Seriously pleasant July weather in Western Alaska is the theme of this edition of the ALO monthly news. Temps in the 60's and 70's were common, with brief rains instead of the three day blows which historically have hit Bethel. A low turnout of bugs added to the outdoor fun, and of course, the ALO crew took full advantage of it.
One of the outings was to the Kisaralik River camp operated by the Hoffman-McDonald clan. They have had a guided fish operation there for several years but now they have dropped the commercial part of their operation. They specialize in rainbow outings, and one of their favorite spots also seems to be favored by grizzly bears. Here are a few shots of bears crossing a small creek at the same spot the camp crowd crossed several times one day. As expected, fishing and chow were both good, but not as good as the story telling.
The Angstman cabin got a lot of use as well, and this trail cam video revealed that the early bears were also showing up at the lake.
The final bear shot for July comes from Valdez, where a more urban bear seems to be shopping with the local folks.
Speaking of the Angstman cabin, it is hard to explain to folks who have never been there exactly what it is like in the wilderness area where the cabin is located. A new reality TV series to debut soon might help folks appreciate where this spot is located. The nearest neighbors are situated 15 southeast of the cabin, at a lodge known as Tikchik Narrows. The show will show what life around the lodge is like, and in the process viewers will learn a little bit about the challenge of hanging out in this remote location. Granted, guests at the lodge, who pay about $7500 a week, have it a little better than those who show up at the Angstman cabin, but many of the factors are similar. One thing to note, the lodge can't begin to match the view and solitude at the cabin, because the lodge is much further from the mountains and also closer to town, with lodge boats and planes taking off frequently. Of course they don't have an outhouse either. One of the pleasures of the cabin is the plane ride between the cabin and Bethel. The one hour flight crosses no roads, no towns, no houses, and no power lines. It goes through 75 miles of mountains, with a variety of terrain. There is no traffic, and no stoplights. On a recent flight, passengers spotted moose, caribou, black bear, grizzly bears and a wolf. The terrain includes wild rivers in steep canyons, waterfalls, glaciers, narrow passes and mountain lakes. Every flight is an adventure.
Good or bad weather, legal work continues. A payment was received form one defendant in a legal malpractice case discussed here last month. The recipient of the funds in the underlying lawsuit paid back part of that settlement to the ALO client, and the remaining case is on appeal to the Alaska Supreme Court. ALO was about to leave for Nome to begin a criminal trial recently, when ½ hour before the jet departure the DA involved emailed a dismissal of the charges. Even a late dismissal is better than no dismissal at all. Sometimes full fare tickets are a good idea.
Despite a late start, Bethel area fishing has been decent, and this article about one family's fish camp life is worth looking at. Preserving fish is a historic means of survival in the Bethel area which is threatened by depleted runs of some species, most notably king salmon. Other species have remained more abundant, and the Alexie family is typical of the many folks who have managed to fill their smoke houses with these other fish. One ominous threat to the future of salmon fishing here and everywhere is the increased acid content of ocean water. The process, explained in this article is a real problem, and can be measured daily. Even the most stubborn climate change denier can't dispute that our oceans have a different acid level than they had recently. No one can say at what point the salmon would disappear, but clearly most marine life has an upper limit. This is actually one threat which might get the attention of enough people to lead to changes in the way we deal with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Wild flowers are always popular here. Fireweed is just about everywhere in Alaska, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable to see. This photo from the Kenai area is stunning.
This field of bergamot mixed with some Black Eyed Susans comes from the Elk Farm in Minnesota.
These triplet fawns also come from Minnesota.
This month's mandatory moose is actually a walrus, posted on Facebook by former Kuskokwim 300 musher Kate Persons.
It is important to remember when viewing this photo that Kate is a biologist, therefore it is OK. The final animal link is perhaps the smartest dog yet.
Sunset and Mary took part in a project to paint Bethel's dumpsters. A news report in the Anchorage paper covered the results, and both of their efforts were shown. Mary's hero is her dog Bobo. Sunset's is Wonder Woman, but she was partially covered by a kid standing by the dumpster.