I'm Holly Jo, I was the "Gold Girl" tour guide the last 3 years at Porcupine Creek in Haines, AK. Two years at John & Parker Schnabel's Big Nugget Gold Mine and one year at Dakota Fred's Porcupine Creek Gold Mine. Not sure what I will be doing this year as the Gold tours at Porcupine Creek are not offered any more...and I kinda got fired.

Comments will be viewed by the author, Holly Jo, privately before being posted publicly. If you want it to stay private, please tell me. You do not have to be a member to comment, just use the anonymous option. Thank You for visiting.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Just in the Nick of Time

Oh, oh, what a feeling! To drive.....a tour bus (sang to the tune of the old Toyota commercial). 
I passed my dreaded driving test and can now get a Commercial Drivers License.  Whoopee - I'm so stoked!  I have been studying the last two months.  This is not child's play my friend.  The CDL is the hardest thing I have ever studied to get. This is coming from a gal who received a Correctional Officer certification - think pepper spray in the face and defense training for 3 weeks, and was Flight Attendant certified - think Jump, Jump, Jump, out and down the emergency escape slide - one month, non-paid (did it twice).  
I passed just in the nick of time.  Haines will have our first Cruise Ship for the season,
and it comes tomorrow (Wednesday 25th)! I wont be driving the bus yet because I still have to get a medical exam before I become a card carrying CDL driver, but I will be standing at the Cruise Ship dock greeting the happy tourists and inviting them to take one of the excellent tours we offer at Rainbow Glacier Adventures.  Sweet!
The "Gold Rush to Porcupine Creek" tour is not available yet, the first tour is scheduled for next Monday the 28th (Memorial Day here in the good ole USA). I'm getting hyped for it!
Park Ranger Preston Krues
 telling us about Bear Safety 

I spent 4 hours on Monday in a "Guiding in Bear Country" training class.  It was fun meeting guides from the other tour companies in Haines.  I was highly entertained as we discussed what to do in different scenarios involving bears and tourists.  Most of these guides are pros and have first hand experience with people trying to get up close and personal with the bears because they forget they aren't watching TV anymore, comical stuff.
When you are guiding in Haines Alaska the question isn't, 
"What will you do IF you see a bear?",  it is "What will you do WHEN you see a bear?"  
Haines has a nice size bear population, of both brown bears (grizzly) and black bears.  Easy bear viewing at Chilkoot River is one of the reasons I was attracted to move to Haines.  The bears get big and fat on the large "salmon runs" during the summer.  I'm a huge fan of bears. I read and watch anything and everything about bears.  Yes, I liked Grizzly Man (the movie).  And yes, I'm a fan of Timothy Treadwall, the bear enthusiast who lived with bears for 13 seasons before getting mauled and eaten by one (along with his girlfriend).  I joke about moving to Alaska to be "Grizzly Girl" some day.  Hey, if we all have to die anyways....why not have it be exciting?  
Pam Randall showing us proper
 bear spray technic.
Unfortunately
Ray Staska's (in the red)
bottle was still
loaded with
 real pepper spray,
and we had wind.

Just kidding, I'll stick with "Gold Girl" for now. You don't have to worry about me trying to hug a bear with my tour group in tow.  I learned about bear safety, bear behavior and how to avoid confrontations with bears.  Though I will tell you, if I had to choose, I would rather be attacked by a brown bear.  Brown bears mainly attack people on the defense and will quit gnawing on you if you play dead.  Black bears, as rare as an attack is, mainly attack people as predators and plan to eat you....so fight like your life depends on it, because it does. 
Just remember this, when your visiting Haines Alaska, it is safer to stay in groups....so go on a tour!
Yeah, that sounded like an advertising plug didn't it?  Well, I'm gearing up for tomorrow to sell tours to the masses.  Shoot, tomorrow has quickly become today. 
Im not a fan of pepper spray (for personal reasons**) - I think I'll take the air-horn instead.
That is how close you need the bear to be for pepper spray to
be effective.  Not very comforting eh?
** remember the Correctional Officer training I told you about.  This is how pepper spray looks on my face.
I dont want to be dealing with pepper in my face while a bear is attacking, no thank you.



3 comments:

  1. I love bears too. I travel over to Katmai when I can to walk amongst the coastal brown bears. Since they're fairly habituated to humans, they just go about their business. I love to just sit and watch/photograph them. Beautiful!

    We loved the bears at the lake and along the river in Haines. Can't wait to come back and see them again!

    Susan in North Pole

    ReplyDelete
  2. The picture of you with bear spray in the face makes me cry! I remember you stressing about that training. You made it through just like you made it through getting your CDL! Congrats. I know you will LOVE doing this and getting tips again!

    ReplyDelete