Immediately after graduating from the University of Iowa I hopped a ride out to Seattle with friends who wanted a quick getaway before they began another semester of classes. I took a job for a few weeks with Aramark at one of the hotels in Denali National Park. It was an incredibly cool job — I was essentially the bellman, but all I did was sit in a little room reading Outside magazine all day, writing, and holding and distributing bags for hotel guests. Twice a day I’d walk over to the train station where the train from Anchorage came in and would collect or drop off bags marked for my hotel.
The greatest perk of working in the summer in Alaska is that — even after a 9-hour workday, there are countless hours of sunlight left to play outside, hike, explore, and photograph the natural beauty that surrounds. Which is what I did a good deal of with the Canon Rebel G SLR camera that I got for graduation. Once I took off on a solo hike to Horseshoe Lake after a shift at work — not a long hike, but i knew I had to find camp before it got too dark, which was around 11-midnight by late August. I had my tent, a flashlight, a journal, and some other essentials, including my Martin Backpacker guitar. I wrote a song inspired by what I had seen and experienced in Alaska right then and there – you can hear a version of it below.