Friday, August 12, 2011

Fish Camp, Berry Picking and Bike Riding

This past Tuesday and Wednesday were busy days!  On Tuesday Corrine came back to town to feed the dogs and picked Katie and I up and took us up river to Anna Vera's (I don't know about the spelling, but Anna means grandmother) fish camp.  That was such a fun adventure.  Anna Vera was just opening her fish camp and it as still a bit early.  Later on they said people would be stopping by as they went back and forth to camp.  We cooked everything either on the outside fire or on a cookstove inside a platform tent.  Vera had her net set out just a little down river and we checked the net.  Tuesday night when we checked we only found one salmon.  We went ahead and brought it in because it looked like it was going to slip through the net (we had planned to just peek, but leave the fish in the net).  On Wednesday when we went back to check the nets again we found 3 salmon and sheefish.  We also found a beaver!  It was dead an amazingly hadn't damaged the net so we got to see how to skin a beaver.  Also, Vera hung the fish up on a fish rack to dry.  As the season progresses people will be drying a lot of fish, but since there were only a few right now Vera had us build a little rack right on the shore (she has a whole fish house up higher on the bank).  Additionally, we put in "stairs" from the beach to the camp because the spring floods had eroded things and made it really hard for Vera to get up to camp.

On Wednesday afternoon we went berry picking.  There were tons of tundra cranberries, but it was still a little early for them.  We also found a spot just full of low bush blueberries.  I've had them before, but if you haven't, they are smaller and much more tart than the blueberries you buy in the stores (and oh so good!).  We picked a bunch of those and I put them in the freezer. I meant to take pictures, but didn't.  Sorry.

After we got back to town I took a nap, but then because the weather was still incredible I couldn't stay inside so I went for a walk and while I was walking I remembered that Erin had lent me her bike.  I decided I would bike up to the Dahl Creek runway which is three miles outside of town.  Erin had told me that it was safe to bike that far.  The bears usually didn't come out in there, but to stay away from the turn-off to the dump and not to go any further (we have 15 miles of road ending at the Bornite mine).  I had a great ride out.  Then as I was riding back I noticed that out on the tundra there was a flash of red.  Then I realized I knew that red.  That was the three year old daughter of Luke and Sarah.  Then I saw the whole family.  They were out berry picking.  I went out and joined them and hung out some with Sarah.  Unfortunately, this spot didn't have too many blueberries.  We went over to another spot (they rode their Honda - what they call 4-wheelers here in Kobuk) and I biked to another spot (which was closer back to town).  There were apparently some there, but the baby was starting to fuss and so we decided to head back to town.  Right after I started the back tire felt wobbly.  I got off an looked and didn't see anything.  Then as I was riding more I could see the tire moving.  I got off again, but couldn't see anything that was obviously wrong.  I rode so more and it got worse and worse.  Finally when I was a couple of bends from town (I have no idea how far it was - not too far because it didn't take too long) I simply couldn't ride any more and had to walk it the rest of the way home.  I haven't had a chance to try to figure out what's wrong with it.  I'll have to deal with that later.

Here are the pictures from fish camp.  Enjoy.
 The tent is behind the tarps.  The tarps are to help block the wind.  This tent is left up all year long.
 The boar parked in front of fish camp.  Isn't the scenery gorgeous?  And this is before the weather turned really nice!
 Some of the first signs of fall - the fireweed in town aren't turning, but they were up at camp.
 Some of the other plants were turning too...
 The beaver in the net.  Amazing that he didn't tear up the net.
 Me on the boat with the fish.
 Vera cutting the fish.
 Vera skinning the beaver.
 The fish drying on the rack.
This picture wasn't from fish camp.  This picture I took at the end of my bike ride.  This is right at the edge of town looking north.  Also, I took this picture at 10:05 pm.

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