Northern Lights

Woke up at 2 in the morning to -20 F degrees and the sound of auroras. There were some pretty blue and purple streaks happenin.  



Day 3: Free and Wild Sled Dogs

Here's lookin out the bedroom window. I'm about 3 meters off the ground and just able to see over the snow drift. There is snow on the bedroom floor around the door and corners. 

Beautiful morning colors every day so far.

Deja vu. Wasn't I just here three summers ago cooking the exact same thing at the exact same time of day?

Out of the blue... like literally... the chef comes in asks if I want to go visit Mr. B and his free and wild puppies. Odd question to ask at an Arctic research station that studies mostly squirrels and loons while be surrounded by wolves and bears, but sure!

Learned how to harness the wolfy dogs to the sled today :) Only got peed on twice!


The Antarctic Cowboy has Returned...

But, I am cooking in the Arctic at Toolik Field Station, not Antarctica. Last year's chef gig on a small Russian vessel in Antarctica gave me the heebie jeebies about that southerly penguin wonderland. I've put the South Pole career back into freezer for the time being. When I left the port of Ushuaia, Argentina in January of 2013 I flew to New York, where I met my wife at the airport and we flew together to Hawaii to give the island lifestyle a try. After weeks of camping on beaches and job searching I landed a gig on the south shore of Kauai as a pastry chef. Months later our beautiful baby Rosa Kai Lee came to be. My whole life changed then. I couldn't handle the stress of the kitchen at the time and wanted to peek into a new career, something outdoors and new, and something that would feed my family directly and encourage an active lifestyle. Luckily, a local organic farmer was in need of an apprentice. I became his left hand and he taught me how to grow fancy lettuces, herbs, edible flowers, microgreens, bananas, avocados, cocoa trees, coffee and the list goes on. He taught me a lot more than market gardening and have confidence that if given one acre of healthy soil in a temperate or tropical envionment with fresh water available, I could co-create a homestead for my family. Organic farmers don't make much money often, but they sure do know how to live. 

Anyways, that's the past and here a new journey begins. From Hawaii to Ohio to Toronto to Anchorage, where I bartered my cooking skills for a bed while the TV peoples had their way with me. You can read all about that in the previous post. 

Three days ago I bid farewell to my host in Anchorage and flew to Fairbanks to take my food safety managers exam. I aced the test yesterday and this morning I jumped on a truck to go do what I am being called to do, cook for scientists in the Arctic.

If I could telepathically transfer my thoughts and feelings about doing this line of work, while being a new daddy and married the most beautiful and big hearted woman on Earth that's now 5,000 miles away from me, cyberspace and all the human neurons watching would go supernova. It brings tears to my eyes even just writing that and thankfully this room has a space heater so these tears of love won't freeze like they have been. I tried looking at the pictures of Hawaii to cheer me up, but it did just the opposite. Phrases of elders come to mind during emotional times... 'distance makes the heart grow fonder', 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger', 'it is what it is', or simply put, as my grandfather told me, "you're following your heart to do what's best for your family in the long run and you'll be okay."

Ah. Deep breath. This is tough. I dream of a wood cabin, a small farm, a sustainable community around and an environment so pure that my daughter won't have to confront pollution, violence and excess materialization. I'm an Aquarius and this dream must be very sky high because I've spent the last couple years seeking and although I get close to actualizing that dream, like on the farm in Hawaii, the face of the dollar bill comes into play and the neighboring cultures everywhere I go seem confused as to which way they should go. We grow our own food, find water and get 'free' health care, but then how to pay for all the other expenses that crop up? Like... the costs of transportation, diapers, bottles, blankets, crib, car seat, phone calls, electricity, fishing rods, cooking knives, manure, candles, compost, seeds, boots, school, backpack, vinegar, medicine and all that basic stuff our lives depend on. Much less, to purchase natural and organic nowadays is more costly than buying mechanically processed and genetically modified. We could make our own candles, collect wild seeds, make cloth diapers, etc., but where is that knowledge being taught at? Where has that knowledge gone? Can someone please teach me how to chip flint into a nice knife? Wait a minute, I don't have the time to learn that because I am busy holding a job to make a paycheck to pay for all those things. What mother or father has the time to sew cloth diapers, change the diapers, feed the chickens, till the fields, feed ourselves and then have the money to pay to mortgage, electric bills and yada yada without pulling out a loan from a bank? Yes, it takes a tribe to raise a child, but, where have all the tribes gone to?

With every step in life there are an unlimited amount of lessons to be learned and only a completely open mind can see the art of natural survival. I define natural survival as all those nuggets of traditional knowledge and practices that have been passed down from generations before us, going all the way back to when homo sapiens came to be, that allow us to live in harmony with nature without the use of modern day technologies. Natural survival depends upon a trust and respect for nature.

To survive in this modern world, we rely on wheels. What's a wheel? What types of wheels are there? Can you build a wheel? Caveman learned to build a wheel and I've seen relics of stone wheels used in ancient civilizations in Mexico, Honduras, Belize and Peru. If you asked a freshman in high school to go out into the mountains and harvest a good stone and build a wheel or 'runner stone' for a gristmill to grind amaranth seeds for tonight's bread, they'd probably jump on their portable device and Google how to do it. Okay, well, that's a start. Thoughts need to turn to action. First you have to locate the proper stone and that probably is the knowledge of old school stonemasonry. Then, how to shape the stone using other stones? Making a wheel is not as easy as it seems. Ancient knowledge and wisdom needs to be resurrected and reintroduced into the average school curriculum, because the way I see it, if we can't teach our kids how to be self-sustainable and use the tools of nature, then we lose our creative, holistic selves and come to depend on machines or money to do the work for us.

My role in all this is to soak in every drop of traditional knowledge I can. When I cooked for bear hunters I learned how to hand skin a bear and salt the hide. When I farmed in Hawaii I learned how to sheet compost using nothing but natural ground cover to provide all the nutrients to soil and crops. When my truck broke I called the local mobile mechanic and instead of letting him do the dirty work, I got right in and under the car with him to teach myself. Here at an Arctic research station I'm ready to not only cook, but to learn more about this wild place. The scientists soon-to-be here will be accompanied by BBC film crews coming up to film this year to capture the life of the Arctic squirrel. These squirrels are unique because their body temperature go below freezing during it's winter hibernation, and then thaw and come back to life in the spring. Wow. Maybe the Eskimo have survived for thousands of years in the Arctic by watching how the squirrels migrate to their hibernaculum during winter. The old ones taught themselves by watching nature. Mother Earth is our blanket, our teacher, our pharmacy and our grocery. We can begin to respect and take care of her by opening up our minds and going out into nature, carrying our hearts and thanksgiving.

Ah, that's right, this is 2014. Maybe we've passed a multi-dimensional phase in human evolution where there is no going back to the 'old' ways. Climate change is evident, forests (lungs) are being cut down, 25 to 100 types animals go extinct each day and I foresee no stalling of all the mining and drilling that takes place to fuel societies material needs. Stay tuned because the drones are coming. Armchair science has just been kicked up a notch with these machines and I am curious to see how they are used to do field studies. What used to be explorers jumping on a hand-built wooden ship to sail the seas to study the globe turned into mechanized boats and underwater robots used to do the same job, and what used to be a mountain man climbing the highest peak to survey the land with a compass has been replaced with airplane and satellite mapping, which is now being transformed more so with the advent of unmanned aircraft and complex software. Ain't gonna have to face any of them grizzly bears if flying above them!

I don't want to be a downer, I just want to speak of what I observe and bring it to the surface. I hope that my child can experience all the natural wonders and tastes that my parents, and grandparents, have shared with me throughout my life. The reason I travel to exotic and far off places is to witness and share with the world traditional knowledge, so that decades down the road we have evidence of what was and what can be. One couple can live off one acre of land in Hawaii using simple machines and hand tools to grow 100% organic produce without the use of chemicals. And not only that, by selling to local restaurants they can make $110,000 to support their workers and local community, as well as pay for all the utility bills and taxes. I've seen it happen and I have a rough idea as do how to do it. It takes dedication and full commitment. If you leave the farm for just one week the wild will creep back in and act as if no human was ever there. The growing conundrum though is climate change and the speed at which invasive species travel the globe. One banana skipper can wipe out an entire farm of banana trees. One hurricane can setback all farm operations for at least 6 months. Thus, I feel it unwise to put all the piggies in one bank. Must keep all avenues open and be a jack of all trades, grow a variety of things, but keep your water resources tight, because water dictates everything on our blue planet. If I can't drink water out of a well, stream or tap without crazy filtration involved, then I'm moving on to some place I can. It's an inalienable right for life to be able to drink water straight from the Earth.

From Fairbanks north I ride. Here's one of the few stops along the way named Coldfoot.

Truckers transfer fuel and goods from Fairbanks to the North Slope along the notorious haul road. These guys and gals are the 'ice truckers'.

White spruce trees become smaller and patchy the further up you go.

After about 5 hours of driving there are no more trees, mostly rock and snow.

Our ascent up the Atigun pass, which leads us into the Brooks Range.

All along the way the pipeline follows the haul road.

The driveway to Toolik.

Here's my temporary residence for the summer.

A fresh room with a new mattress and space heater.

When the station population ramps up with college students, there will be lots of us using the backdoor.

Very little of the station is accessible. There's another month left before all this snow gets cleared and melts away. Summer will come quick and with a bank. The temperature right now is -25 F and two months from now it will be well into the 80s.

And then there were 12 of us. 4 guys take off on a 900-mile traverse to take lake sediment samples and ice cores tomorrow. 12 - 4 = 8 mouths to feed. So, for the next little while we will be keeping things on the low down. But, when summer comes, the users will come in truckloads.

This post has been from the heart, personal and philosophical, albeit I'm just here to cook and help feed my family. It's quite an odd state of affairs to be at the North Pole in order to make a living, especially when three months ago everything I needed to eat, drink and live off the land was in a 5-mile radius of me in Hawaii. As mentioned before, one can live off the land, it just gets complicated when the modern materialized world comes knocking at the door asking for a payment. My goal is to temporarily save what I can and then migrate once again, hopefully to a place that fulfills our dreams and feels like home. 

Over and out, Cody Lee. 


Stirring the Wild Pot of Alaska 2014

Two days ago the TV concept a producer told me that he wanted to see was for me to harvest something from the wild and cook it in a local kitchen here in Anchorage. Despite being jet lagged and having a bit of a cold from my 15-hour flight I was pumped to take on this challenge.

I woke up yesterday with the rising sun and walked into the solar light beams as they lit the dusty city streets. I headed north a few miles to the nearest park on a mission to find anything edible, something to show me the first signs of spring. There's at least two feet of snow pack yet to melt and a quick look at the spruce trees shows no signs of the tips being ready to pick. I planned on making a spruce tip syrup and drizzle it on some Kodiak scallops. I cannot find green spruce tips anywhere, so that recipe was scratched from my mental menu. Although, one could use a handful of premature brown, hard tips and probably get the same flavour. There is a difference in sucrose production as the sap begins to run throughout the tree. I tasted the brown tips and they are very sweet.The earlier the sweeter I guess, but too early in the season is just too early, and I don't want to have to harvest more only to get the same effect as harvesting less later on. The tips are necessary for the tree to survive.

What about mushrooms.. maybe morels would be early? After an hour of investigating the spruce trees I went further into the park and more upland where the slope faces the south, the sun. I dug around the bases of the dead hardwood trees the way hungry squirrels do it. Nothing. At least nothing I know to eat. I looked a bit more upwards from the ground and saw some clingers on a stump, but they were not for eating and when I touched them they were frozen... old ones from last fall.

All of a sudden I felt eyes behind me and I turned around to see a native man in a black hoodie staring at me about 10 yards away. Smells like trouble. The homeless squat in the woods in Anchorage, while others hang outside the front of liquor stores asking for smokes often. If I was homeless, actually, I am somewhat until I get to Toolik... I would live in the woods and find a way to survive.

Anyways, my first thought was this guy was just observing me from behind, in the woods. Freaky. Stopping his gaze at me he looked down and laughed, then made conservation. A deeper look at him made me think that he's only a few years older than me. He asked me what I was doing. At first I didn't hear him. What you say? He lifted his arm up and pointed to the sky and asked, what... is... up? I said I'm looking for mushrooms. He goes, you're not from here are you? Depends on what you mean by 'here', I replied. He goes on to tell me nothing happens until May. I said that's what I thought given the only shrooms I found were frozen, but someone has to be first to find the first morel, right? His eyes were really squinted and direct.  He pulled out a cell from his pocket and started to text someone. I began to feel uneasy since I had been out in the woods for hours and was he stalking me all along? He looks up from his cell and asks if I have a gun. That's an odd question to ask in the middle of the woods. In Alaska if you're over 21 and don't have a criminal record you can own and a carry a gun, but I still felt this as a red flag. Should I have a gun? Time to bail. No words necessary, I smell trouble and my wolf-like instincts are never wrong. Without saying anything I began walking away as if I just confronted a bear. I kept a close eye on my back and no longer saw him once I got a hundred feet into the trees.

I quickly made my way out of the forest by tracking the snow prints I left behind while walking into the woods. I came to a bike trail and saw a few bikers and joggers in the distance. Didn't find anything to eat in the woods, but so be it. I set foot on the bike trail towards the main road and turned around a ways down just in time to catch a glimpse of the native man walk out of the woods to the creek across the bike trail. Another person came up out of the thicket along the banks of the creek. They were far away, yet after a second of looking back I saw the forest watcher point his hand towards me. I put my nose back to the trail and never looked back.

After a 10 minute jog I begin to hear traffic. I think to myself that the road is warm and maybe some spring greens are popping out of the soil. The soil.. is still frozen, everywhere. It's Alaska after all. I find a crick near the road and begin to walk it's banks. I spot some green shinning beneath a birch tree. It's beautiful baby plantain (plantago major) leaves... perfect for a garnish for some scallops. Plantain likes to grow near roadsides and has been used for centuries as a poultice to treat infected wounds. I decide to leave them untouched in case the film crew wants to see me pick them. Excited to have found something not frozen and edible (and medicinal) I head back to the city and detour to an organic food store where I buy the ingredients to cook birch syrup glazed scallops, tempura halibut cheeks, spaghetti squash fritters and sauteed garlic shitake mushrooms.

Walking back to the Inn from the store I notice winterized rose hips hanging on the bushes. I've used rose hips before for relaxing teas. I find their medicinal effects on my body are like passion flower and sedative. Parking lots here are surrounded by native trees and bushes for ornamental purposes, but they may also have edible and medicinal qualities to them. Shortly after the rose hip sighting I came across fir trees that have green tips. Awesome. If it comes down to it I could pick a few of these right along the road and toss them in a ACV vinegar reduction sauce while it's simmering just to give it an extra kick of spring flavour.

Back in my room I unpacked the food and put it along my windowsill, which is the way an Alaskan fridge works. Wild ingredients have been found, even if they are next to roads, and I've acquired ingredients to cook a variety of dishes, so, I only need a kitchen to perform at. I jumped onto my bed office and contacted everyone I know in Anchorage to see if I can use their kitchen to stage. I considered all possibilities, including, cooking at a local cooking school or asking a restaurant to borrow their kitchen after hours. All my buddies I ask didn't want to hassle with a camera crew, but were more than happy if I cooked for them. Sigh. There is a kitchen in the Inn I am staying at, but it's a very busy spot and super small. I spent hours emailing and calling around, in between contacting folks I drew up dish presentations and wrote out recipes for the menu items I want to cook.

This morning I woke up at 6:00 AM with no further luck in finding a kitchen to cook at. Have I let the producer down? Heck, I should have brought my 12" cast iron skillet. This way I could build a fire somewhere and cook outside. Real wilderness cuisine.

I read my only email in the inbox and see that the producer is going to pick me up in a couple hours to go to a fish processing company. He wants me to explore the ocean-to-table concept and all the elements involved. I ask if I should bring my ingredients and knives. He says sure, just in case.

I throw on my hoodie and boots and walk across the street to get a cup of coffee. Then I see a truck pull into the hotel parking lot. The driver smiles and waves at me. He rolls down the windows and asks, Cody? Yup. Jump in. He's not the producer, but is part of the team and lives in Anchorage. I get in and a dog named Buddy hops on my lap and starts kissing me. Hair everywhere, but I don't mind. I laugh and pet him. Not what I had expected, but totally feels normal. We begin to talk story about our lives and what we do. After a couple minutes of driving we pull into the fishing company. It's a small city. He says the film crew isn't there yet. I start getting a bit nervous as I see fish cutters behind the windows working quickly and folks walking in and out with fish boxes. What am I to say? How am I going to pull the answers out of the magic hat that the producer is looking for? A truck pulls in next to us with four dudes in it. They're here.

The producer steps out and shakes my hand and says let's go meet Skip the owner of the company. Skip was waiting for us. He is a smiley fellow with many stories. He tells us that the company has meat and fish lockers where locals and visitors can store their moose, caribou, halibut, black bear... even dog if need be. I ask if grizzly bear meat is a commonly stored item. He says no and that's because grizzly meat is far more fishy than black bear since black bears have a diet consisted of berries and vegetation whereas grizzlies tend to eat mostly salmon. I've tried grizzly bear (meat from the skull to be exact) while I was chef at the Dog Salmon Hunting Camp and it was rather 'stinky' tasting. While Skip is talking about the fish and game lockers I look around and see all eyes on us. Best I not look around I suppose. Welcome to showbiz. One of the cameramen pops his head through the door and says, let's get Cody Lee mic'd up. I walk outside and he hooks a microphone to my collar and puts the recorder in my pocket. He picks up the cam and asks me to walk to the door and enter. Let the show begin.

Once inside I greet Skip, again. Two cameras in action and dozens of eyes watching. I start asked a few basic questions. I feel rusty. It's been a while since I've been social, to say the least. Skip answers all my questions in absolute great detail and I think to myself that here's a true Alaskan. He loves what he does and chefs around the country depend on him for fresh Alaskan seafood. So much information is given in such a short time such that I don't know how to respond or where to go with the story in play. For instance, he tells me that in the wintertime king salmon can be caught, and can run for $40.00/lb at some retail outlets in the lower 48. I never even knew they fished for salmon in the winter. Where's that chalk board that has cues to what I'm supposed to say? I feel naked.

The producer jumps in and directs me to head into the cutting room with Skip. I walk in and confront Tito, the fastest fish cutter in town. He gives me a demonstration of filleting a king salmon. It brought back many memories of all the fish I filleted while cheffing at a fly-in Alaskan fishing lodge in 2012. Salmon is soooo good. I ask for a bite of it raw. He gives me a sliver. It tastes so greasy and I can feel the hit of omega-3s right away. I want more!!!

We move on to the packing room. I start feeling more comfortable and juiced. Maybe it's the king salmon running through my veins. I ask a bucket full of questions about the other types of seafood they handle and where it goes. I see shark listed on box and inquire. Tito explains that in southern Alaskan waters there's a shark that looks like a big salmon. Wow. I wonder what else is out there. After a bombardment of questions about the fish types and how they're packed Tito starts to look a bit tired of all the questions and Skip is eying me like it's time for them to really do some work. Okay. I get it. I wrap it up with some smiles and ending comments. Stayed tuned for ****** Alaska.

We're done with that segment.

Back in the parking lot the producer asks how I'm doing. I tell him I'm still waking up, but am getting there. Getting there somewhere.Getting to my core. Next stop is a nature park to do some biographical intro lines.

The driver takes me to Earthquake park, which is adjacent to two airports. A cameraman spots a twin cub flying overhead with snow/ice skis on it and he's like what the heck is that? He's from New York and I doubt they even fly float planes there, so a plane with skis would definitely be something different. I further explain that to get to Antarctica we cruise in heavy duty military aircraft that take off on wheels in New Zealand and land on the ice on skis. When the ski twin cub is out of ear sight I begin introducing myself to camera and tell the invisible audience what I'm doing here in Anchorage. My brain is all foggy. This darn cold. Why now? I haven't been ill for years and now this? I say time out and explain to the producer that I have all these thoughts in my head, yet they won't come out of a my mouth. I'm tongue-tied. He says, it's not about what I think, it's what's in my heart that matters. He tells me that he can read my passion for sustainable and wilderness cooking in Alaska in my emails and that I need to speak from within. He wants me to focus on how Alaskans rely upon the wilderness for sustenance. I love this sort of lifestyle. Love. My heart begins to open and the words start flowing out like melted butter.

My final statement was bang on and the producer gave me a high five. Bingo. A deep breath. Just breathe. Game on. Let's do more!!! I said I could for a coffee to warm up and all agreed.

We hit up a local coffee joint. At the counter the barista goes, so what TV show are you guys doing? Haha, are we that obvious? I take a look around and see locals dressed in their daily attire making easy conservation. They are all colorfully dressed, and we are decked out in total black with electronic gadgets hanging off our belts. A lady behind the counter calls my order for a dark roast black as black can get coffee. I pick it up and notice a massive map on the wall. I walk over to it and point out all the locations I've cooked at in Antarctica and tell stories that make them shrivel in their seats. I ask the table of TV people why no one has shot a series down there. One of them gives me his opinion and says he feels that there's not much of a human culture to capture on film, only penguins and snow, well yeah, but if he only knew what I've seen people do way down south. Right when I was going to tell him about the 300 Club the producer comes to the table and says let's roll.

The final shoot is at a food truck outside a big corporate building in Anchorage. There's at least two dozen customers lined up when we get there. It's rush hour lunch time. Dang. Well, let's eat lunch, too. We jump street to the Pita Pit where it's also bustling inside. We fill our holes with easy greasy goodness and share jokes. A camera dude spends the majority of lunchtime showing cool tattoos on his portable device to the other camerman across the table from him. You know what, these TV people are humans too. I give them credit for stepping out of the box and taking the time to capture what it is our culture is made up of. It feels like they are old friends from some long time ago in history.

1 o'clock... time to bounce. We pack up and leave. As we walk out the door I notice, again, that all eyes are on us once as if Elvis has just left the building. Walking back to the car I say to myself, I'm just a cook, father, husband and love nature...

Back at the food truck, there's only one lady in line. Looks like lunch is over and everyone is back in their cubicles. We meet the chef and toss a mic on her like it's no big deal. I'm told to walk from behind the truck to the counter and ask to see what's cooking. They tell me to count to 10 before I start walking. I walk behind the food truck and in the shadow begin counting to 10. Those 10 seconds felt like eternity. I can do this. This is what Anthony Bourdain and Guy on TV. Somehow they came to mind, though I don't have a television. Channel the pros I thought. I walk around to the front like I was a mission to unveil the best tasting dish in America. Is Chef Kathy around? She comes up the window. Hey, I'm Cody Lee, it's smells good out here, can I come in to see what's cookin? Absolutely come right on in.

Inside the food truck she gets right to cooking a salmon sandwich and while she's as busy as a bee I tap into her passions for cooking local food. We discuss Alaska's greenhouse farming and where the meat for the caribou burger comes from. I throw in some of my experiences as a chef in Alaska and what I know about sustainable cooking. We see eye to eye on this subject. The sandwich is done and she hands it to me. The grand finale I thought. This morning we saw the fish being filleted and now it's going into my body. Thank you Salmon. First bite and the sauce oozes out of the sandwich on to the floor and I munch away making primal grunts of pleasure. I describe the tastes and textures. It's very delicious and although I just ate lunch I could eat again.

After the salmon sandwich I ask for a caribou burger, which she calls a 'bou' burger. It's another masterpiece and tastes like a bacon melt patty with loads of hot provolone. In fact, when she hands me this one it was steaming so much in the cold truck that I have to comment on it. Despite being in such a small kitchen with a big hot griddle that takes up half the space it's really cold with the service windows open. You'd have to eat hearty burgers to keep warm I say on camera. Soon after I wipe the juices from my lips we conclude and end the shoot.

Outside the truck the producer says I did it. The truck scene came together so easy and it felt as if I have been working there for years. I owe it all to Chef Kathy, she gave us her free-time to show a few dishes and discuss Alaskan food with me in front of cameras.

They tell me that it's now up to the networks to decide what happens next. I bid farewell to TV team as they wiggle back into their fully loaded vehicle and I hop back into the truck with Buddy. Buddy's master drives me to the Inn and I grab my ingredients and knife bag out of the dog kennel in the back. He put the bag in the kennel so the dog wouldn't eat anything. I walk upstairs to return to my bedroom and put the bag down. I put the ingredients back on the windowsill. Well, I didn't need this stuff after all, but what did happen today was even better. Free food and I learned a lot about wild Alaskan fish and food. I even learned a few nuggets of lifelong wisdom about speaking from the heart.

Who knows what next?


New Beginnings

Ahead lies a storybook full of Hawaiian and Alaskan adventures with a baby named Rosa. Not sure if I have the time to dive right into the heart of book writing, or blogging, but we'll see what happens.


The End of the Antarctic Cowboy

More than four years in the making, this blog has served as a means for me to share my life experience on Earth. It began as a single post from a hotel room in Denver, the night before I departed to Antarctica to cook for my very first time on the Ice. It now ends as a story of completion and unity. From north pole to south pole I have traveled each year in search of a place to call home, and here, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I found home. The tribe my wife and I live with on the island of Kauai has roots that pre-date that early Polynesian explorers. The stories the whales speak of are of ancient wisdom and practices that open the pathways for sustainable living and environmental peace. The life we are living is the way we can move into the future without any regrets or negative karma. May the lessons of the past - the scientists of the South Pole, penguins of the Antarctica peninsula, sleeping in a Scott tent under the darkest, driest and coldest of all places on our planet, living in the Arctic tundra with squirrels that can freeze completely over winter and then come back to life in the spring, bartering with Alaskan natives for sun dried wild salmon and porcupine stew, seeing the wildest of places become colonized and objects of tourism, and all the physical, mental and spiritual challenges I have faced in the Polar regions and much more - be tales nestled in a book I am going to write. The Journey, the Life, the Revelations of the Antarctic Cowboy. 

Now - at home on an island in the Great Pacific with my life companion, I put this blog to rest and begin a new chapter. No more Antarctica for this cowboy, Hawai'i is where I am to be.  

Aloha and mahalo.