Later this morning, Karin and I will be heading out from the lodge to our house in Homer. The 2010 summer season at EarthSong Lodge officially ended September 21, with our last guests departing after the Denali Park Road Lottery. As a nice change from last year, the closing down of the cabins and systems happened under beautiful sunny skies and warm temperatures...as opposed to last year, when it was snowing. We did well this summer, again surviving the economic downturn that has hit the Alaska tourism market, and we are thankful for that. We are also thankful for our last end-of-season employee Bill, who came on after one of our employees left unexpectantly, and worked for over five weeks with only one day off. He's off to work at a resort in the tropics for a year, happy days for him!
A lot was done at the lodge this summer. We upgraded and added new walkways to the doorsteps of all cabins, got our new wastewater treatment system tuned up and going strong, had two weddings (one just in our last week of operation), made improvements in the dog yard, and kept Strider from paying the ultimate price for eating a rather large chunk of granite. Three surgeries later and he is like new again.
The dog sledding season looks promising, with five trips already booked, a likely cross-country ski-support trip planned, and a few others floating around. Our new nine-month pups should have lots of trail time. Our handler, JJ, is back again, and ready to mush dogs. JJ and I will be taking a few weeks off in late March to do an expedition outside the Denali area, likely a traverse from Thompson Pass over the glaciers to the Glenn Highway, in the Chugach Mountains. Something to look forward to, and photos will be posted right after that...stay tuned.
After a week in Homer, Karin and I will fly back to NJ to visit my family, and then head back up in my new truck. A long road trip is very appealing after a summer with lots of work and no days off. We'll stop by and visit friends and family in Ohio, and then on to Michigan, the Badlands, Yellowstone and Glacier, Banff and Jasper, and up through the Yukon and back home. Then it's back to sledding.
While fall is about gone here, we wish you all a pleasant autumn with lots of colors and crisp nights. Happy trails to all.