I get it now. When we first moved here, I was excited to fish the world famous Kenai River. I wasn’t very successful. It is hard to walk and wade the Kenai. It is expensive to hire a guide every time I want to go out. The most logical thing was to buy our own raft. Now I get it. The Kenai is a magical place when you can access a lot of it whenever you want.
It came as a shock to be proposed to. It was surprising that we actually did the whole thing. Now it has been a couple of years. We thought that we should do something nice. We had a great dinner with meat, fish, wine, and great views. Maybe Anchorage, and marriage, isn’t so bad.
After the park, we returned to our house to host a party. We did it all in our backyard.Our party favors were dog treats. Our cakes are from Jerome Street Bakery.
We cannot recommend them enough. From their website:
“We specialize in fresh, seasonal, and organic sweets inspired by the abundance of beauty in Alaska- the dark snowy winters, the mountains, the wildness, and our lovely piece of earth we call home on Jerome Street (and the wildlife we share it with).
We are known for our gratitude cakes. All our sweets are a fusion of a love of baking and a love of the community. 100% of proceeds are donated to chosen monthly non-profit.
Every product is made with love and intention, therefore no one cake will ever look the same. Each order is unique and personal to the individual or event, and is based on seasonal availability.”
Our “guestbook” was a canvas painted like our backyard. We asked guests to paint themselves in.
Desserts were s’mores which included gluten free handmade graham crackers courtesy of the founder of Ben’s Muffins.Live music was provided by The Hot Club of Nunaka.The parents looking proud.
Hair and makeup done by friends. I was so in love.Ceremony set up done by friends and myself in the morning. The weather was great, which was lucky as we had no backup plan.Obi Wan kept a lookout for birds the whole time. He didn’t see the love birds right behind him. (Sorry, that is terrible.)The getaway vehicle arrived after the kissing part.We got lots of honks on the drive home.
Hooligan (Thaleichthys pacificus), otherwise known as “eulachon” or “candlefish”, are a type of anadromous smelt that makes its way into a number of rivers in Alaska during the spring spawning run. They arrive in some river systems in the hundreds of thousands, and are an important forage species for eagles, gulls, bears and other species. The fish is found from the Pacific Northwest to Alaska, and the name “eulachon” is thought to derive from the Chinookan language. “Hooligan” is thought to be a derivative of the Chinookan name.
Hooligan are of interest to subsistence fishermen, who net them out of rivers in the spring. The fish are eaten dried, smoked, canned or pan-fried. In years past, they earned the name “candlefish”, because when dried, the oil content of the fish was sufficient to allow it to burn like a candle. Hooligan were formerly harvested and rendered for their oil, which can comprise 15% of their body weight during the spawning run.
Hooligan make their spawning run in May, with the males usually coming in first, followed by female fish a few days later. Males develop two fleshy ridges along their sides, and most hooligan die after spawning. They lay their eggs in sand or gravel, and the eggs hatch in roughly a month. The fry make their way to saltwater immediately, where they live for four to six years. They do not always return to the same stream where they were spawned, but they do return to the general area. They prefer slower rivers without a lot of current velocity, as they are fairly weak swimmers.
Hooligan average between eight and ten inches in size.
Hooligan are typically caught by dipnet, a long-handled net with a bag that has fine mesh in it. The fish school up in deeper pockets, and in these places hundreds of hooligan can be caught. At this writing, a dipnetting permit is not required, and anyone with a valid sport fishing license can catch hooligan. There is no bag limit on hooligan.
We headed into Denali National Park with Amanda’s parents while they were visiting. On our way, we stopped in the
town village of Talkeetna. It is a fantastic place to stop. They have every adventure necessary. Want to go fishing, someone there can arrange that. Too easy? Take a helicopter tour of Denali, they do that here as well. We just stopped at a cool little coffee shop.We were at the tail end of the season, so some things were closed, and the traffic was pretty minimal. The weather was not too bad, but with lots of clouds, actually seeing the mountain did not seem like a realistic thing that was going to occur. While that is always a goal of people that are visiting the area, we have been lucky to see it on clear days while fishing nearby. There is still so much to see and do that the actual mountain might be better off imagined. We boarded our bus early the next day and settled in for what would be an 11 hour bus tour. If you travel into the park in your own car, you can only drive in the first 15 miles. The buses were great. We didn’t have to drive, we could eat, and the bus driver was knowledgeable and entertaining. This is a great way to see the park and the inhabitants.The weather that we had experienced in Talkeetna was worse/better/bigger/different the next day. Everything is larger and more extreme in Alaska. The weather is no exception. Where there was rain the day before it was heavily snowing on us in the park. It was very beautiful to see a lot of the area covered in snow. The biggest concern was that the roads would be impossible to use in some spots. We were going on the last day of the season.
We got to Savage River and were told that it might be the end of the line for us. We were 15 miles into an 85 mile trip. We waited here, saw a few bears, made a snowman, and were told to get back on the bus, we were continuing forward.The wildlife is used to the buses. They know that the buses are not a threat. We were able to see animals acting very naturally.
It was the people that were funny to watch. As soon as someone spotted an animal, the bus would stop and try to get us into a good viewing position. Everyone ran to the side where the animal would be. The sound of fake shutters clicking was entertaining and the animals didn’t seem to mind. Mostly everyone was respectful and kept their arms and hands inside. Every stop was amazing. The roads were cleared and we were told that we would make it all the way to the Wonder Lake Campground. Every time we got out of the bus, we were blown away. Mostly with the views, but sometimes by the wind.That was our visit to Denali National Park. It was outstanding and everyone visiting Alaska should try to get out there to experience it. Thanks for reading.
Just a couple of things I put together to keep up to date on life.