Tag Archives: Alaska

Play ball!

Film Friday:

Winter Baseball League in Fairbanks; Photo credit: University of Alaska Archives

No cruising Nome

Nome, Alaska

The cruise industry has put Nome in dry dock for the 2021 season. The city was hoping to get five cruise ships in this summer, but the Harbormaster, Lucas Stotts, confirmed this week that the industry has pulled the plug. No blaming the Canadians this time, however. The ships that visit Nome also dock at Provideniya, Russia. Like Canada, Russian ports are closed to tourists for 2021. No alternative was found, so the season officially ended before it began.

I think it is safe to say that the tourist industry is looking forward to 2022.


Happy Summer Solstice

The hike to Tolovana

The photo above, which I’ve posted on here before, was taken at midnight on a hike out to Tolovana Hot Springs. At the top of the pass, I took this photo, before dropping down into the hot springs. Most people trek out here in the winter months, by ski, dog sled or snowmachine. We hiked out in June, and it was a slog, but we had the springs to ourselves, which was an incredible few days. Very fond memories.

Fairbanks, in case anyone was curious, will see 21 hours and 49 minutes of daylight, with the rest of the 24 hours being filled in with civil twilight.

The camera, for the above photo, was an old Canon Canonet; the film I believe was Fuji, probably high speed.

May your days be long and filled with sunshine.

Happy Solstice


Mail Run

Film Friday:

Photo courtesy of University of Alaska Archives

The Yukon River mail run, leaving Eagle, Alaska around 1906. Currently, only media mail still travels this way within the state.


Bear Cam back online

As the bears of Katmai return to the river, so does the Bear Cam at Brooks Falls. The cam went online Monday, so feel free to head over to Explore.org to see how Otis, Holly and 747 fared over the winter.

Link is below:

https://explore.org/livecams/brown-bears/brown-bear-salmon-cam-brooks-falls


Frankenfish

A genetically modified salmon, next to a non-modified salmon of the same age.

For the first time, a company in Massachusetts is delivering genetically modified salmon to the dinner tables of U.S. households.

The bioengineered salmon, is actually the genetic mixing of three different fish: Atlantic salmon, Chinook salmon and the eel-like, Ocean Pout. The modified hybrid grows to market size in 18 months, which is half what it takes for a salmon to mature in the natural world.

In Alaska, the bioengineered fish are often called Frankenfish, and they have not been well received. A store or restaurant that offers farmed fish, will take heat for it, and often lose customers. I would be very surprised to see anyone in state, offer the genetically modified fish, where fishing for a living, is so vital to the economy.


Chickenstock is back!

Chickenstock, the music festival at “the top of the world”, has returned after a year off due to the pandemic. The music begins on Friday and will continue through Saturday, but this is Chicken, and one never really knows when the festivities will end. The festival is hosted by the Chicken Gold Camp. Chickenstock is a very Alaskan event, not to be confused with Salmonfest. Local breweries and food trucks will be on hand, but it is best to be prepared for a self-sufficient, off-the-grid weekend.

Chicken, Alaska was founded by goldminers in the late 1800’s. In 1902, the community built a post office, but they needed a name for the town. With so many ptarmigan around, the miners wanted to call it Ptarmigan, but they could not agree on how to spell the word, so the miners settled on Chicken.

Located on the Taylor Highway, Chicken is completely off-grid. There is no cell service, electricity, running water, ATM’s or wifi for 100 miles. Chickenstock is a BYOW event: as in, Bring Your Own Water. You will be able to buy beer. Remember to pack it in and pack it out.

The music is always very good, and there are all sorts of activities planned for the weekend including the annual “Chicken-Legs-Morning-After-5K-Run”, which takes place Saturday morning.

Downtown Chicken

Bear Cam: Top 10

Katmai National Park and Explore.Org have put together the Top 10 moments from the 2020 Bear Cam.


Sockeye salmon are being caught at the mouth of Resurrection Bay. Fishing should/hopefully improve over the coming weeks. Like every season, the Return of the Sockeye is an inexact science. Bristol Bay is expecting a great return, the Copper River, not so much. For the rest of us in-between? Time will tell.

For the past decade, my little group of salmon chasers have seen full freezers in odd years, and a battle to fill, in even years. I’m looking forward to seeing if that trend continues, as I have a near empty freezer.

Artwork by the ever talented, slightly twisted, and all-Alaskan: Ray Troll


Copper River Run

Early numbers on returning sockeye salmon to the Copper River are not encouraging. Less than 64,000 sockeyes have gone past the Department of Fish & Game’s sonar tower. That is less than half the goal of 148,000 returning spawners, putting 2021 at 13th on the worst year list.

News of the returning numbers come as the personal use, dip net fishery will see its first open window on Thursday June 10. For 96 hours, permitted Alaskans can take home 25 salmon for the head of household, and an additional 10 for each dependent. Only one of these can be a king salmon. This first window will be 72 hours shorter than expected due to the low return.

Salmon prices are sky high right now, with kings going for $19.60 a pound, and sockeyes a respectable $12.60. In 2020 the salmon netted $6.00 and $4.00 respectively.

Commercial fisherman have seen three 12 hour fishing periods in May.