Wrangell Interview with Owner of 80 Acre Campsite in National Park
"I'm fairly well traveled and this is the best place I could find." -Jim D. As you can probably tell during the beginning of this episode, when I first met Jim, I thought uhhhh, okay this is going to be an interesting interview… And I was right. But I had no idea how much I would enjoy spending time with him. You can tell with his first sentence that he is a goofy guy, but what you probably don’t get is how he goes out of his way to help anyone and everyone that comes down that long winding 66 mile drive and finds themselves at the end of the road, at the 80 acre camp area he runs. As you can hear a couple minutes into the interview, he greets everyone the same way, with a joke and a smile, and everyone that I saw talk to him, walked away with a smile. And as a side note, I actually interview the women you hear Jim talking to, who is a tour guide that has been back many times with her groups and has a fascinating story. You also hear us attempt to chase off some bears, which is pretty entertaining. Most of the interview is just us chatting about his life on the camp ground, and you really get a peak into a typical day in his life. I got to hang out with Jim for hours that day. After the interview, he invited me into one of his buildings for coffee, he has a school bus and several little trailers all parked a short hike from the place were he greets the campers. We drank coffee and we talked about books, nature, loneliness, and life. We drove around the camp site, talked to a man that pulled a car out of a swamp, filled up Jim’s tires, and talked and talked until the sun went down. The next morning, when I woke up with a flat tire, I found a note on my window from Jim, who’d been monitoring the parking lot that morning it said, “come see me and we’ll fix up those flatties”. Oh and I got to meet his bunny, Dinner. Yes, he named his bunny Dinner. If you saw Jim, you might say that he looks like a rough mountain man with a big smile. He got extra lonely one day, living at the end of a long road in no where Alaska, and walked into a pet store (similar to what I did years ago on my 2 month road trip). Instead of a puppy that caught his eye, a bunny made him stop and smile. He picked up the white rabbit and held it in his arms. Not one, but THREE women came up to him and in horror asked if he was planning to eat that bunny. After the third time, he stopped being offended and just laughed it off, deciding to name his new companion Dinner. He is kind and goofy, and I hope you enjoy hearing this interview as much as I enjoyed recording it. Want to see more? Check out Nat Park Stories on Facebook and Instagram or on the Patreon Blog.