Another Season Coming to a Close

  • Well, it’s been another wonderful season in our little red cabin by the river. But all good things must eventually end. The fishing has slowed down but good numbers of salmon are still surging upriver. I would prefer to stay and fish a while longer but other responsibilities are calling out to me. Also, I have not seen my lovely wife in far too long. I suppose I will have to shave here soon, I have not seem my reflection in 2 months but I imagine myself somewhere between Leonardo DiCaprio and a sasquatch.

    Today, Obie (my crew hand) and I pulled the skiff out of the water and put it in the grass for the winter. Without trucks and trailers, we use 4-wheelers and funky hand made trailers. On top of funky equipment, we also have to do everything by hand–there is very little mechanical assistance here. Always the one pining for a bygone era, fishing out here has given me an appreciation for man’s many machines and tools. For instance, once the tide had gone out and left the 22-foot skiff high and dry on the sand, we had to somehow get it onto the trailer. The trailer does have a cable winch, but it’s so rusty and frayed, I never want to put much weight on it. So, we basically pull the many thousand pound boat onto the trailer by hand. After dragging the trailer and boat to a high grassy area inland, we wrestled the several hundred pound outboard engine into the conex for storage through the winter. We put our skiff on a high area so the winter storm-surge and sea ice do not swamp them or carry them away. Before we could store the outboard though, I flushed it with fresh water and “fogged” it. Letting engines sit in a salty environment for 8 months is hard on them so before putting one away for the winter, you spray oil into the air intake to coat the innards.

    As we pulled the boat from the water today, we noticed that one of the few remaining fisherman was pulling several thousand pounds of salmon over the rail! I turned to push my boat back out to get fishing but it was high and dry. I was also well on the way to having my camp put away for the winter so getting setup to fish again would have been time consuming. One has to make a choice when to stop fishing and live with it I suppose. It is hard to miss out on so many fish though. I thought the fish had stopped for the year but I guess the open ocean had one more wave to throw at us. Next year I will not make the mistake of leaving so early.

    I leave on Monday and I will miss this place. The other night a new bear was walking the beach in front of the cabin. This was the bear leaving the really large tracks we would see each morning. It looked like an older male bear and it was completely unafraid of me and my spot light. I decided not to visit the outhouse just then and went back inside. I thought about how this massive bear just behind the wall could come in at any time. What keeps him out? Keeping my camp clean and free from fish smell? Luck? Out the back window I could see a red moon rising through splintered clouds. This place is beautiful and dangerous and it occurs to me now that for me one may not be able to exist without the other.

    Last year I waited too long to get my camp in order for the winter and paid the price with a crazy rush as the plane flew overhead to land at the nearby air strip. This year I started early but paid the price in missing fish. Next year I will stay until mid-August and avoid both problems.

    July 23rd, 2011 | Traveler | No Comments |

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