On Saturday morning, Carl McIntyre called to let me know he was going jigging way up on the Johnston River if I wanted to join him. Sounded like fun, and although the day was a little overcast, it was around 25F so not too cold to be standing around for hours. The ride up there was pretty good, even for Carl’s sister bundled in the back of the sled, and when we stopped along the trail at the Kuskokwim to stretch our legs Carl said he’d been going slow as he had precious cargo in the back – if the auger fell out and broke then we couldn’t fish 😉 He also joked that he was going to leave some bait in the sled with his sister so she could throw it at the bears as we rode up giving him time to unhook the sled and make a speedy getaway! On Friday night some people had gone out around the village after what turned out to be a musk ox – some kids had seen it and thought it was a bear from a distance, but pretty sure no-one shot it as they’re just trying to build up the numbers of musk ox round this area so hunting is off-limits.
Anyway, other than Carl pretending he was a grizzly bear himself by sticking his hand into the water and grabbing a pike out that squirmed off Carie’s hook within minutes of starting fishing, there wasn’t much more excitement! There were stacks of people fishing round there, but no-one was really pulling out any great numbers, and I still came home with nowt 🙁 At least it kept Carl happy as he joked there was someone worse than him this time as he’s not a big fisherman, highlighted by the two or three naps he took in the back of the sled through the afternoon, after which he’d calmly walk over to check his holes and find fish on the end of the line!
Coming back was a bit dodgy as the weather started closing in around 4.30p.m and by the time we left around 5.15p.m it was a whiteout all the way back to Tunt. Given that everything is so flat and devoid of anything out here, it was pretty hairy, though thankfully Carl knew exactly where he was going. Looking all around you and seeing nothing, or even being able to tell the ground from the sky in front of you, was a little different and made for slow going (around 2 hours) but we all got back okay. Once off the Kuskokwim river at least the trail markers every couple of hundred yards made it a little easier once you could see them, but I wouldn’t want to try it again in a hurry!
But, Kat was up in the middle of the night being sick so is off work today which isn’t too good. I made a run to the store to get some stuff for her and took a (little…) detour by the airport to see a plane come in. Since the weather was so overcast whilst fishing it wasn’t worth taking photos, but by chance that’s Carl winging his way up to Bethel just after taking off with a Grant 207 on the ramp: