The view west from the homestead

The view west from the homestead

Sweet Chance

Sweet Chance

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

ALASKA AT LAST!!!!


Wowweeeee! We are at Unky Lee's and Aunt Joyce's in Chitina, Alaska overlooking the Copper River. They have a trailer up on a bluff with an open view of the Wrangell St. Elias Mountains and National Park. 5 gorgeous snowy peaks are visible in clear weather, one of which is an active volcano just 30 miles away. Lee and Joyce keep their car parked facing out in case of tremors. Their place is right near the confluence of the Tonsina and Copper rivers. The riverbed is almost a 1/4 mile wide and lies about 400 feet down the cliff. Yesterday we saw a bull bison wandering about looking very old and out of place. Later a momma grizzly and 2 cubs ambled by, catching salmon and frisking about. There are a number of adult and immature bald eagles and you can sometimes see them swooping by (a breathtaking experience from the outhouse). Today has given rise to a rainy cold wind and Joyce says this is fall weather arriving (it is 52 degrees out, down to the 40's at night). Lee is plying us with salmon cake benedicts, Chris with Italian roast coffee, and Cassidy and Teslin have amused themselves with a Harry Potter game on the computer.

We have discovered fish wheels and King Salmon migrations and have eaten salmon daily since we got here. [We have awesome pictures and have realized our problem sharing them is that Macs and blogspot are not good friends. When we can get access to a PC we may be able to conquer our photo problems....we went to a Mac wizard in Whitehorse who coudln't help us].

Locals can catch up to 500 lbs of salmon per family per year. Traditionally this was used to feed the sled dogs, but Woof Woof, that's changed. According to Lee, the natives still dry (versus smoke) the salmon and use it throughout the winter for their dogs. Lee and Joyce have access to a fish wheel down on the Copper River (at the confluence with the Chitina river). There were 20 or so fish wheels in a row, all churning with the force of the current and scooping up salmon as they run up stream. At peak migration, each fish wheel can catch over a 100 per day. Owners will share their wheel with others, and cannot sell excees fish. When we checked the wheel, there were 5 salmon in 24 hours (all about 12 pounds). Joyce says there have been fewer and fewer salmon caught each year, perhaps because so many more people are catching them.

Much love to all--any Mac/blogspot experts, let us know! Love, Anny

1 comment:

Keith, RN said...

Wow! Eat some salmon for me---your heart will thank you for the effort!

Vicariously yours,

Keith