a plan that we take step by step. For now, however, reflecting on this past summer and all of the wonderful memories warm this chilly fall rainy day.
“This is what everyone faithful should pray at a time when you can be found. Then, when the floodwaters are raging, they will not reach to him. You are a hiding-place for me, you will keep me from distress; you will surround me with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:6-7).
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