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Showing posts from November, 2012

Remembering Alaska - Part Three - Fishing

"Popcorn salmon", that's how Al Spalinger described our impending first encounter with the local silver salmon population.  Up early the next morning, we had to beat the incoming tide in order to be in position to intercept the fish.  Why popcorn salmon?  Well, you could see them coming.  Like surfers riding a wave, the swelling lagoon was alive with leaping and porpoising fish.  The water around us boiled as they passed.  Where fresh and salt water mingled, they paused and finned in the current before nosing their way further upstream.  

How to describe silver salmon.  How about finned dynamite?  Fresh? None fresher.  Hot?  Like steelhead, but beyond belief.  Aggressive?   Just drop a fly in the water and find out.  They promptly slashed at our hastily stripped flash flies.  Then it was a matter of hook 'em and hang on!  Just minutes out of the ocean, they knew where home was.  When they got barbed, they wasted no time turning tail and heading back from whence they…

Remembering Alaska - Part Two - Hunting

It's a long way to Cold Bay, Alaska, from anywhere, for anyone.  Maybe even longer for a kenneled Brittany.  I can still remember Zach peering through the kennel door as he was loaded onto the conveyor at the airport.  He likely was somewhat astonished as his kennel moved towards the bowels of the plane.  If a dog was capable of pondering it's fate, here was his chance.  We thought that we heard howling upon takeoff. 
Leg one of the trip took us from Montana to Seattle and then on to Anchorage.  Canine and humans arrived none the worse for wear.  Next day we boarded a smaller commuter plane bound for the Aleutian Island community of Cold Bay.  Zach, now a world traveller, was loaded by hand, into a considerably smaller cargo area.  A mountain of gear and supplies were stacked around his kennel.
Cold Bay was militarily significant during World War Two.  It served as an outpost and staging area for upwards of 20,000 soldiers.  A few quonset huts and the military road system are…

Remembering Alaska

This is a story that has been wanting to be told for quite some time.  It is rooted in a trip that my wife and I took to Cold Bay, Alaska years ago.  The impetus for the telling was something as simple as opening a book and finding a pair of feathers.

I bought the book at an Anchorage airport bookstore while awaiting our Cold Bay flight.  The book, by Nick Jans is about landscape and place and Alaska and wildlife and photography too.  Lifelong passions all, they've been an unending source of personal motivation and joy.  The feathers were from a ptarmigan, stashed within the covers of this book for safekeeping, only to be discovered years later.
The feathers are a reminder of brown bear trails.  Meandering through ceiling high alder thickets.  Watching bears fish.  The indescribable chill of a brown bears stare.  The sight of the Bering Sea.  Rain and wind.  The definition of green.  Volcanoes smoldering in the distance.  The trials and tribulations of flying with a dog.  The vag…

Depuy's Morning

One morning last week I took a break from the daily grind and drove over the hill to Depuy's Spring Creek.  It's a beautiful piece of water and a wonderful place to spend a few hours casting to and being outwitted by the local trout population.  In an effort to increase my meager fishing skills I've purchased a winter pass the previous couple of years that grants access to the creek.  It gives me something to look forward to on those occasional nice winter days that warm enough to fish.

On this morning I had a couple of free hours before having to get back to town.  It was good to get out and renew acquaintance with a small section of the creek that has become a special friend.