In good company

Camp friends are unique because we don’t put any effort into showing up and we don’t ask where each other’s lives are going, or pry about where each of our places are in the world. We show up with wind swept hair, rosy cheeks having  had weathered the same storm…then we just talk about the little things.

The details we know about each other are only ones we have shared and perhaps some intel about dumping a snowmobile on a snow drift. We get to live with people who become like family without having their own set of standards and benchmarks for you.

It’s like a public defense putting effort into changing outfits and fixing hair before picking up a bottle of wine to meet friends in Kelowna or Vancouver. The formal updates on progress and happiness over dinner challenge your memory of what it is to act like yourself.

Our subtle moments in camp end up meaning more than anything.

Tonight we lovingly mocked our mechanic for saying “way cool,” because that’s what he “heard the young people say.” Then we clinked our lemon water glasses to cheers because we thought we were so clever to add the lemon pulp before noticing any preexisting floaties in our glass.

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Winter, and all the perks

Finished making my boot knife with an antler handle (mine is on the right)

Photo from our road trip – in front of the salmon glacier

 

View from my bedroom window

 

More icicles

 

I went on a heli photo shoot to document a clean up of a nearby camp – this is the portal entrance at our mine site

Driving the Chieftan (a piece of equipment twice as big as my studio apartment in Bangkok)

I have always loved road trips and crewing in and out of camp is becoming something I really look forward to. You get to spend a whole day or two traveling with someone new in a very positive, very company expensed road trip.

We had an unbelievable amount of fun arriving to camp this shift. The four of us never stopped bantering as we tried to leave town with our series of never ending last stops. I met an incredible Hungarian lady in the Walmart parking lot and after we finally made it our of Terrace, we made two glacier photoshoot stops, got “Hyderized” with a double shot of moonshine in Alaska and then bought necklace at the pawn shop.

Then I worked a 23 day shift and did it all again in reverse.

I’m sitting in the airport and in the past 24 hours traveling out of camp I have had some inspiring conversations with really great friends. We went out for dinner in Stewart, spent the night then had a slightly nauseous road trip to Terrace.

The best part of camp is spending so much time with people you probably otherwise wouldn’t.

The slew of board games I ordered arrived on my last night and we ended up playing for 3 hours. Even our mine manager played, a couple operators, a miner, our avalanche tech and a cook. I laughed myself to tears.

The highlight was when Dave was trying to make us guess a word with his clues: “I’m hanging off a cliff………….I’m shaving my own back!”

Then he looked at our mine manager and said: “You are……”

Dramatic pause as our mine manager stares him in the eye and says “Fucking awesome” in his British accent.

This quickly escalated into over-dramatizations of our mine manager hanging over a cliff, shaving his own back whilst gritting his teeth and exclaiming his new nickname, Fucking Awesome.

The word we were guessing was “independent.”

Board games aside, this shift we also put our snowmobiles back into circulation. Our mechanic made me a custom windshield and wrote “FISCHER” all across the shield. I am a little bashful about it in case people think I did it myself but it was a very sweet gesture and it makes me smile when I see it.

Of course we also visited the ice caves again.

I also learned a lot about explosives and managed to get past airport security today with a jacket that I certainly wouldn’t have wanted them to swab.

An old time miner made me really proud when he said that in his whole career, our camp is by far the best one he has ever been to.