Getting all of the contents from the Uhaul to our cabin was difficult and time consuming. We had the wonderful help of a friend, Demetrius, who flew in from Austin to help us, and he was our saving grace. For seven days, we all worked around the clock. Each load had to be “masterminded”. Each load would require transferring the items from the Uhaul to our Toyota Tundra at the parking area of the boat launch area, then driving the Toyota onto the rough terrain of the sand and gravel pit out to where the boat was tied up but sitting against the rapids of the Tsirku River. Then, we would unload the Toyota’s contents onto the boat, and navigate against the river water to Clear creek, then to Chilkat Lake. Once at our house, we would tie the boat up to our dock, and unload everything up a the hill to our home. I don’t know what was more difficult: navigating the rapids of the river with a loaded-down boat, or getting everything up the 100-yard straight-up climb to our home. During those long days, we all learned by trial and error how to navigate that river. We have two boats we used, so we each took turns at the helm.
Once Demetrius felt ready, I was happy to be left at the house. The boys would drop their boat loads off at the dock, and I would move the stuff uphill as best I could. We were able to use a gas powered hauler that came with the property to move stuff and while it helped a lot, it was still exhausting to load and unload. Alot of stuff came up the hill on our own backs as well. We worked long, long days, roughly from 6:00 every morning until about 11 every night, or later. Lucky for us, the summer days in Alaska are long, the sun is up around 4:30am and goes down around 10:30 pm. That gave us plenty of daylight to work long hours. When the sun went down, we would all take a whiskey shot then collapse in bed. Every morning, we would wake up grumbling about our aches and pains. The weather was perfect for the move. Bright, sunny days made it feel like Texas, but a little different. The temperature highs were 65, but if you are in the sun, it scorches you and feels like 100 degrees. In the shade, the breeze feels like 35 degrees, and on the boat, it can feel even colder. Dressing in layers was a must. I wore pants and a tank top if I was loading or unloading in the sun, a light jacket if I was standing still near the shade, and a winter coat and ski cap if I was on the boat. Nathanael was in shorts and flip flops at all times, of course. On the last days before Demetrius left, we were focused on getting everything from the Uhaul to the property. The boys brought stuff faster than I could get it up the hill, plus they enlisted help from another guy with a boat on our lake. So, our boat dock became overloaded and lots of boxes were strewn all over the bottom portion of our property. At one point, some of the boxes rolled into the lake, and our vitamin bottles, toothpaste and dental floss were floating around the lake. Nate fished them out with a net, but it was kind of funny when I was doing dishes in the house and I spied all of our toiletries floating down the lake. We met lots of our neighbors on the lake. Everyone was friendly and helped in some way. We met a lady who moved here from Canyon Lake, Texas. She is a retired school teacher. Her husband died about a year ago. When she first came to the lake, she bought a cabin in the landslide area, but this year she bought a second cabin in a safer zone. I asked her why Alaska, and she said she always wanted to live in a house on a lake with lots of property, and our lake was so affordable. She snowmobiled for the first time this past winter, and she says it’s the most fun she’s ever had in her life. I so admire this woman in her 70’s moving out to the lake by herself. We also met a gentleman who owns a local restaurant and sells snow mobiles on the side. We have been talking to him about finding us some snow machines for this winter. He fishes in the back part of Chilkat Lake quite often and he asked if he could help bring some of our stuff from the boat landing to our house. We said sure, move anything you can, anytime you want. We would be grateful for the help. One afternoon, we went to move a few things and noticed all of our lattice was missing. We had about a dozen sheets of 8ft x 4ft wood lattice that we had painted and brought with us. Our hearts sank at the thought of someone stealing them. When we got to the house, we discovered the restaurant owner had brought them for us in his boat. These wooden lattice sheets were heavy, so this was no simple gesture of kindness. This was huge.
We have also benefited from the kindness of a young man who lives on the lake alone. On our first day of moving, one of our boat motors died while we were in Clear Creek. We had one bar on our phone and we called him. He came right away to help us. We feel so welcome by all of these kind souls. While the move has been treacherous, God has sent some wonderful people along our path. In the big city, your friendship circles come together around common interests and we barely knew our neighbors. Here in Haines, our neighbors and our friends are one in the same. We are exhausted, but I think we’re going to like it here.