Ptarmigan Tracks

The Newsletter of Camp Denali,
North Face Lodge & Parkside Guest House

Online Version 2019

Gratitude and Farewells


During new staff orientation, owner Simon Hamm often shares the following quotes, attributed to Vincent Van Gogh: "Great things are done by a series of small things brought together." Our staff is our annual proof that small tasks, intentional work and commitment to community are what enable our success. We are grateful for the extensive contributions of this year's departing staff and for the ever-growing thread that connects our staff as extended family all over the globe.

Pat Pyne, Camp Denali staff in the 1960s and 70s, passed away at her home in Fairbanks on January 9th, 2019. Ginny Wood describes Pat in the 1969 Tundra Telegram's staff recap: "...back for her second season as a hiking and nature-lore guide, driver, and an indispensable cog in the collective efforts that make Camp Denali operate." A Nova Scotia native, Pat joined the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II as a signals officer. Pat and her family moved to Fairbanks in 1963 where she pursued myriad outdoor adventures from mountaineering and marathons to mining.

At age 32, staff member Jim Horbett ('07, '08, '12) passed away on August 23rd in Buffalo, NY, from cancer. Jim brought a kind warmth and generous spirit to our community. His sister, Ellen, writes, "in his stints at Camp Denali, Jim experienced a sense of community that he endeavored to create in all his subsequent travels. His awe at nature's beauties, both great and minute, was infectious to those around him." Jim was also a fabulous musician. His band, Rain City Ramblers, recorded a bluegrass album in 2016, "Hateful Ways", available on


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© Sam Wilson