Down the Trail

September 18, 2018

 

Marathon relay runners

Runners on the trail

The golden fall foliage is here, with leaves still clinging on, much like our experience here the last few weeks. With each passing day, the temperature drops down a little, and the daylight hours dwindle. The Equinox Marathon was just yesterday and as I watched the runners and walkers, I pondered the many diverse paths taken at this time of year. Alaskans are either scurrying to wrap up those projects left procrastinated all summer, setting goals to start or finish school or embark on new ventures, or selling household goods and home to head south.
My sister and brother-in-law just left after forty years of raising their family, then packing up a myriad of memories, selling their home, and leaving for the lower ’48. This path down the road is just one of the trails routinely traveled; many come back after a few years (discovering the “madness” of traffic, population and general restrictions taken quite for granted in the rest of the United States), while others leave “for good”, only returning to visit friends or families during a brief stay. It feels like the end of an era. . .
My daughter and son-in-law had a housewarming, inviting close family over to visit and munch while playing games and enjoying each other’s company. They are definitely into the “nesting” mode, setting up their half dry cabin to prepare for the winter months ahead. For those who don’t know, a “half dry cabin” means there is a barrel that holds water to allow for running water in a sink and a shower; the commode is, yes—you guessed it, the outhouse. Their trail entails quite a social schedule, with both of them working and lots of outside interests and close-knit communities.
My husband and I are the “let’s get this done before the snow falls” scurrying mode. How can we both be in denial that the the “w” word is just around the corner, and yes, we need that fence at that property installed, and the footings for concrete aren’t done, and who needs to prepare the garden beds for winter? With this weekend’s successful fishing trip to Chitina, smoking of salmon takes the front burner. All too much demands attention within our brief window of opportunity to bring closure to fall.
Yes, we are all headed down the trail. Whether it’s closure on a season of life or just the beginning of a new adventure, the turning of leaves reminds us of the changing seasons and times of our lives. It particularly reminds me of the faithfulness of the Creator of it all.

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Fall Hunts

September 23, 2017

Maybe Facebook isn’t your thing (too many cute puppies and baby pictures) but it seems my friends in Alaska are posting lots of wildlife: dead or alive.

While fall can mean the changing of seasons, and time to hurry and wrap up all those things on the to-do list you’ve been putting off, for some, there is a different call of the wild:  the hunt.

Yes, it is hunting season. One of my North Slope guests was sharing with me the good news that her village had just harvested their first whale for the season. This apparently is great reason for rejoicing in the village as it will be shared by all.   Some other guests hire guides to take them out to parts unknown to see their trophy.  My brother-in-law posted “Clear Creek or bust” on his facebook page before heading north to Fairbanks to hunt a moose. And even my newest niece posted her “prize” catch of a moose.

moose pic

First moose

My husband isn’t fond of hunting for moose, but he made two trips to Chitina to try to catch some red salmon.  Two trips, because the first was a total bust:  he and a couple of fellow employees got skunked and came back empty handed.  (Water was too high, they claimed.)  The second time was slightly more successful with a few fish, but he certainly didn’t limit out.  Wouldn’t you know, a cheechako friend (that’s Alaskan for a newcomer) just posted on FB today that he and a couple other guys netted (no pun intended) 60 red salmon!

Moose crossing road

Fall moose crossing road

Then there are those who post other kinds of pictures of wildlife, like my brother; a picture of “traffic”–a moose crossing the road on the way to work.  Or the same niece with pictures of dahl sheep in Denali Park.  Fall is holding on tenaciously–fortunately for those who hunt.  And those of us who procrastinate.  Beautiful yellows on the birch trees that line the roadways.  We are enjoying no frost here yet; very unusual for the third week in September, as we usually experience frost by the Equinox run.

H  auling equipment

U  nknown parts

N   ot knowing what

T   rials and tribulations await