Split stumps for firewood.
Taste real Alaska…well, maybe not the winter.
We see the furry seed of the fireweed climbing to the top of the stalk where it signifies the onset of winter. The nights grow black, and rains provide a small luxury in the form of clear-water mud puddles for washing hands and muddy ax handles.
Hoards of mushrooms bloom in celebration of this change in season. Some are poisonous, others hallucinogenic, and many safely edible. We know not the difference, so will remain happy with photos.
Our closest neighbors, Dale and Reenie, live one mile away. We become friends, and they will dog-sit Jack while we take an excursion to Nome, Alaska. But first, they allow us to observe how they sustenance fish.
This is real Alaska. Throw out a net and pole stretch the buoys into a curve that catches the current of the Chilkat River. Haul in the net each time a buoy bounces. Slice off the dorsal fin, to identify fish as sustenance in the event of a Fish & Game inspection, and toss out net again.
Then eat a fried spam sandwich, which Mare and I find a bit ironic. Catch all the fish you wish. Use the lowest of the food chain for dog food and crab bait, and keep the best of the catch for the freezer, smoker and canning to get through the cycle of winter.
Dale takes me out crabbing. The first pot we pull contains a creature that even Dale cannot identify. Looks like a cross between an octopus and starfish. It ate all the bait. The next couple of pots contain thirty or so Dungeness crabs, but we have to toss them back because they are female. Dale tells me that sometimes somebody pulls your pots, steals your crabs, and replace them with a couple of cans of cold beer.
Our friend, Laurie, comes to town for a visit, wearing a sun dress and thongs. She quickly changes her clothing, and purchases a fleece vest. We do not tell her about all the mice in the cabin, until the next morning when she decides to check-in to a hotel.
I sit on the cabin deck and hear the mating call of a moose. The sound makes me a little horny…perhaps the time to move on has come, or maybe I’m as cyclical as salmon.
No worries, we’re venturing to the most western roads on the North American Continent – Nome, Alaska. Fate strikes…we know the assistant director of recreation in Nome. We met him, Jeremy, at the southern most town on the South American Continent in Puerto Williams, Chile. So, we got in touch and he will give some local advice on how to roam in Nome, where the Musk Oxen graze on the tundra. Stay tuned…