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  • Writer's pictureMyron

August 2021

The August news is delayed a bit by September activities which included a move out of the long time Bethel home which must be completed by October 1, and by an extended cabin stay for moose hunting and other related activities.

That hunting trip is a good place to start. No moose were harmed in that effort, mainly because none were around. A likely cause is the influx of bears to the region attracted by the unprecedented red salmon escapement on the Nushagak River. That escapement is usually between 500,000 and 750,000 fish, and this year it exceeded 4 million fish. Many of those fish jammed the lake in front of the Angstman cabin, filling the shoreline first with spawning fish and later with dead fish. Yes, it creates quite a smell and it also attracts a large number of bears. Here are a couple examples.

It also apparently resulted in many bull moose that frequented the area in the summer moving off to nearby locales with fewer bears. A friend hunting 10 miles north on a lake with no salmon saw several big bulls, and no bears. Others reported similar accounts, suggesting the moose would rather not mingle with the bears if an easy option exists to avoid them. Bears do not pose a major threat to bull moose, but the annoyance of sharing space with them likely resembles human annoyance from sharing space with mosquitos.

Photo by Don Lehmann

Bears also harvest berries this time of year, and thus human berry pickers like these had to be careful.

The resulting wild blueberry and cranberry pancakes with maple syrup are a cabin tradition that is hard to beat. This was the first extended use of the new boat, and it exceeded expectations. Don Rearden is handy with a camera and a fish pole, as these shots prove.

The weather didn’t cooperate much this year, and several hunting days were shortened by rain or wind. One person suggested hunting through the bad weather noting that moose seem to enjoy rain and wind. That person was reminded that the moose are not 73 years old. One by-product of foul weather was the opportunity it presented for the excellent chefs in camp to prepare more elaborate meals. The culinary artistry displayed by Don Lehmann and Elizabeth Aarons was remarkable. For example, this apple pie from Liz.

Another byproduct of bad weather is the down time in the cabin.

ALO News

Jury trials have been placed on hold once again in parts of Alaska as Covid rages on. The news from the hospitals is not good, and this commentary from a good friend who works in that field nicely states the obvious. [ADN - "Alaskans, we need to look in the mirror. What do we value?". Chelsea is one of many health care workers in the ALO community of friends. Watching the small but vocal crowd of morons who think the medical community is making up this whole pandemic is frustrating for medical workers who are pushed to the limit by the crush of patients. If the question becomes who do you believe, you could start by believing Chelsea instead of some political commentator who believes in the latest conspiracy. The fact that our hospitals and morgues are full of mostly unvaccinated people just doesn’t seem to register on a significant portion of the US population. Even the death bed appeals from such people warning others to not make the same mistake fall on deaf ears. Shelly Gill always has a clear view of such issues, and she posted this image that demonstrates one sad truth of the pandemic.

This photo of the Kilbuck school playground in Bethel from long ago is a classic.

That slide would not meet any kind of safety standard, but kids of all ages used it year round, including when the ground was frozen solid underneath. Lawsuits were not common in Bethel in that era, but in this era some lawyer would wait at the bottom of the slide with a business card in hand.

Speaking of lawyers, one tale from a few years back about an Anchorage lawyer who later became a judge is worth repeating. The lawyer related the story firsthand and should be commended for his honesty, but owing to his current job title he won't be identified. It seems the lawyer’s teenage son was out with his buddies in Anchorage late one evening, when the police called the lawyer at home to request his presence at a traffic stop downtown. The lawyer hurried to the scene and found his son in a police car with several other teens, and the police officer reported stopping the car for a traffic infraction and finding a quantity of marijuana present along with evidence of recent consumption. The kind officer released each teen to a parent, and there was a quiet ride home while the lawyer planned his next move. At home, he instructed his son to go to bed, and report the next morning for a conference in his dad’s office which was a part of the home.

The miscreant showed up for the meeting and his dad started the conversation explaining how this conduct was not acceptable and would have to result in discipline of some kind. But first he wanted to establish the facts like any good lawyer would. “First, I want to know where you got the pot, son.” The answer was short, and it terminated the meeting abruptly. “I got it from your desk drawer, Dad.”

Here is an ancient letter of reference submitted in support of a young lawyer who applied to teach a college course at Kuskokwim Community College. Amazingly the job was secured despite the obvious puffery.

Mandatory Moose & Other Animals

This month’s mandatory moose is a mama with her half grown babies.

In other animal news, former Bethel neighbor and now Anchorage neighbor Jane McClure takes part in a rather unusual activity in a nearby park. It’s called goat yoga, and this photo reveal that the goats are active participants.

Times have certainly changed. Why, in Baldwin township where the Angstman farm was located, there were goats and there were also farm ladies. Rest assured if the activities shown in these photos happened in that neighborhood back in the Eisenhower era, proper authorities would have been quietly summoned to remove the ladies from the neighborhood until properly rehabbed.

Hobo Jim

A good friend from the dog racing community recently revealed that he has a dire diagnosis of cancer. Hobo Jim has been a fixture in the dog race world not because of racing but because of his singing. He shared a flight to Nome many years ago on his first trip there to sing his signature Iditarod song at the finish line. That flight was an Iditarod Air Force flight with numerous stops at check points along the way. Hobo Jim was a captivating guy way back then, and his stories, some of which are too juicy for this format, made the trip entertaining. Hobo Jim has entertained countless people with this tune, and it is worth a listen.

Ancient History

As part of the moving process, a two day sale was conducted on the grounds of Old Friendly Dog Farm which including a bunch of stuff that naturally accumulated over 47 years in Bethel. One such item was a fur hat used in many dog races over the years. One lady picked up the hat, studied it a while, and announced that the hat belongs in a museum in Anchorage instead of a yard sale. “Think of all the dog race history in this hat!” The woman was reminded that she could own all of that history for $1 and she declined.

This shot of the now mostly dormant boardwalk connecting Old Friendly Dog Farm to the rest of the neighborhood.

The boardwalk was built in the 1970’s and the original planks were topped with pallets just recently. The boardwalk led first to a house occupied by a long series of good friends starting with Allan Beiswenger and including Doug Dorland, Rich Gannon, Don Rearden, Jane Imholte, Jen Peeks, Andy Angstman and Colin McDonald. It was also occupied by a few duds who didn't last long. The boardwalk is part of numerous Bethel stories yet to be told here, and hopefully it will be maintained a while longer to generate more tales. Several birch trees were planted there years ago, and now it appears those trees have successfully reproduced and there are numerous young birch turning what used to be bare tundra into a forest. This last photo from the aftermath of the sale, with leaves dropping from the birch and unsold items littering the yard, is a fitting farewell to a good stay at the Dog Farm.


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