It is important to walk the waterline periodically.
From the first day I set foot on this land, I knew it was too magnificent to keep to ourselves. It MUST be shared!! We welcome the opportunity to develop new friendships, while allowing others to invest their talents & skills in projects that will benefit everyone who visits after them. Many of our "besties" have returned repeatedly & they've made their mark in SO many ways! We wouldn't be where we are if it weren't for the efforts of these fantastic folks.
I am fond of telling people that living remote is "Simpler, but NOT Easier!" What I mean by this is that extraneous activities (like getting worked up about what's happening elsewhere in the world, or wasting time chatting on-line to find out what everybody you know is up to) all fall by the wayside, & life VERY much revolves around the basics of survival: putting up food & firewood for the winter, taking a look at the perpetual Honey-Do list to see what the weather/tides/supplies will allow you to tackle next, etc.
Because this environment is so harsh, special care must be taken to address small maintenance issues before they become major ordeals. Buildings need painting periodically, spruce needles must be cleaned out of the cracks in decks before they begin to rot, the running line (with which we "park" the skiff) must be kept clean & free of barnacles/seaweed, etc. There is NEVER a shortage of projects to keep the active handyman--or woman--as busy as they want to be, and THEN some! My husband will tell you that on many occasions he's gone off to find a place to hide in the evening 'cause I'm still truckin' around the property getting stuff accomplished! I love the feeling of a job well done & appreciate others who take pride in anything they put their hands & mind to. I have a plethora of projects awaiting the hard-working, creative, adventurous spirits who are selected to take advantage of the opportunity to live in such an amazing place! Some of our dearest friends started out as guests & volunteers in years past & have participated in many improvements to the facility since their first visit. I LOVE it when people "make their mark" on this place...I can walk around the grounds & remember the precious spirits of those who have invested their energy & love towards making every future visitor's experience just THAT much better!
We are presently looking for a caretaker (possibly/preferably a couple) for next summer who will live at Mystic Mountain "full-time" from May thru October in order to continue developing & maintaining the gardens while we must sometimes be out on the fishing grounds. This is essentially a VOLUNTEER position...food & accommodations are provided, of course, & we always send our helpers home with a huge box of Alaskan seafood & homemade jams/jellies/etc. at the end of their stay. A familiarity with gardening is obviously necessary, with a strong emphasis on record-keeping as required by the grant program we are a part of. Some experience operating boats would be a huge plus, as the only "roads" in/out are the air & the ocean! A small skiff will be left at the property for the staff to use as a runabout in the semi-protected waters of Dry Spruce Bay. We are also constantly taking names/references from folks who'd like to rotate through for shorter-term visits, so if you'd like a working vacation in an outrageous location, be sure to send us a note with your qualifications & interests. We do require that our volunteers sign a work agreement & a liability release form prior to their arrival.
Be aware that this location is authentically OFF-GRID! There is NO cell service, NO internet reception, not a SINGLE road leads in or out of the property, & the nearest neighbors are a couple miles away by BOAT! The only form of communication is VHF radio, through which the United States Coast Guard can be contacted in case of emergency. If you cannot survive without access to social media, this is NOT the place for you!
Click here to find out about other positions available at Mystic Mountain!
Successful candidate(s) will be expected to put in 6 or more hours a day working for the benefit of the land & infrastructure…New beds must be created (measured areas mounded up, irrigation lines laid, weed blocker down, seedlings transplanted, weeding & watering), campgrounds must be weed-whacked every 8-10 days, some woodwork around camp may need a fresh coat of paint at some point during the summer, the micro-hydropower system catch tank will need clearing periodically, and if there's nothing else to do (HA!), putting up firewood is a perpetual chore! Confidence using power tools, chainsaws, & a log splitter is essential. Also, our flock of birds must be fed & watered daily and occasionally the coops must be cleaned out.
Volunteers & interns will be incorporated into our family & as such will be expected to respect the other members' personal space, keep their own private space tidy, & participate in a rotation of the cooking duties. If you don't really know HOW to cook, no worries...You'll LEARN! :-) Our diets are becoming more & more plant-based, so vegans & vegetarians are welcome, & we are excited to learn new recipes from you!
Whale watching just outside Dry Spruce Bay.
There will be plenty of time off for recreation & relaxation. Staff members are encouraged to do plenty of hiking on the myriad of game trails in the area, and to take one of our two-person kayaks out in our "front yard" to get a closer look at the nearby bird rookery, home to Tufted Puffin, Kittiwakes, & sea otter moms with their ADORABLE fuzzy babies on their bellies, or to circumnavigate one or more of the outlying small islands.
Staff members are also welcome to take some time to ply the waters for salmon, halibut, cod, & more, provided that they have purchased the appropriate fishing licenses before arriving at Alderwood. Often visitors find it convenient to purchase their sport fishing licenses on-line prior to arriving on Kodiak Island. If you wish to do so, here's a handy link to the AK Fish & Game website: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=license.main .
Because we live right in the middle of bear country, we have also had multiple opportunities to observe the incredibly beautiful Kodiak brown bear at close range! Check out this young fella who was chowing down on the previous day's fish carcasses a few years back:
After a long day of physical labor, it's incredibly therapeutic to spend some time sweating in the "banya," a local term for a wood-fired sauna. This is primarily how we bathe, as it literally cleans your body from the inside-out! Especially if you have the cajones to run from the 140-degree steam room & jump in the 38-degree creek! We predict you will find this to be one of the high points of your visit.
A great deal of firewood must be put up over the course of the summer, as it is our custom to take a banya nearly every night, & two of the cabins are heated by woodstoves. Staff members must therefore be comfortable/proficient with the use of a chainsaw & a log-splitter!
Stan & I can easily spend an hour or more sweatin' up a storm, then taking a breather on the deck.