September is usually the best month in Alaska, and this year's September had to be one of the finest ever. Day after day of clear weather, almost no bugs, great fall colors and good fishing are an excellent combination. A a photo gallery from Dolly captures some of the fun,
and this collection from Bev Hoffman and John McDonald further illustrates why September in Alaska is hard to beat.
This video by Greg Lincoln is also worth watching.
September 30 was the last day at the cabin for the year, and dog helper Nick Berres helped to board up the cabin to prevent vandalism. An event last October when some late travelers from down river stole gas and other stuff from the cabin prompted new security measures. It is Alaska tradition to leave remote cabins open for all to use, and the Angstman cabin was always left that way. Many visitors used the cabin, and usually left a note or called later with thanks. Some detective work revealed the names of the criminals, and a recent visit to their village produced a confession. Compensation is supposedly forthcoming.
The final visit produced this video a little ways from the cabin.
The cow moose was spotted in the lake, and headed for the brush to join her significant other, who was in the woods before the camera could be activated. There was a shortage of bears on the lake this fall, mainly because there was a shortage of red salmon. Despite a huge red run in Bristol Bay there was a small escapement to Chauekuktuli Lake for reasons unknown. When the bears showed up for their annual salmon feed, they found little to eat and moved on to some other area where fish were more abundant. Steady hunting by a group of out of state bear hunters probably kept them hiding as well. No one has ever properly explained why a spectacular grizzly bear needs to die, and its carcass left in the woods, so someone can take its hide home. It sounds an awful lot like scalping.
A final settlement was reached in a long standing legal malpractice claim against the Anchorage firm of Cooke Roosa, which formerly had an office in Bethel under a different firm name. The case was on appeal to the Alaska Supreme Court after a favorable verdict in Anchorage Superior Court for the claimant, a resident of Aniak. In the suit, the jury decided ALO's client was entitled to a share of a wrongful death settlement which was all given to the deceased person's husband. The client was the son of the deceased person.
Bethel has experienced a significant upgrade in grocery shopping recently with the opening of a new store and an enlargement to an existing store. The result of this expansion is yet to be determined. Shoppers have lots more to choose from in the short term, but there is some question if the community can support two stores of this size and quality. Both stores are equal to many grocery stores in urban areas, and one store even has an attached movie theatre, which has been quite a hit. ALO is only a few blocks from the expanded AC store, and that store's long standing involvement as a major sponsor of the K300 makes it hard to drive past to the new store on the highway.
Speaking of the Kuskokwim 300, good finances have resulted in another purse increase for the race. What started as a $10,000 purse in 1980 for one race has now grown to almost $200,000 for several races. Bethel is one of the few races to increase their purse in recent years.
A recent dam failure in British Columbia sent a shock wave through Alaska as folks realized the potential for harm to rivers and fish from mining activities. The failure sent toxic tailings which had been stored behind the dam downstream, effectively killing everything in its path. Two major mines in southwest Alaska also plan to store tailings, and despite assurances that such tailings pose no threat to anyone, the pictures out of BC showed what can happen when the things go wrong.
Mining gold, most of which is made into jewelry, doesn't seem to make sense if it threatens the environment, which large scale mining obviously does. But the immense profits involved can cause people to act in a way that is driven by greed, and that appears to be the case for these mines.
As an example of what could go wrong, here is a picture of a law office in Anchorage after a recent earthquake.
Earthquakes tend to cause problems for the storage of toxic waste, and of course much of Alaska is in a high risk earthquake zone. As for the photo, it proves that it is dangerous to spend too much time in a law office.
This visitor on the front porch of ALO is a first time sighting.
While squirrels exist in Alaska, they are very rare in Bethel. Perhaps 40 years of planting trees has brought this little guy into the yard. This mushing video reveals the start of the dog race season with a happy crowd leaving the yard on a training run.
These swans made the Fairbanks paper.
This ancient bone was found recently near Nome and featured in the Nome Nugget, one of the best small town newspapers in America.
Finally, some political thoughts. The first candidate for president who runs on a campaign to make all charger cords the same size will win in a landslide. Here are some enlightened messages from a couple of great senators, one from Sanders
and one from Goldwater.