Labor Day Leisure
Southwest Alaska has been blessed with absolutely gorgeous weather for this holiday weekend. Dutch and I spent Saturday and Sunday getting house chores done, as well as some blog reading and writing. Today it was time to get out on the river for some pure fun.
We packed the boat gear—oars, PFDs, gas tanks—and headed for the small boat harbor along with two dogs, a picnic lunch, and berry buckets. The parking area was, as expected on such a beautiful day, chock full of trucks attached to empty boat trailers, so I expected to see quite a few boats on the river.
There was no wind at all, so the river was flat calm with an incoming tide, which makes for a delightful ride in my flat-bottomed boat. We cruised up the river with nary a bounce. We had no specific destination in mind, just wanted to do a little river riding.
The Gweek River is a fairly large tributary to the Kuskokwim and enters it about seven miles above Bethel. Dutch had not been up that river yet, so I headed there. A few tall fir trees come right to the river’s edge on the Gweek, and I looked up in time to see a big bald eagle sitting motionless at the top of one of them. We were traveling up on step, and I knew if I cut the motor to get a closer look it would disturb him, so we kept going a few more bends upriver before turning around. On the way back down we motored slowly past and were able to get a good view without scaring him from his perch. Such awesome birds!
Back on the Kuskokwim we cruised the short distance to the tall bluffs which are a well-known landmark and a popular spot for berry picking. We pulled into the bank, anchored the boat, and climbed to the top. The view from there is wonderful.
Berries are on the way out now, as we have had our first frost (had to scrape ice from my windshield before work one morning last week), but with some diligent picking we managed to bring back about a quart. Big Dog and Little Dog had the time of their lives racing over the tundra, running down to the river’s edge for a drink, bounding back up the bluff to flop panting at our feet. Big Dog has the greatest grin on his face when he is happy.
With no wind, the gnats were pretty bothersome on land, but there is always a breeze on the river. So we just sat on the boat enjoying the peace and quiet and had our picnic. There were surprisingly few boats in sight; we saw less than a dozen in the three hours we were out. The wilderness comes practically to our door. I love this place!
Labels: Life in Bethel