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Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:17 pm
by classical_Liberal
Awesome update as always!!

@JP
I've come to the belief that we, in modern society, artificially create adversity for the wrong reason(s). We create adversity mostly because we want the outcome of going through that adversity, rather than the experience of adversity itself. We want better cardiovascular health, so we work out in a sterile, boring gym environment. We want FI, so we attempt ERE. We want "personal growth", so we endure whatever to try and get there.

The problem is outcome-based actions. I think we have been mislead to believe success occurs with single-minded orientation towards an end goal, whereas perhaps the real success comes in simply undertaking something for its own purpose. Those who succeed most often only do so because they thoroughly enjoyed the process. When you enjoy the process, want the adversity itself, the end goal is simply a side-effect.

Also, I absolutely agree that going through adversity with others is bonding. Modern societies try to mimic this with end goal oriented activities as well.

Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:56 pm
by theanimal
jennypenny wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:31 pm
...
Yes, I'm still in the same spot as I was when you originally made the thread for the book. Here I am sitting inside very comfortable, with plenty of food and water available yet I am far less content than just a few days ago struggling with sore muscles, lack of water and cold temperatures. It really is an odd conundrum and one in which I know what the prescription is, but I don't know how to fulfill it.
classical_Liberal wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:17 pm
We create adversity mostly because we want the outcome of going through that adversity, rather than the experience of adversity itself. We want better cardiovascular health, so we work out in a sterile, boring gym environment. We want FI, so we attempt ERE. We want "personal growth", so we endure whatever to try and get there.

The problem is outcome-based actions.
I'm in full agreement. It's the way of enlightenment right? Before enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment? Chop wood, carry water. The process is what we actually seem to enjoy and why so many seem to struggle with a sense of meaning and purpose when not actually engaging in "productive" activities.

Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:08 pm
by theanimal
Well, I'm officially a pilot! Passed the practical portion of the checkride and the oral exam. I had to retake some of it since I failed a manuever on the first attempt. I was so stressed midway through it that I was nowhere near a functional mindset. However, went out for a couple sessions with my instructor, returned with a whole lot less stress and nailed the second attempt.

The flight school is so impressed with me as a student that they've offered me a job as a ground instructor starting ASAP. The only pre-requisite is some self study and a written test talking about human behavior and psychology. The starting pay is $25/hr and will be bumped up to $30 if they like what I'm doing. It also would likely entail an employee rate on airplane rentals which would drop costs about 25%. The decision to pursue this route seems to already be paying dividends.

The weather has been very warm here (15 degrees above normal for over 2 weeks now) lately with clear skies. The warmth is really nice and I've been trying to spend as much time as possible outside. The trails are deteriorating quickly but for the time being are still good enough for very fast travel by ski, foot and bike. Late last week, I went a few hours outside of town and skied out to some remote hot springs with a friend and her cousin about 8 miles off the road. So enjoyable.

Life is GOOD.

Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:30 pm
by Kriegsspiel
That's cool as fuck about pilot school.

Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:44 pm
by m741
Damn, I'm always impressed hearing what you're up to. Sounds awesome - NOLS, Alaska, flight school. Keep up the good work!

Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:13 am
by wolf
Congrats on being a pilot now! I am impressed about the things you achieve and the lifestyle you have. Wow! You are a role model for people who strive towards an adventureous life. I have some ideas on my ULAL (ultimate life's adventure list) which require action, decisions, determination and courage to achieve. When I plan for the first (next) topic of that list I remember you. I mean one must just do those kind if things in life! Thanks animal for the great inspiration.

Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:29 am
by Seppia
I had missed the bike trail update.
Fantastic stuff!

This journal is reason #1 why I visit this board
No offense to Jacob and all the other fastastic people in here, but the mix of wilderness, toughness and DYI spirit that transpire from your entries easily rivals a great adventure book - only it’s real life.

Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:55 pm
by George the original one
Nothing like living the life!

Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:35 am
by FBeyer
theanimal wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:08 pm
Well, I'm officially a pilot!
I'm officially stoked on your behalf!

It's not going to be long before you have to write a book or two about How Not to Be A Weak Ass Whiner and get some speaking gigs and royalty income rolling too.

By now it's probably one of the last things on your bucket list :lol:

Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:05 am
by jennypenny
Congratulations!!

I hope this doesn't sound patronizing, but I'm so proud of you for persevering. You've gone from bailing on your first solo trip because you were a little freaked out to official forum badass!

Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:52 am
by theanimal
Thanks for the kind words everyone. I’m not sure what to say other than that everyone’s support, encouragement and advice has been and always will be much appreciated.

Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:17 pm
by thrifty++
Congratulations! Amazing!
The wilderness photos are spectacularly beautiful.

Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:15 am
by prognastat
Congrats on passing the exam, nice that it's already opened new opportunities. I also assume that doing the instructor work would mean more cheap/free flight hours for you?

Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:51 am
by Ego
theanimal wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:08 pm
The flight school is so impressed with me as a student that they've offered me a job as a ground instructor starting ASAP. The only pre-requisite is some self study and a written test talking about human behavior and psychology. The starting pay is $25/hr and will be bumped up to $30 if they like what I'm doing. It also would likely entail an employee rate on airplane rentals which would drop costs about 25%. The decision to pursue this route seems to already be paying dividends.
New world record for finding a way to get paid to do the thing you were willing to pay for. Nice work.

Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:18 pm
by theanimal
Update time!

After I got my pilot's license I joined a flying club in Anchorage and went down for a few days to fly around with a friend. The club is great for anyone looking to fly as the shared economics mean lower cost for all involved. The director of the club and his father are mechanics as well so costs end up being some of the lowest in the country. We flew for 22 hours flying all around the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, the Copper River Valley, Prince William Sound and the Kenai Peninsula. One day we flew down to Homer and met up with a friend of mine for lunch. The next we made a stop in Valdez, met up with another friend and continued on on a loop back to Anchorage. Other highlights were flying over the Denali Highway and flying the kayaking route from my NOLS course. It was an awesome experience to say the least. And it only ended up costing us $32/hr a piece with fuel. That's almost impossible to beat.

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Flying in Prince William Sound on the way to Valdez

I started instrument training after getting back and dedicated myself to that for the following three weeks. It's somewhat unfathomable that the training is not required because you learn so much more that helps you in all aspects of flight. Especially when it comes to inclement weather. I had to do a long cross country flight (>250 nm) to fulfill one of the training requirements, so my instructor and I flew to Anchorage one day, grabbed lunch and went back. Flying in and among the clouds above the Alaska Range was pretty darn cool. I think I prefer VFR over IFR but it's definitely good to have the skills. I haven't taken the checkride yet as I still need a few cross country hours to fulfill all the requirements.

A couple friends and I headed back north to the Brooks Range just north of my old stomping grounds at the end of April to look for caribou. The skiing was OUTSTANDING. The best conditions I have ever skiied on. There was a firm crust so we didn't have to break trail and skied atop the 4 ft snow pack. Caribou were nowhere to be found, likely having migrated north in the previous week or 2. But the weather was great and the trip was fun nonetheless.

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I started my forestry job in the first week of May. Training was a drag and poorly planned out by management. I tried to glean as much as I could though and we had our first hitch last week. This year we are working further to the south in the Copper River Valley in and around the mountains of Wrangell St Elias National Park, where the backpacking/mountaineering section of my NOLS course took place. It's cool to be back in the area and I'm hoping I'll get the chance to go to or fly over some of our route.

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Mt Sanford, Wrangell and Drum within Wrangell-St Elias NP

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Prior to the first rotation, I went down south again and visited one of my friends from NOLS who is working and living in Port Alsworth on Lake Clark. Lake Clark is just 40 miles from Dick Proenneke's cabin and the area where he was resupplied by his friend (and founder of the town) Babe Alsworth. Im not sure if Ive mentioned it here or not but reading Dick Proenneke's journals is what started me on this path to begin with. I wanted to do what he did. After feeling so lost in college and disillusioned with the idea of a traditional path I had finally seen a light. My mom said I had zero of his skills (and she was right). A week after reading his journal I signed up for NOLS and the rest is history... I spent time exploring the town and the surrounding area via its trails. We hiked, canoed and took a boat out on the big lake one day with one of his coworkers. One of the biggest highlights was the day we rented one of the planes and flew around. We flew around the Park and went up to Twin Lakes, the site of Proenneke's cabin. The whole experience was somewhat surreal. I flew within a couple hundred feet of the ground and my friend took the controls as we did a low pass over his cabin while I took a shitty video. Twin Lakes (and the whole area) is extremely beautiful and one of the prettiest places I've seen in the state. The lakes in the region are all massive with mountains rising up on the edges.

Panoramic video of Lake Clark from a hike I did up a nearby mountain

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Canoeing on a lake near Pt. Alsworth

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Entering Twin Lakes country. Over the lower lake


I went dipnetting again recently. I had heard the numbers were high and people were hitting their limits easily so I couldn't pass it up. The fishing is on the Copper River, one of the largest and most powerful rivers in the state. There's an old railway bed along a portion of the river that allows for public access for dipnetting. Towards the end of the railway, the river narrows as it flows through a tight canyon. The best spots are found here as the salmon work their way up closer to shore so they don't have to fight the main current. The parking area is before the railway and closed to vehicle access. Most people take 4 wheelers with coolers strapped on the back and park it on the side of the trail before descending down to the river. The first year I went my friend and I were very green and wandered around to many spots before finding luck at a spot in the canyon. We hiked the 3 miles back to the truck with our packs nearly maxed at with ~16 fish apiece. Our packs were likely around 100 lbs... Unwilling to do that again, I biked in last year. I went by myself and came back with 17 fish. Faster but not much better. I wanted to take a trailer this year, but was impatient and left before getting it from a friend. Bungees made a huge difference though allowing me to strap the poles to my bike. I went to a similar spot and caught 6 fish the first 3 hours. Then I caught my net under a rock and made a massive hole in trying to free it in the process. That ended things. Maybe I'll go back later this summer.

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In miscellaneous news, there is a new romantic prospect that appears to be very promising. The drought may be ending here soon. Regardless, my sense of community here has really strengthened over the past few months. I've developed a really good group of friends in this area, with most of them here for the long haul. It should only get better as time goes on. With the warmer weather I've been hitting the mountain bike trails here. I didn't find out about them until late last fall, but they are my favorite spot in town. So much fun. A friend is out of town for a few months and she lent me her piano keyboard. I played for 7 years when I was younger and am enjoying getting back into it. The rest of the summer will be full of work, hiking and flying. I'm trying to build hours to a commercial license so I can start working as a full flight instructor sometime in the fall. Fun times ahead!

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A stretch of glorious single track

Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:05 pm
by Jean
Those are great pictures.

Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:15 am
by Seppia
Still the internet's best journal

Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:23 pm
by Ego
+1 Incredible stuff.

Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:53 pm
by Frugalchicos
All the best, great journal. You make me miss my mountains even more... ;)

Re: the animal's journal

Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:13 am
by classical_Liberal
Man, your life is amazing!