Where I’ll be

Jun 8, 2016 | 2 comments

It’s finally finals week here at the University, and after nearly three months of non-stop activity, at last things are slowing down enough for me to breathe, reflect, and write again. Such an opportune time, too — since I’m about to go partially off-grid for a while. This Sunday, actually.
Sunset silhouette

Soon I’ll be living on a river. Not this one. This is just a pretty picture of the Umpqua, where I was filming a few weeks ago.

I’m not sure exactly to what extent yet, but I do know that I will have no cell service for the next month and a half, and limited internet access. I will be posting remote updates from the field roughly weekly (probably more, but no guarantees), and any personal communications will have to be over email, Skype, or Facebook. If you know me, you know where to find me, so hit me up!  Especially when I’m off-grid, it always means a lot to hear from friends and family and know I haven’t been forgotten. 🙂 And likewise, I will do my best to update you all on my whereabouts and adventures on the Last Frontier. Despite the fact that I will be back in the wilderness less a week from now, my plans are still frighteningly vague. On Sunday I fly to Alaska, spend the night in Anchorage, and land in Cordova the next morning. The next day,  I will be joining the Eyak elders group to meet them and start making connections. On the 17th  I will be heading upriver to a research station where I’ll be hanging out with the fisheries biologists for a while, living in my tent on the bank of the Copper River.
Big tent_3

Our giant research tent

The above photo is going to be our work tent, or “field office” where we will process photos and footage and field notes every day upriver. Solar panels and a generator will be used to power our computers for a couple hours a day. The tent is monstrously large, and you will laugh when you see the size of my 1-person North Face Mica 1 tent next to it later. While it seems excessive right now, my adviser assures me that it will be well worth it when we are having to deal with thousands of dollars worth of equipment in dusty/muddy/windy/rainy conditions for days on end. Once I get back to town, it’s still kind of up in the air. Since my data collection is based on interviews and participant observation, I will hit the ground running, following as many leads as I can, to get out and talk to people in the community about environmental knowledge, climate change, and whatever else important to them. If there’s one thing I’ve learned this term, it’s that there’s a fine line between having a clear, focused agenda, but also being flexible and open. I look forward to being  disconnected again. To having nothing but time to think, listen, document, record, and write. Going back to Alaska this time feels stranger than it ever has before. In fact, it almost feels like it did  the first time I went there, alone and unsure of what I’m doing. But knowing that I’ve felt this before is comforting. And knowing that I have no idea what I’m getting myself into is also somehow oddly comforting. I’m excited and scared to death at the same time. That’s a good sign. Every time in my life I have experienced this level of fear/excitement/uncertainty, great life-changing things have happened. And so I will lean into that fear and face it head on, trusting it will carry me forward, just as it always has. I’ll be in Cordova until July 22, take a few days detour to visit my old stomping grounds and favorite humans in Sitka, and then touch down back in Oregon on July 25. So that’s about it for now. Look for updates soon. Maybe a lot, maybe a little. Hard to say. But either way, I can’t wait to be on the move again, out of my comfort zone, and reveling in the far north once more.


  1. J.


  2. gped2

    Just reading about your next adventure makes me almost as excited and scared to death as you say you are! Go girl; get out there and have a wonderful new experience and a great time doing it – and stay safe!

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