Nestled into the mountains, valleys and rivers of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula lays the town of Cooper Landing. To some, the community is but a minor speed reduction on their whirlwind tour of southwestern Alaska; the tiny grocery store and the hole-in-the-wall coffee shop appearing only briefly as they gaze from their RV windows. However, beneath the cleverly disguised façade of yet another tiny Alaska town, Cooper Landing hides its true secrets. As an employee at the Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge, I have the privilege of calling this quaint – yet ambitious – town home for the summer. A native Coloradoan, I attended my first year of college as a student of Chadron State College in Nebraska. As I gazed from my window across the mountain-less landscape, I could practically feel my toes itching to be back in their hiking boots. Now, back in the mountains and working as a Front Desk Clerk, I am once again in my element.
Here at KPL, everyday is a surprise. As I walk to work, I look forward to the interesting people I will meet and interact with in the upcoming hours of my shift. Over my summer at the lodge, I have been exposed to people from all over the world and from all walks of life. Of course there are a few goofballs, like the guest who exclaimed over the “300 ft. mountain” which in reality is 4800 ft. Cecil Mountains; but mixed in with the nuts I have had the privilege of meeting truly interesting people. I have received invaluable advice from entrepreneurs, professionals and established guests and many of them I will never forget. Along with the guests of the lodge, I can honestly say that my coworkers have become more like a second family than just the people I work with. The managers here at KPL are extremely helpful and supportive, providing a strong backbone for the lodge’s staff. From the genuinely friendly ladies at the front desk to the youthfully exuberant housekeeping staff, my workday never lacks in amusement and constructive support. As the summer comes to a close, I am happy to say that my summer at KPL has been one of the most interesting of my life.