Friday, June 08, 2007

Small Triumphs!

I am having a great time up here in Alaska. The bears have been showing up more and more, but they are not as willing to show themselves around the river with the rough weather we continue to have. By rough weather I mean the constant day in day out wind that blows through at a minimum of 20 mph. To quote Jimmy from South Park, "I mean, come on"... in other words we have had five day without that pesky wind. Also the bears don't like to be in the wind b/c they rely on their sense of smell, so in effect the wind is making them blind to their environment.

I have had some things occurring to me up here that seem wondrous. Two days ago (June 6th) at 1pm was the 95th anniversary of Novarupta erupting, which was consequently the largest eruption of the 20th century and 5th largest in recorded history. On that same day I caught sight of a very elusive white creature that is generally referred to as a wolf. :) That is actually the first one that I have seen at Katmai. In a previous blog I mentioned that I have been running every other day since arriving out here on May 12th. Well I had a milestone day today. I ran with one of my running partners for a little over 11 kilometers, aka about 7 miles for us Americans. This is a big deal for me since it has been at least 6 years since I ran anywhere near that far.

Also I received a package from the parents the other day (thanks again) which is always a joyous day. There is something that is so satisfying to receive any kind of mail let alone a package. Generally you will be informed of this miracle of post by at least 4 jealous rangers before you ever make it to the mail/laundry room.

Strangely enough while up here you can never stop eating, which is probably caused by all of us having increased activity coupled with it being cold up here, mostly due to high winds cutting through to the core of your being. With this ensuing increase of appetite and our limited resources we get by quite well. One would be amazed at some of our choices of cuisine and more so by the ability of some to adapt and over come. In other words most of us are becoming very adept cooks. The best of us, Mike, has even been creating English Muffins and Bagels from scratch. We have been creating many variety of dishes and a few interesting fish recipes, which I imagine will increase to 5 star excellence by the time salmon season is over. We cannot help but laugh at ourselves as well since our most common conversations revolve around food.

I hope all is well with those of you in the lower 48 and feel free to drop me a line.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Extreme Sports!!!

I believe that the brochures for South West Alaska should read: Welcome to Bush Alaska where even the mundane is extreme. In other words the people of Brooks Camp have developed a new sport, "Extreme Running". For this sport you need: running wear, bear spray, mp3 player (optional), and a prayer to some deity. Now the goal of this sport is to run a minimum distance of 3 miles without being mauled by a bear or the occasional rabid band of red squirrels.

Why its interesting: The first rule when in bear country is "Do Not Run from Bears" b/c they will see this as a sign of playing or that you are prey making them chase after you. Another fun thing to do, when your spaced out on the road to a good tune, is turn a corner to see a bear make a funny face and crap itself in fear, which is ironically the same thing you did. :)

In all honesty I do have to admit that being around people who are healthy or trying to be can make you start acting the same way. Thus I have been running 3-5 miles every other day for a few weeks. I did actually "run" into my first bear today just as I was finishing my run.

Today was one of the most beautiful since I have arrived. There was no wind blowing at 30 mph or more and the sun was out. Which is probably why the bear was stretching his legs and checking the lower river for Sockeye salmon (which should arrive in 2 weeks).