I’m originally from Fairbanks, AK. Most of my family is from there too. My parents split up when I was young (I’m not sure what age I was exactly). Both remarried, but my mom decided to move to the lower 48. My step dad tells this awesome story of taking the journey from Fairbanks down to the lower 48 with no clear direction in mind. They drove through Canada and into Washington, Oregon, California, and eventually settled in the Coeur d’Alene, Id area. He said after all the places they traveled to/through, he asked where my mom wanted to live and she chose Coeur d’Alene.
So I spent my childhood and adolescence growing up between Fairbanks and Coeur d’Alene. When I say Coeur d’Alene, I use the term loosly. Our house was technically in Rathdrum. There’s a couple main roads that go North and South in the area and one of them is Ramsey Rd. Ramsey is cut off just North of Hayden by the Coeur d’Alene Airport. Just North of the airport where Ramsey picks back up is where we were.
During the school year, I lived in Idaho playing football and a few other sports along the way, and spent my summers in Fairbanks with my Dad and that entire Barkdull side of the family.
Most weekends revolved around going up the Teklaneka River to the cabin. “The Cabin” is a mythical land where anything you want to do is possible. Fishing, shooting guns, jumping beaver dams in boats, bonfires, you name it. It’s a cool place. For a while there was even a log mill on the property that was used to build one of the cabins on the property.
This picture on the left is from a place called “The Trickel.” If you look at the water, you can see the murky water on the left, with the clear water feeding in from the right side of the picture. I believe this is a branch of the Nenana River that feeds into the Tek, but I could be wrong on that. The Teklaneka is a glacial fed river and has a lot of silt in the water.
It’s difficult to fish the river because the visibility for the fish is pretty minimal. When you find these streams that feed into the main river, it’s usually a great spot for fishing. In this picture I’m sitting on the boat motor casting off to the far bank and letting it drift toward the main river.
Most weekends we would have a pretty big crew headed upstream. Usually it was a multi-family affair with 2 or 3 boats heading up. You know the routine; a few people/family would be responsible for some of this food, a little of that food, the other family would be in charge of stocking the beer cooler, etc. It usually worked out, until there was a time when it didn’t. On that trip we were grateful that the river was full of fish and there was some tinfoil on hand.
I honestly can’t even remember when the original cabin was built, but I do remember when the second one was built. We used garage door panels as the flooring which do a great job of insulating, and pretty much all of the construction materials were made from a log mill that cut up logs that were all dropped from our property, trimmed up and cut into nice pieces of lumber that seem to still be doing a fine job today. There’s indoor plumbing (may not seem like much, but in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness it’s pretty damn clutch), and one of the other cool features is the fact that there are two doors on either end of the cabin that are wide enough to drive a snowmachine into. Really the only time you’d want to do that is if a snowmachine got stuck in the overflow (water on top of the river ice that’s covered by snow). Because of the cold, the snowmachine track can freeze up pretty badly, so the only way to get rid of that is with heat. De-icing the track inside the cabin can be an unfortunate necessity from time to time.
During the school year pretty much all I wanted to do was ski. I sucked in the beginning. I started when I was 9 on a pair of Rossignol 198s. Thinking back, that sounds completely ridiculous. Those skis kicked my ass, but I did a pretty good job of being crappy too.
After shape skis came out, it took me a few years before I was able to afford a pair, but once I did things became a bit easier. Having the 198’s was a good learning experience though: sink or swim.
University of Idaho
After high school I went to the University of Idaho. I floundered through the basic credits and gravitated toward the business side of things. I ended up getting a public relations degree with an emphasis in marketing. I don’t know if it was just an area that I excelled at, or if it was the professors, but it seemed to be the right fit. Their professors in the journalism and mass media department definitely know what they’re talking about.
After college, I was a bartender for a couple of years and didn’t do too much other than work, fish, ski, and party. Working is always good. Fishing and skiing are even better, but the partying wasn’t so bad either. I have a few friends that would take a bullet for me and I’d like to think that I’d do the same.
I moved to California for a change of pace. I needed it. After college nothing was happening, and something needed to happen. So I moved with my girlfriend at the time and it failed miserably. We moved back to Idaho 6 months later, did more of the same for another year and then decided to move back to California. It was rough. I really didn’t want to move back the second time, but what can you do? I’ve been here ever since. It hasn’t been easy, but few things in life come easy that are worth having.
Work is a big part of my life. I don’t want to get too into it on this draft of the about page, but sometimes I find myself wondering how I possibly could have been so fortunate to be a part of some of the organizations that I have been. I’ve been close to being homeless, I’ve eaten plain rice for days on end, I’ve almost gone back to Coeur d’Alene, I could say almost to a lot of things, but the biggest takeaway that I have is that I’m still here. I still wake up early in the morning to kick some ass. Whether or not it’s true, I hold onto the belief that if I don’t kick ass for every minute of the work day, my job is (and should be) in jeopardy.
I miss my family and I love the Northwest. It’s where I belong, and I will go back there some day.
“The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom” – Theodore Roosevelt