Story last updated at 7/25/2012 - 2:32 pm
Dylan Carleton is not one to pick sides - he wants everyone to be happy, but if you had a side, I'd recommend choosing this fellow. Go-lucky doesn't fully encompass the extent of a positive attitude Carleton has.
You can spot this 23-year old sporting long, wild and tangled hair, skate boarding around downtown, maintaining the City and Borough of Juneau's gardens or working at the Black Bear chairlift at Eagle Crest in the winter.
Upon learning of his mother's pregnancy, Carleton said his father approached her and said, "Do you want to move to New Hampshire with me?" and, as Carleton explained, "My mom was like 'No', and he was like 'peace.'" So Carleton was born and raised in a small town in Maine.
His mother married another man, and Carleton had a half sister when he was five. He remembers moving to different residences five times when he was in first grade, until his mother finally found a place she liked well enough to remain for ten years, though, at that point, his step father and mother had separated.
He met his father when he was ten, and started spending a week each summer with him and his wife. The couple had two daughters of their own. Carleton and his father worked on developing a relationship.
"I shot my first deer with him when I was 16," he said.
He spent his youth riding dirt bikes and fiddling around in his friend's garage.
"We built a go cart, bicycles; it was kind of ridiculous," Carleton said. "We blew stuff up, we shot stuff. We did everything. It was way cool. All the hand skills I have now I learned with my best friend in that garage."
After graduating high school Carleton attended a ten-month boat building school in Kennebunk, Maine.
"My mom wanted me to further my education," Carleton said. "I didn't know what to do. Building boats, that sounds really cool; I had never really been around boats much of my life."
While in school, Carleton excelled at working with fiberglass. The school hosted a job fair, and Carleton was presented with job opportunities in southern Maine, Rhode Island, Florida and Juneau.
"Rhode Island and Florida were repulsive to me," Carleton said. "Lots of people, drama, rats, cockroaches."
So he chose Juneau. He began working for Black Feather Boats, and after six months, returned to Maine to fetch his Siberian husky Nikki, and brought the dog up to Juneau with him. Three months after that, the company closed.
"It was rough," Carleton said. "When I lost my job it never occurred to me to leave Alaska."
A few months before the company closed, a red Toyota truck pulled into the parking lot.
"A guy got out and went to go talk to my boss about fiberglass work."
Carleton told the man that he was knowledgeable about fiberglass, and could help him out in the future. After the closure of Black Feather Boats, the man hired Carleton for some fiberglass work, and told him he would hire him as a deck hand for a season if Carleton could help him get his boat seaworthy. And he did.
"We rebuilt pretty much the entire boat," Carleton said. So he was green-lighted to fish.
"That summer was awesome," Carleton said. But he lost his dog when it was hit by a car.
"It broke my heart," he said. "I had also just ended a summer fling with a girl. I was barely scraping by on odd jobs."
That's when he began work for the Juneau's landscaping crew, where he's currently in his third season.
"The main activities are planting flowers and mowing [and] some conventional landscape work," Carleton said. "We get to do burials at the cemetery, that's fun."
In the winter of 2010, Carleton began his own fiberglass company. He took on small projects, fixing kayaks and other boats.
"It hasn't quite taken off," he said, though he's not giving up. This past spring he spent time working for a man in Haines, and this winter he has plans to do some fiberglass work in Wrangell.
But he admits that after his first season working at Eagle Crest last winter, he wouldn't mind remaining in Juneau.
"I kinda want to stay here and be a ski bum again. I became a better snowboarder than ever before."
Carleton dreams about making skis and snowboards.
"I have a lot of fiberglass molds," he said. "I have a snowboard mold already; I know all the processes and the materials."
Generally, he just enjoys building anything.
"Skiffs, houses, snowboards," Carleton said. "It doesn't matter. I just need a business partner, really."
Carleton said he doesn't actively seek out friends with particular qualities.
"I just let my friends come to me," he said. "If they're cool, they're cool."
When asked if he considers himself a hippy, Carleton responded, "Yeah, for sure." But he added, "I don't know how much I can call myself a hippy being a fiberglass person, you're making plastic."
Around two years ago a dog-sitting gig turned into the full time ownership of a malamute named Blaze.