Pilot Station Photo Album
Pilot Station, Alaska
A beautiful Yupik Eskimo village on the Yukon River. Population about 500 people.
The Russian Orthodox Church
The Catholic Church
The new clinic...
...and the old clinic, now a residence.
The village store
Mom with baby wearing a mosquito cap
Kids are playing everywhere, and pay no attention to the mosquitoes.
Life at Fish Camp
Hanging freshly cut salmon strips and blankets to dry in the breeze for four or five days...
...and then into the smokehouse for about two weeks. The fire is kept burning constantly for the entire time. Letting the fire go out is considered "lazy on the fish" and an Eskimo elder can tell by the taste if that happened.
This elder is serious about her dry fish. This is Martha's mom, known to all as "Auntie M." There are over 200 salmon hanging in the rack over her head; she and Martha were up most of the night before, doing the cutting. The forked stick leaning against the pole is used to place the fish on the high poles.
Gutting the fish by the river's edge. The large white tote was full of fish only a few hours ago. At the edge of the table in front of the fish is an ulu, the curved-edged knife used by the Yupik for everything from filleting fish to chopping vegetables.
Mending the drift net. The man is working near the lead line, the bottom of the net, which often picks up snags and debris from the bottom of the river. If holes are torn, fish can escape through them, so they must be mended regularly.
When the fishing is good, everyone is in a good mood, despite the long hours and hard work. The smells coming from the smokehouse are tantalizing.
Life at fish camp is a family affair.
Butterflying the salmon head and popping out the eyes before smoking. The eyes are a much-loved delicacy, and are crunchy after they are smoked. Ummm...
Picking wild rhubarb. The stems are peeled and eaten raw, or sometimes dipped in sugar first. They have a tangy crunch that is quite delightful. The leaves can be boiled and eaten like spinach.
The universal mode of transportation in the village. Families of six or seven will all pile on at once.
Proud grandma, proud mom...
If the hospital ever decides to place PAs in the small village clinics, I'll be the first to volunteer to move to Pilot Station. I love the people there. It is a beautiful place to live.
Labels: Tundra Life