Saturday, September 12, 2009

Viner and Bond Sounds - a bit of real Alaska in Canada

Here's what we're talking about. Old-growth forest magic. Viner and Bond Sounds.
According to Billy Proctor, the last bit of it left.

Chicken-of-the-woods mushroom bonanza. Trees dressed in gauzey sphagnum.

A wild-flowing river. Bear poop. GOOD stuff. Really really gooooood stuff - for the soul.

Actual bona-fide NATURE.
We bushwacked through the old stream channels and salal bushes. Stumbled on a huge silver salmon stuck in a tiny pool, trying to make it to the main channel.
Some of our food harvests have been easier than others. We are keenly away of the state of Canada's fisheries, and we are in no danger of doing them in with Blain's fishing prowess, that's for sure. But we did finally find one secret shrimping place. We had been calling it starfishing - because that's all we seemed to get in the shrimp trap.

This was a nice haul. Dinner became a 'gumbo-laya' since we don't know how to make either, so we winged it and it wound up somewhere in the middle of the two.
This was another easy meal. Five minutes of digging for five pounds of clams. This hunter-gather lifestyle isn't so brutish afterall. That's a happy grimace. And a huge beach with millions of clams. It's no wonder natives along these coasts accumulated clam shell middens that measure 30 feet deep in some ancient village sites.

Our little haul.

The steaming.
OK, enough food photos. We just wanted to show that we weren't starving out here.
And to make you all go out and buy wild-caught salmon. It's really, really important where our food comes from, and particularly with seafood, because we are playing a whole-world dice game with the state our world's fisheries are in. Insist on wild-caught. Pay the extra. If your grocer sells farmed salmon - tell them why they should switch. Write a letter to your local grocery chain. Heck, if we could, we'd catch it for all our friends. Maybe our next boat should be a salmon troller.

Hiking Fun in Bear Country

Well the fishing hasn't been the greatest. Blain dragged up this Substance from the Abyss. It had the weight and texture of brains. It's a long and gross story of how Blain knows what brains weigh, so we won't go into it. Needless to say, we released this one.

So when the fishing is slow we go hiking. And luckily we have better luck there. This little blackie was happily munching grass, keeping an eye out for salmon in Viner Sound.
One hike scared up a frog. Yes! a FROG!.. Ok, good, there's the excitement.
A red-legged frog Rana aurora, (which is an awfully beautiful latin name for a frog) - this is the famous jumping frog of Calaveras County in Mark Twain's story. The little bugger could seriously jump.
The trail was built for dragging logs from the forest, and was hewn of some giant corduroy logs. It was easily 2-3 feet thick. If trail-builders in Alaska used logs this size, corduroy wouldn't have such a bad name.

The "recreation site" at the lake was somewhat suspect. If hopscotching on fallen timber to get a better view of the clearcut is your idea of reacreation potential, well you're a bit different, I guess.
A lovely couple of red-throated loons enjoyed it enough to stop, so I suppose there's some fish anyway.

And, as is with most hikes in the great bear rainforest with Chance, it ended in a dog bath. This stuff had a decidedly green tint to it, but was far better than most to wash off. We've caught him many times, as he discovers whatever it is he feels he needs to roll in, and look at us almost for permission. If we realize what it is he is thinking and yell a quick "NO!", he'll sort of lay his cheek near it and shudder, almost like he's had a run-in with the Dark side of the Force or something, and reluctantly wander away. We'll never understand what it is that drives a dog to look at something rotting and fetid, flies laying eggs in it, and say to themselves,
"Oh, my, that looks and smells utterly revolting."
"I HAVE to have that all over me."