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  • Writer's pictureMyron

August 2020

A two week stay at the Chauekuktuli cabin for moose hunting and fishing put the August news on hold.  There are hundreds of pictures from that outing, which featured mostly great weather, a two day storm with big winds, and a cute little grandkid who said “Hi Bubba, whatcha doing?” about 50 times a day.   

Plenty of Fish

The fishing was excellent. Here are a few of the best shots.   

Beautiful Scenery & Fine Dining

The scenery was top notch as always. 

There are no pictures to prove it, but the food was 5-star especially with Master Chef Don Lehmann. Here Don preps a moose leg for the freezer.

Elder Wisdom

This photo proves that elder wisdom does not always result in wise choices. It was ¼ mile hike to the lake packing moose.

Guest Star Appearances

The bears have showed up.

As have the otters.

Grandkid Cuteness

And of course, here is little Ada with her Bubba and Nana.

Speaking of grandkids, Chef Don and his wife Penny recently welcomed their first grandkid, and a few days later, they sat down to brief him on the status of the world he had just entered.  His reaction showed unusual comprehension for such a small child.

ALO Legal News

Covid-19 has delayed much of the litigation that keeps ALO busy.  Jury trials in Alaska are currently on hold until November and most ALO cases are in that category.  What will happen after November is a big question mark because the backlog of cases will not disappear quickly.  Criminal cases generally take precedence over civil cases, and there are a lot of criminal cases to work through. 

Moose Season Musings

Moose season brings back memories of early moose hunts in Western Alaska that are worth recalling.  One such hunt involved a trip to Stony River to hunt with Evan Evan, a colorful and rowdy Athabascan who helped build the log cabin that is the home of ALO today.  While building the cabin, Evan spun many tales about his hunting area, which centered around Deacon’s Landing on the upper Kuskokwim.  He spoke highly of the moose hunting on the Selatna River which enters the Kuskokwim near Deacon’s Landing after coming out of the Alaska Range to the east.  Evan and his brothers often used a trapping cabin on the Selatna, which had been built by Chet Wright.  Chet, from McGrath, was deceased and his ashes were stored in a canister inside the cabin, along with a sign that said “Chet Wright - His Own Man.”

Apparently, the Evan brothers had a history with Chet Wright because they spoke of how they didn’t want to be around him when he was alive, and that extended past his death. When they stayed at the cabin, they would debate who had to remove the ashes before they slept there.  On this trip, that task was assigned to the new guy from Bethel.  Evan and his brothers had a unique hunting style.  They had very limited equipment, but made the most of it.  For example, they carried most of the stuff they needed for a hunt in a coffee can.  That can served several purposes. It carried a coffee cup and silverware, and a spark plug or two.  It was used to bail the boat, dip and hold coffee water while it was boiled, and even for splashing a bit of gas on the massive wood piles they would select for a campfire when traveling the river.  The can was equipped with a wire handle to hang over the fire.  Evan liked to hunt all night, calling moose and sitting on a sandbar by a campfire listening for moose.  If he decided to take a short snooze, he would sleep with his rifle right next to him, just in case. Watching him field dress a moose was enlightening.  He would always stop part way through, start a fire and fry up some backstrap in moose fat to celebrate the harvest. If a gull or jay showed up, he never failed to provide them scraps, announcing those creatures had no gun, so he had to help them out.

For entertainment, Evan used to enjoy finding an old barrel along the riverbank.  He would stoke the fire, tighten the cap on the barrel after putting a small bit of water inside, and stand the barrel in the fire.  With that, a hasty retreat was made to the woods, and all spectators were urged to stand behind a decent sized tree.  After a few minutes, the barrel would explode, and the end of the barrel would fly off like a giant metal frisbee, spinning along about four or five feet off the ground and flying about 50 yards.  No wonder he suggested hiding in the woods.

Evan met his demise after one of those trips. He dropped some hunters off in McGrath and they reimbursed him for gas money, which he converted to booze from the package store.  He started home with the booze and they found his empty boat not far from his favorite hunting zone, and found an empty jug on board.  Sitting here in the cabin he built, it is hard to imagine the adventures Evan missed out on because of his early death.  His younger brother Elya helped build the Angstman cabin in the mountains, and that was the last contact with the four brothers, who are now all deceased.  The Evan family was part of a small group that was one of the last groups to give up nomadic life for village life.  The village of Stony River was formed in the 1960’s from families that lived in various seasonal camps in the area but Evan's grandpa Deacon Deaphon rejected that and remained at his camp, Deacon’s Landing, for the rest of his life.  Evan and his brothers spent much of their early lives in that camp.  Hunting with the Evan brothers was a glimpse into America's past that is all but gone in the Kuskokwim region. Here is a picture of Deacon Deaphon from 1976.

Mandatory Moose, Bears & Carrots too!

Speaking of moose, this month’s mandatory moose was provided by Jill Hoffman from her family’s moose camp near Pike Lake, north of Bethel.

Mark Schwantes hunted moose on the next lake north of Chauekuktuli called Chikuminuk and took this high grade photo of his hunting grounds. 

Here is a black bear video worth watching.

August is garden harvest time, and high school classmate Lonn Hanson produced quite a crop of carrots from his garden in Minnesota. Must be something in the soil.

Kuskowkim 300 in the News!

The Kuskokwim 300 Race is ON for 2021

The Kuskokwim 300 made the news with an announcement that the 2021 race is on, with Covid-19 protections. Since its start in 1980, the Kuskokwim 300 has never been canceled. This year’s race promises to be different than any other as we all confront unprecedented challenges, but we will continue with the work of bringing the Y-K Delta, mushers and mushing fans a safe and exciting, 42nd Annual K300. The announcement and details can be found on the Official K300 website. KYUK is providing additional coverage with the "Kuskokwim 300 Race Is On" and "K300 Brings Good News For Mushers."

Matthew Failor leaves the start line of the 2020 Kuskokwim 300 dog sled race on

January 17, 2020. [Credit: Katie Basile / KYUK]

A K300 Love Story

Wedding stories are often featured in The New York Times, but seldom does a former champion of the Kuskokwim 300 make that section, with a significant nod to the race in the article - "You, Me and 53 Dogs." Musher Matt Failor finished second in the 2020 K300, but at the finish line, he kneeled with a proposal to KTVA reporter Liz Raines.

Political Commentary

This political cartoon hits the mark. 

And these CEO-to-worker pay ratios highlight what has been a steady theme here at ALO news. Workers don’t get paid enough, and the people in charge are way overpaid. 

What adds to that problem is the fact that those highly paid executives are able to generate enough political clout to keep the system going even though in a democracy, the millions of people on the short end of that equation could change it quickly.

Finally this piece of family history.  Andy was a keen observer of current events in his early years, and he penned this letter to the American troops when he was nine. He was a slight bit of a hawk at an early age.


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