Ashley Selden

An Alaskan Migration

Holding Down The Fort

If you happened to drive past our driveway last night around 1am you may have seen a lady trying to get comfortable enough to sleep in the front of a single cab pickup, trying to wiggle and scrunch between the door and a babies car seat. She probably looked like an overtired, hairy legged hobo. That was me.

Last week we drove down to the East ramp float pond in Fairbanks to drop Tyler off for his flight out to our trapline to do some cabin work at our lake site. Sydney is already familiar with small aircraft as a 1 year old and loves to be around them. He loaded up his gear and got in while I drove with Sydney a little further down the pond so we could have a good view of the takeoff. As the plane became air born Sydney pointed and proclaimed, ‘bird’. The next day was the beginning of a very hectic week for me.

Chores around here while toting Sydney around are a full time job with overtime. Day one, I saw rain was coming in the forecast so decided to punch out a whole bunch of laundry to use up the rainwater and make room for the fresh. I transplanted dozens of strawberry plants into a new larger bed. I sliced 20 lbs of onions for the dehydrator to start our food prep for next winter. Then the basic chores remained, taking care of our 8 dogs, feeding chickens and collecting the eggs, garden care, clean the rental next door and cooking.

Day 2 started out with a radio announcement that frost was expected overnight. I spent 2 hours that day hooping and covering the entire garden and moving hanging baskets indoors to save all vegetable life. That night, not only did frost strike but Sydney’s teething did too. We woke up at 2 am to fevers and cries of pain. Sydney has a record of having a hard time teething. Back in February she got 3 upper teeth at once and was feverish for 3 days. Not a low grade fever either, I’m talking 103, and 104 temps. Doctors don’t believe me that this is due to teething. They will tell me it’s a virus, but I am her mother and I know.

Day 3, I cleaned the daily rental next door with a crying and complaining child. The rest of the week was a sleepless and feverish haze. After the 3rd night in a row of fevers and crying I decided to take her in to 1st care just to be sure she was going to be OK. Her ears were checked and fine, lungs, heartbeat, oxygen levels, all good. They even catheterized her to get a clean urine sample to test for infection, and as I suspected nothing came of it and she just checked in as a healthy baby girl with a high fever. So I asked the doctor if this is just from teething and he refused to agree with me saying that it was likely a virus. I know he’s wrong. ‘How do you explain this same exact episode of high fevers for 3 days last February when we had absolutely no contact with other people for literally months?’ , I asked him.  He didn’t have anything to say to that.

Sydney is current on all of her immunizations. I thought hard about whether or not to give her all of the modern day vaccination. In my early 20’s I worked for 5 years on and off with people who had severe intellectual disabilities and there were a few individuals who’s lives were changed for the worse due to vaccination side affects. I figured the risk of disease was worse, in the end, than the risk of the vaccinations. I could have freaked myself out with information on the internet if I had wanted to, but know that if you go looking for trouble that you can find it anywhere. I just had to make my decision without overthinking it too much. I’m glad I’ve chosen to vaccinate but I also couldn’t help but wonder if Sydney wasn’t sick from side affects of the MMR vaccine she received two weeks ago. We ruled that out at 1st care as well.

I was missing Tyler, stressed out and sleep deprived. The doctor didn’t have much sympathy for me but the wonderful nurse did. She gave me a hug, took my glassed off, wiped them clean, then gently placed them back on my ears. She recognized me from the show right away so I knew she would understand when I told her I hadn’t heard from Tyler when I was supposed to and I was really worried about him too. It’s hard to be so worried about the two people you love most in the world.  This situation gave me empathy for families that are separated in any way. Life is so much harder when a family isn’t together.

On the ride home from the doctor Sydney fell asleep in the car seat and when I pulled into the driveway I just reclined my seat and tried to take a nap. When she woke up crying 20 minutes later I forgot I had been listening to the radio and walked away from the car. That night at 11:30 I was desperate for some sleep and Sydney was once again inconsolable.  I decided to try taking her for a ride and then maybe sleep in the car for a while. When I got out to the car I realized I had drained the battery when I left the radio on earlier that day so my only option was to take the truck which isn’t  very good for sleeping quarters. She did fall asleep and I did try but eventually had to take her out and go back into the house where we got a few hours of z’s eventually.

Tyler and his best friend working out at our trapline this June. Note the skeeter shadow at the top of the photo. They were tormented the whole time!

The night Tyler was expected to come home plans fell through. The pilot was weathered in at Barter Island. The next day he didn’t make it home either, Fairbanks was very windy and completely socked in with smoke blown in from a large wildfire near Minto. Finally 3 days from the day I expected him home the weather was good and Daddy came home in time for Fathers Day weekend. He was excited and full of stories from his time at the lake. I sure appreciate having a man around here!


  1. Ashely, I’m in the UP and just stocked up on Pasties! I love the stories, keep ‘em coming!

    • admin

      July 2, 2018 at 9:36 PM

      Will, so glad to hear from you! Thanks for reading. Everyone had great input on this last one since teething is universal!!!!

  2. Ashley, I’m sorry you had such a hard time! As a mother of 4 I know exactly what it was like. When You have days like that don’t stress over everything else at the same time. Onions can wait, but yes I understand covering your veggies. I am very glad you decided to Vaccinate! When my oldest son was 9 months old he was a bit fussy 1 morning then threw up a bit. Like you I knew my son was off. For 9 months he had never been sick or fussy. So I took his temp 105.00..what?? I thought it was broken so asked my girlfriend who lived next door to borrow hers..105. again. UH OH. Well, after being in 1 hospital and rushed by ambulance to another I was told my son had Meningococcal Meningitis and that he was dying and probably wouldn’t last the night. I yelled at the Dr that he would NOT die! ( here I was a 100 lb 21 yr old haha) Well he didn’t but we spent 2 weeks in the hospital most in ICU. We were lucky, this was 41 yrs ago and penicillin still worked. Now they have vaccines for kids to get around 12 I think. I would not wish this on any parent! We have vaccines for a good reason, yes, some kids may have reactions but I think the #’s are very small. Kids have reactions that can be fatal or life changing over a moskito..we can’t stop our children from being exposed to everything. We just have to protect them the best we can with what is out there. Meanwhile load Tyler up with chores..with baby haha, and you go spend a day visiting friends or family or whatever is relaxing. You earned it! Hugs to Sydney ..Take Care! Debbie

  3. Love all your posts sorry for your the stressful time you had. You made a good decision about vaccinating your daughter. The benefit far outweighs the risks. When do you head out to your trapline?

    • admin

      July 15, 2018 at 3:27 PM

      Hey there Chuck, thanks for reading. The Penny Hoarder article should be coming out in September. We will be gone then so I won’t get to see how they did till next spring. It’s always interesting to see how other people choose to edit and interpret our lives! That’s part of the reason I started this blog, to give myself a voice in all of this public interest I felt I was due some of my own interpretation on things. I also want to say thanks to all fans and sorry that I don’t have time to personally get back to people. I can’t even keep up with some of my most personal and intimate relationships in life.

  4. Off subject sorry.
    I wanted to know how since everyone on the show is so far away from each other. How do you know each other?

    • admin

      July 20, 2018 at 4:29 PM

      It’s a small world after all. All of us trappers tend to be interested in meeting each other since we have a lot in common and relatively speaking, we are living in the same region so we’ve always known about each other through word of mouth and hearing messages for folks living in the woods on a radio program on am called Trap line Chatter. Everyone comes into Fairbanks at some point during the summer to resupply at the very least and we try to get together then and have a good “bullshit” session. It’s not like we are on Mars! Just close.

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