My first job was to volunteer to help when we got home. I checked the website and sent off an email, offering my services as a physician. I was told that they did not need doctors; they needed vets. I asked how I could get out on the trail and was told that I had to be a vet, a dog handler with 5 years experience, or work in communications and have a HAM Radio License. I opted to get my HAM radio license, since it was the quickest way to the trail and was something I had wanted to do, anyway. I finally was contacted that I could work as a Trail Guard for the Ceremonial Start in Anchorage. That was enough for me. I scheduled a week off and went to Anchorage the first week-end in March.
I did not get out on the trail, in 2005, but did meet some HAM radio operators and got to work in the headquarters as well as in the starting gate for the restart. I spent the remainder of the week driving around Alaska. I had rented a car and drove to Fairbanks. I got to see a bit of the International Ice Sculpture Competition as well as the interior of Alaska in the dead of winter. I got a new appreciation for Alaska during this trip and for the first time in my life felt totally isolated. I stopped at the Princess Hotel at the entrance to Denali and realized that I was the only one around for possibly 50 miles. What had been bustling with people 8 months before, during the tourist season was closed with no one and nothing else in sight for miles. Driving 450 miles on the road from Anchorage to Fairbanks I only passed about a dozen vehicles, mostly trucks, all heading south to Anchorage. As I walked around the car and over to the closed stores, I realized that I could be attacked by wild animals and would be defenseless. I might never be found.