Wind Down: The Jim Carrey Story

THE JIM CARREY STORY: We had heard that Jim Carrey, a comedian, was coming to Ultima Thule Lodge in the days after our visit there two weeks ago. But we had not heard the conditions. Ruedi Beglinger says his group was delayed a day at the cabin in Chitina (an unpleasant way to spend a night: no running water) because of this. What happened was that Carrey (along with his producer and psychiatrist) wanted the entire lodge to himself, and paid handsomely for it. So it seems as if the prior reservation of Beglinger was voided. The folks at the Lodge seemed to enjoy Carrey's company (he went hiking, camped on a glacier, accompanied Paul on a fuel-delivery run, etc). He had come in by private jet to Valdez. Ruedi's group was, in part, taken directly from Chitina to base camp, though there were weather issues and the second half of the group did not arrive until 7 or 8 hours after the first half.

The evening was a fine one at the lodge. We are introduced to Elly Claus's (14 years old) 28 sled dogs: She was 8th in the Junior Iditarod and trains with famed sledder Martin Buser. Clearly she can hardly wait until she is old enough (18) for the real Iditarod. She has already snowmobiled the entire 1000-mile course.

May 31: Katie, Leslie, and I, after a breakfast of eggs and caribou meat (the hunting guests over the summer care only for the heads of their quarry; the meat stays at the lodge), hiked to the waterfall. The trail was tough and we felt like we were passing a "stupid tourists' test", since we were given minimal directions. But we managed the roundtrip in 2.5 hours. Paul was busy with his FAA pilot's exam (he passed), and other Lodge personnel were busy with some natural resource folks who were advising them on issues relating the the fact that the eroding banks of the river were getting close to the lodge and runway. It seems clear that the Lodge will have to be moved uphill. The new, higher, runway is already built.

The flight to Chitina and drive (via cashless Doris -- we had to buy gas) to Anchorage was uneventful and we stopped at Brian's and then went to the Holiday Inn downtown. Amusing restaurant story: we were told that the best pizza place was the Olympia, but it was too far to walk. Katie called them and sweet-talked them into picking us up at the hotel, and delivering us back after dinner. In fact, we had a great dinner at this lovely family-owned Greek restaurant.
My phone call to Joan yields two nice bits of personal news: Long-time Mathematica course competitor John Miller has quit, and sent his people to us. So registrations for my July course are now up to a respectable 28, from the anemic 15 at Logan trip's start.

And the US national snow sculpture federation wants to (1) name our team as snow sculpture team of the month; and (2) issue to us an official invitation to the U.S. Olympic Trials in February, probably in Lake Placid. That is good news, as earlier discussions with that committee said we would have to go through a rigorous application process and we might be not accepted because of our inexperience.

June 1: Clean up gear and enjoy a day in Anchorage. My beard disappears at the hands of a barber at Art's shop. The owner has two brothers (Geber) who are guides in Banff. Dinner at Simon and Seafort's (excellent salmon) with Brian and Hilary. Depart for airport at 11 pm.

June 2: Arrive Denver. Joan meets me. Nice to be home, but also sad to be at the end of such a great adventure.

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