Doc Warner’s is a family run self-guided fishing lodge in South East Alaska. It’s located in Excursion Inlet, just east of Gustavus and Glacier Bay National Park. It’s a seasonal lodge running late May to the middle of September and it’s main office is in Bountiful, Utah. I worked there for 3 summers as their head chef and got to experience some amazing wildlife, met incredible people, and got to fish some of the best waters in all of South East Alaska. I met some life-long friends that I still keep in contact with. Here’s my 20!
1. Hooked into a sea lion with a halibut jig after it tried to steal my halibut. I never saw it again…
2. Almost ran into a breaching whale in a speeding boat careening through the water, potentially becoming a disastrous event.
3. Helped my sister catch a keeper king salmon, making us jump up and down like little girls in excitement.
4. Those countless times waking up wayyyy too early to go out fishing with anybody that would take me.
5 Being able to teach a cooking class on how to cook fish every Friday night for a bunch of the guests.
6. Learning how to fly fish, one of the most relaxing, yet frustrating, things I’ll ever do.
7. Getting to spend time in nature, learning about how nice doing nothing in a boat can be to your mental health.
8. Catching a 102 pound halibut, getting it all the way up to the boats edge only to have it take my line all the way down to the bottom of the ocean again. I eventually got it in the boat.
9. Jumping off giant 25 foot pylons jutting out of the ocean into the frigid water of the Pacific Ocean below.
10. I got to see so many bears that they became a regular part of my life.
11. Seeing hundreds of eagles devouring the leftovers of a 550 lbs. sleeper shark.
12. Getting the opportunity to be surrounded by dozens of beautiful humpback whales and orcas, solidifying my obsession with whales as a whole.
13. Being in the wilderness virtually cut off from most of society for the first time in my life.
14. Being able to share Alaska with family that hasn’t traveled that much, preserving memories we’ll all have for years to come.
15. Watched an eagle catch a fish, struggling to get out of the water, and eventually just swimming back to the shore with the fish in tow.
16. Walking down the hill to turn on the generator for the day at 3 AM in the pitch black of night, opening the door to the generator bathing myself in light, and noticed I was walking next to a black bear all the way down to the generator.
17. Meandering through the disconnected paths at the salmon cannery up the inlet from my lodge to reach a pristine lake to paddle boat in.
18. Wandering the shore line of the camp with my fishing pole in hand to catch some pink salmon to halibut fish with.
19. Getting lost in Juneau’s downtown while trying to find a place to eat or something to do in the days after leaving the lodge for the season.
20. Having to carry hundreds of pounds of filleted salmon and halibut home over a couple thousand miles on planes, taxis, and carts.