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.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rainbows, Mudslides, Sink Holes, Bears, and Gold

Rainbow Glacier Adventure Team of 2011
What a great group of people to know!
Bottom Row: Nell, Tom
Next Row Up: Bruce, Deb
Next Row Up: Emily, Edie, and Bob
Next Row Up: Me, Stella
Next Row Up: Carol, Joe
Next Row Up: CJ, Jen, and Robert
Top Row: Denise....but she is hiding

Tour season is quickly coming to a close.  We have 3 Cruise Ship days left (today being one of the three).  We had our end of the year party with Rainbow Glacier Adventures a week ago.
Jen Reid's beautiful retreat on Mud Bay

 It was great fun out in the Mud Bay district.  Halibut and Salmon were on demand...
with our boss man, Joe Ordonez on the grill.  He also brought beer and wine a plenty.  I won't mention the stories I heard about the hot tub, which happened after my husband and I left.  The party must have kicked into overdrive.....oooh la la !
Joe Ordonez - The Wizard of Rainbow Glacier Adventures

Carol & CJ - two excellent RGA guides

Good times, memories, and friends were made this summer while guiding for RGA.  I have learned the history, biology and geology of Haines, seen the most beautiful days on record, and have gotten to know the greatest people in Haines.....they are the real gems of this rain forest paradise.  RGA has been an excellent company to work for and I hope to have many more years with them.
Our excellent Office Manager, Denise, with
Tour Guide Guru, Jen  

Our Beautiful Photo Intern turned Tour Guide, Emily


Last month I started mixing it up with different tours.  I have driven the small bus for some of our most endearing tour guides on the "Off The Beaten Track of Haines" tour.
Delightful Guide, Judy  - born and raised right here in Haines -
You cant do better than that for a guide!
She took the guests to meet the unique Dave Pahl and his
Hammer Museum

Off Beat is where we give guests an inside peak into the "characters" of Haines Alaska, and show them a few of our most famous ones.  We show and tell how people in Haines live.  Guests are fascinated at how we live up here, heck I'm fascinated at how we live up here.  I got to guide one of my own "Off Beat" tours after driving for the gals for 5 tours in two days.  It is a super fun tour!
Sweet Tasting Guide, Deb, shows the guests a great time at Dalton City

I also got to drive for a "Chilkoot River Wildlife" Tour.  That means I got to see the bears!!!  Cruise ship guests were hearing other guests brag about seeing bears and next thing you know we had an impromptu tour lined up with 17 people wanting to go bear viewing in the evening (17 is large for RGA tours - we normally keep our tours small in number so the experience is more intimate for the guests).  I drove the bus and Deb entertained the guests with stories about the Salmon Run, the Eagles, and the Bears.
Bear viewing is awesome in August in Haines!

 One of my favorite things to do in Haines is go out and see the bears at Chilkoot River.  We saw 8 bears that evening and the guests were ecstatic.  This one Sow had 4 cubs, one of them was the smallest little cub I ever saw.  It must have been a super duper runt.  It had a hard time keeping up with its normal sized siblings and big mama.  It looked like they had a little poodle following them around. It was a lively little guy though, he didn't seem to get any extra attention from its mom or siblings.....they treated him just like the others; tackling, rolling and play fighting.
I get to take out another bear tour today if one materializes. I hope so.
Speedy and her babes - she is my favorite (despite the collar)

Yesterday was my last "Gold Rush to Porcupine Creek" tour. Don't worry folks, if your in route up here to go on the Gold Rush to Porcupine tour, we may have a few more this season.  I would hurry though, winter is coming quickly and the mines will be closing soon. I wont be guiding any more this summer because I'm leaving on vacation for a big family reunion in my hometown state of Arizona.  I know I know, it is going to be hot as hell.  That is why I have enjoyed our cool, rain fill days the last couple of weeks.

The Lynn Canal - A Rainbow connected the Small Boat harbor with
Port Chilkoot Dock


Yesterday was a magical day with Rainbows around almost every corner.  I took a family of 3 (James, Marlene, and 4 yr old Braden) to Big Nugget Mine on Porcupine Creek.  They found our gold tour because of this blog (how cool is that?). They also happened to be from the same area I'm from in AZ, that made the tour extra special. I have noticed while tour guiding that people think in similar fashion depending on where they are from. Communities generally have the same sense of understanding the world. Because of that, I was not surprised to find out this family was big fans of the Gold Rush: Alaska TV show and they have their own gold panning equipment back home.  The metal detector, sluice boxes, pans, etc. etc. It was like I was guiding my own family.

They were up for any adventure that came our way.  When I plowed through a mud slide on Haines Highway they just put there hands in the air and said, "WWwwhhhheeee" instead of screaming and cursing in terror.  When we forded the flood filled Porcupine Road they were excited for the opportunity to 4-wheel drive. When we carefully edged between a sink hole and the cliff edge on the same Porcupine Road, they seemed perfectly calm.  All in all, an excellent family to end my gold tours for 2011.

Haines graced them with some amazing photo opportunities.  We had a close encounter with a bear.  We were parked watching this brown (grizzly) bear eat berries across the road.  The bear came right up to us on the road and "huffed" at us  (it sounds like a snort and is a sign of anxiety or anger building).  He was telling us to move on so he could cross over the road to where we were.....so we did.
The heart starts pumping when a brown bear starts walking
right towards you....

This bear seemed like he was coming over to talk, like he
had a mission.

He finally stopped there beside us.  His demeanor told me he wanted
us to move.  As I put the vehicle in drive he turned to us and gave
a few "huffs" for good measure.  We got the hint and left.
Can you see the claws on this big fella?  

We didn't make it back to the 1 o' clock ferry.  The family conspired against me because they knew there was a later ferry back to Skagway (my boss wants you to know they made it back - no problem) and they wanted to stay a few extra hours in Haines and see more bears, eagles and rainbows.  And yes - the mudslide, sink hole, rainbows and bear had something to do with it also. But the main culprit for being late was because we all had gold fever! We were panning, panning, panning, for gold.  Braden was finding all sorts of treasures in the area.  They each found a nugget, Marlene even found two!  I, unfortunately lost my gold nugget on that last tour.
That is OK, Ill be back next year to find it!

Till then, Happy Panning - I'm off to find the Lost Dutchman Mine of the Superstition Mountains!

For your own unique adventure in Alaska go to www.tourhaines.com

2 comments:

  1. oh my.....What a great experience this summer has been. following your blog had given me Alaska fever.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is a bit lower than hvac techs earn in Florida at $40k and even lower than the national average of $42k per year. HVAC Technician Wage in Alaska

    ReplyDelete