This, my friends, was my favorite place to work. Ahhh, I can feel the nostalgia coming in to sweep me off my feet. Every time I worked the visitor contact station, I'd have to flip the sign to "Open" as you see here, put out those two pink geranium plants that you see on either side of the building, and prop open the door. Isn't it beautiful?This is how it looks further away. There was a nice little sitting area out front. I used to sit out here on sunny days and nestle in on a comfortable spot, and bask in the warmth of the sun, often reading the sage words of my buddy John Muir.
Alright, I've taken pictures of the inside of the VCS to give you a better idea of how it looked like. If you picture looking at it from coming inside the front door, this is the back wall. The sign there tells the history of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and tells about first man as he crossed the bering land bridge. To the left was a little interp exhibit for kids.This is the wall to the left from the front door. Those three racks are where we displayed our merchandise. This is the wall of the front door. The thing jutting out from the wall is a register, for visitors to sign-in to and write where they were from. On the back wall there is a huge map of the Kenai and Katmai peninsulas. This is one of my favorite maps I used. I wish I had my own. I often would walk over from the table you see there on the left and show visitors the area they were in (and potential areas they wanted to visit). This is the main desk area. I sat behind this and looked all official like a park ranger. Or at least I tried to at least... Another view of the map. As you see up above, there's a skylight in the ceiling. As I've already mentioned, this building, being in the middle of nature, had no electronic/electric capabilities. So there was no light whatsoever, except natural light.The Queen's chair. I spent a good amount of time here. Me and chair became fast friends...it was a good thing he didn't mind me sitting on him. Behind the desk there, as you can see, is a lot of books, pamphlets, and other paper. All of this was informational resources I could use to help advise visitors on hiking, fishing, hunting, etc., etc.
This is also something I was very intimate with. The infamous tracker. I drove this beaut back and forth to the VCS whenever I worked there.
So, apparently I've lost the photos I had of the Refuge headquarters itself. This greatly saddens me. If you want to know how the main visitors' center looks like, I would check out their website (kenai.fws.gov) or google to see it.
The following photos are of the bunkhouse itself. Sadly, I can no longer call the bunkhouse mine because it's currently being converted to law enforcement offices. I'm pretty sure they're keeping the kitchen how it is, though. This, if you hadn't figured it out already, is the kitchen. Pretty spiff.
View of the kitchen and dining room area. Not sure if you noticed this, but, we had two refridgerators! That was nice. One you can see is on the left, the other you can see from the previous photo. This table experienced many fun times. Lots of eating, cooking, and the occasional BEST GAME EVER was played here. This is the living room, and our small, small tv. There's Eve. Sadly, she's no longer in AK. But I'm sure she's enjoying being back with the fam. To the left of this photo and beyond is a hallway that leads to two bedrooms and a bathroom.Beautiful Eve again! This a view of the living room from the other side. Beyond this photo to the right is a hallway that also leads to two bedrooms and a bathroom.
There indeed is the hallway. The room smack dab in front was Eve and Sam's room. My and Julia's room was on the left. The door to the right is the door to the bathroom.Aaah, there it is. I spent many a good time here. Especially on that contraption over there with its lid up. If you look above it there, you see a poster with flowers on it. I kid you not, I memorized that thing. On the back wall there to the right was the shower. Very tight, but did the job.My room! To the left is Julia's bunk. Mine is the impeccably clean one straight ahead. Kades, you can see your heart there on the wall. :)
Inside my closet. It's so organized.
The laundry room! I put this to probably too much use. I think Eve would vouch for that. :) The door there leads to the outside of the bunkhouse, which you will see in the next photo!And that, my friends (do I remind you of anyone? McCain, perhaps?) is the bunkhouse. The front of Eve's truck (that is no longer in her possession, but some other lucky dude's) is to the right. Many times I saw moose right up against the door there or near the windows.This is the pathway we walked everyday to get to the main visitors' center. If you remember that photo from way back, the black momma bear and her two cubs was just below that first curve. Pretty close to the bunkhouse, huh?
Come to think of it, I took pictures of headquarters and all of the little pathways that lead off from it. Unfortunately, either I have yet to find those photos, or they were accidentally deleted. This photo here is of the Andrew Berg cabin. It was relocated here so the refuge could look after it, so no more damage could be inflicted upon it. Mr. Berg was Alaska's first licensed hunting guide. He came to the Kenai Peninsula in 1888 from Norway and established a life for himself off the land. This cabin was built entirely by himself. Pretty impressive.This is the EE building, where Eve mostly worked. It's fairly new...I think only four years old or something like that. This is where we had a lot of our trainings, and also where a lot of fun programs for children were held. We had wild flower and wild berry fun days here.
Just a photo of the outdoor sign.
Okay, so I take what I said earlier back. I did find some photos of headquarters! That's a relief. I was really saddened by that fact.
Another photo.The Keen Eye Trail. Get it? Those refuge trail sign makers, they are comedians. This was right outside, to the left of the KNWR headquarters, if you are looking at it straight on as in the previous picture.This is on the Keen Eye Trail. It eventually leads to headquarters lake, and also hooks on to the Forest Loop trail. The Keen Eye Trail is the hike I led on wild berry fun day. :) On the boardwalk, looking out at the black spruce trees. This was an absolutely stunning day. Sunny, cool, and shining. Clouds were amazing.
Boardwalk leading across the boggy area leading to the lake. Black spruce trees all around.
View of the headquarters lake!Another photo of the lookout area.Headquarters lake: place where dreams come true. Or at least, where float planes come in. This lake is restricted access - no canoeing or any other water activity (swimming included) is allowed.
So pretty. Well, that's it! I could have taken more pictures of everything, but alas, this is all I have. I hope it gave you a better idea of where I worked this summer. These were the places where I spent the best summer of my life. I hope you were able to grasp and get some inkling of the beauty of this place.