Spring is here

I took my skiff over to our cabin at Horse Island
yesterday afternoon. After 2 months of wrangling with
the state over regulatory issues, much of that stress
drained away when I rounded the corner to the boat
launch, and saw the mountains with snow through the
clear sunshine of the late afternoon. I’d collected
many issues of old Alaska magazines by listening to
our buy-sell-trade show. A lady had tried selling
them for a time, and then said the magic word “free”
and I was there asap. The old Alaska magazine were
stories written by ordinary Alaskans living all over
the state – from teachers to fishermen to trappers to
hunters. Not like today’s version, which is
essentially a tourist guide to the state.

I post-holed through the snow into the cabin with all
those magazines on my back and a few in a bucket in
one hand, food in the other. I stopped often to rest.
I was lucky Ron had been there a few days earlier, as
I at least had footprints to mark the covered trail,
which is easy to lose.

I spent the evening and next morning listening to the
bad news in Virginia and reading the life of Alaska
for which I came here for, but which I feel I was a
little late for. I’m sure people decades from now
will yearn for these “good old days” as well. Seeing
the freedom the early entrepreneurs had free of much
of the unneccsary and overbearing government
regulation we have today in fish handling made me know
those days are gone.

Today, I decided to take the long way around the
island, walking away from the boat first to the front
beach and then walking around the end of the island
back to the boat. This was much better, since it’s in
the big timber and there was no snow. As I rounded
the corner to the back of the island, a sound of
spring stopped me in my tracks: a hooter calling out
from Admiralty Island. These are the blue grouse that
inhabit our rainforest. The males begin staking out
territories and calling females by getting up into the
tree tops and “hooting”, which sounds like blowing in
a bottle. We usually hunt these birds during this
time of the year, but with all the snow, I don’t know
this year. We’ll have to see if we are able to resist
the sound of the hooters – snow or no snow.

On the way back to Douglas Island, I spied two
humpback whales. A cow and calf, I think. Another
sign of spring.

Mark Stopha and Sara Hannan
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
Wild Salmon and Salmon Pet Treats
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK 99801

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