Hi there. My name is Gary Braden. I’m from Greenbrier County, West Virginia. My summer started April 23rd when I landed in Fairbanks, AK at 10:30am. My friend picked me up at the airport and we went to his house, ate lunch and proceeded to cut up a moose calf for what seemed like forever! Then I saw my first live moose and her calf. WOW! Then my job started, I met the bundle of energy, Miss Francy and I met Celeste. Celeste interviewed me and was the first person I spoke to from the company. My most memorable moments this summer were the FAM (familiarization) trips that we went on. They were awesome! I learned about flying salmon and swimming eagles and earthquakes and volcanoes in Alaska. The training that we went through was intense, but helpful. Thanks to Jill Hyatt, Tim Sickels, Greg Robbe, Chris Juhlin, Mike Humphrey and Bill Holmann. Thanks guys, you’re great. My most memorable FAM trip was to Copper River Princess Lodge and down to Valdez the next day. I have made several great friends in Alaska, too many to name but they know who they are. The people I admire the most are the girls upstairs outside of Allison Short’s (who is taller than Allison Bartlett) office. They don’t get half the credit they deserve. And to all the supervisors and managers – thanks for not giving up on me when I was taking all my tests. All 25 times! All of my tours and guests make this job fun. I don’t have enough paper to write down all the memories. I have a new adventure everyday that I’m out on the road – El Dorado Gold Mine and the cookies, the riverboat and the smoked salmon, Ice Cream Wednesdays, the family of bears on the road headed to Denali and don’t forget about the state bird – the mosquitos! Too bad I have to go back home to West Virginia early due to an emergency. I will take something back home from each and every one of you guys and this beautiful state. I will be back I promise. One more thing, if you come to Alaska you have to do two things – GO BIG OR GO HOME.
THE ALASKA EXPERIENCE: