It has been wonderful to be back here at fish camp. I arrived on June 10th, earlier than most of the other fisherman in this area, so I was able to take my time setting up and getting ready. I love this time of year because it is so quiet and the only tracks on the beach are wolf and bear. As other fishermen start to come in, the beach comes alive with activity, which is enjoyable in a different way.
On June 9th in Anchorage my father and I shopped for food and equipment I would need for the season. With so many other things going on, I only allowed one day for this which was a mistake. We rushed around for 20 hours trying to get everything, then pack it up for the small plane ride from Anchorage to King Salmon then on to Pilot Point, Alaska on the Ugashik River. This is where I live and fish during the summer.
Here is but one receipt from the summer’s shopping. $830.42. Big families might be used to seeing grocery receipts like this but I’m not. We bring in lots of food to go with the fresh salmon we catch, but no matter how tasty it is, we can’t eat salmon every day of the year. So, we brought in other sources of protein, fresh veggies, spices and other goods.
While Anchorage is a large airport with lots of plane traffic, King Salmon is not. We flew on a small plane from Anchorage to King Salmon then an even smaller plane to Pilot Point. Since so few people go to Pilot Point, Pen Air never wants to send a plane unless they have to. So we waited in King Salmon for 6 hours––the flight was supposed to leave around 12 but left at 6pm. With four of us and our gear, we were packed in to the tiny plane.
An outboard engine that has strangely remained unsold for the last few years.
Our crewman, Obie, arrived and we went for a hike across the tundra. Its still early spring here (June 15th) so the tundra has not yet come alive with flowers and greenery. It’s still amazing. There are no trees in this landscape because of the wind, the general harshness of the environment, the north latitude as well as the extreme west longitude. But the tundra is as rich as any forest, just smaller. I love it here!
Our first amazing day with an incredible sunset at midnight.
The first of the flowers are starting to come out! This is wooly lousewort (Pedicularis kanei). These are just a few inches high (to avoid the high winds we have here) and are absolutely lovely.
These dwarf willows grow flat on the ground and look ancient with twisted trunks winding through tundra plants.