Saturday, July 08, 2006

Day One

I: And So They Are Off
Today it begins. Stephanie and Crystalyn take the ferry from Haines to Juneau, staying tonight at the Juneau Airport Travelodge; Jessica flies from Craig to Ketchikan, spending the night with her grandmother.

II: Mid-morning Call

Wherein we see the wisdom of starting Jessica on an early morning Saturday flight taking only half an hour to get her to Michigan by Monday noon. Just got the call. Craig is fogged in. No flights out of there today or tomorrow or possibly Monday. However, she does have time to make the ferry today and connect with the rest of her flights. Her grandmother can as easily pick her up at the ferry terminal as at the airport.

Travel in Alaska seldom goes according to plan.

III: Meeting at the Ferry Terminal

And so, this evening I drove out the road to the Ferry Terminal and met Stephanie and Crystalyn when they arrived from Haines on the Malespina. When I was walking in to the terminal, I saw these two huge dogs! Just amazing. Almost as tall as my favorite Irish Wolfhound, Abe, but much bulkier. "What are they?" I asked. "Mastiffs," replied a man who seemed to know. Well, I can believe that! They certainly looked like all the things I'd ever read about Mastiffs. And then I walked two feet further, and saw the dog they were with. She looked just like them, except that she made them look like toy mastiffs! An animal this big looks naked without a saddle! (And as I was leaving the very small woman who owns the dogs came up. She says they are a St. Bernard, Great Dane mix. And the big one is named, are you ready for it? Tiny.)

And on to the gangplank and there they are, coming off the ship. Since Stephanie is the chaperone, the three of us had dinner together and discussed some few business items that needed to be dealt with ("please make sure everyone turns in their boarding passes so our director can get reimbursed by the grantor" type of thing) and, since I just hired her to be the Adult Leader for Teens In Action, Haines, a few weeks ago and we had only met on the phone, getting to know each other. Only a few years after I was a hippie in San Francisco, she lived on a commune in Vermont. When I was a Montessori teacher, she was a special ed teacher for the deaf. When I moved to Fairbanks, she moved to Haines.

Crystalyn is a delightful young woman; yesterday was her 16th birthday. Haines is a town of 1,850 people. Crystalyn knows all 80 of the students in her high school. The traffic in Juneau (6 p.m. Saturday night, coming in from the ferry dock, in a community of 32,000) was a little overwhelming for her.

This is going to be so interesting for everyone involved. All of the other teens at the camp are from Michigan, all will be getting in cars Monday morning and driving to camp. And here comes our group. Three of them traveling for two and a half days! Taking ferries and and planes, changing planes in Seattle and Cleveland. Heck, most of the campers aren't even packed yet, and one of mine has had to change from a float plane to a ferry because the island she lives on is fogged in and another has tried deep fried mushrooms and gone swimming in a hotel pool.

1 comment:

Nikki Smith said...

Well, not ALL of the teens at camp were from Michigan! We had a young man from France with us for the week, as he is involved with a summer exchange program and staying this summer with the family of a young lady on our staff. It was an interesting event for him, as our camp is all about developing teen leaders to help run peer substance abuse prevention programs...and Charles comes from a culture where the drinking is NOT considered "underage" but is accepted as part of the culture. Where he comes from, teens can drink before the age of 18...but can't drive, so they head to pubs/bars/clubs on public transportation. One innocent comment he made to one of my staff members was "When I get back to France and have a beer, I will think of Project ROOTS!"

Oh boy.