Outdoors

Posted: Wednesday, July 18, 2007

This is summer here on the Kenai Peninsula even though at times it certainly doesn’t feel like it. Cloudy and cool with a few raindrops seems to be the most common pattern for this summer. The old saying if you don’t like the weather in Alaska, wait 15 minutes as it will most likely change certainly holds true this year.

My family and I have been running non-stop trying to fit in as many outdoor adventures as we can possibly do without paying much regard to the weather. With summer guests and Jessie home from collage it takes a lot of fishing equipment and raincoats to equip everyone then when it doesn’t rain you have a boatload of raincoats in the way. So the next time we decided not to take them with us besides it was bright and sunny. Well you guessed it; we got rained on about every half an hour. It was almost like God was there dumping a 5 gallon bucket of water on each of us followed by a warm blast of sunshine and then another blast of water.

But hey we are Alaskans and we do not let the weather dictate to us what we had planned for that day. We have a limited amount of days to enjoy summer here each year besides the fact that I spend two weeks each month working on the North Slope. So you run non-stop trying to get everything done around here.

In the past week I made two trips to Homer to watch my son Travis play baseball followed by a very non-productive fishing trip at the Lagoon. Driving to Homer is a trip that is special just for the beauty of scenery.

We then loaded up the dip nets and put on our new boat motor (actually it is used) and headed down the river. I have a spot that I like to anchor up and dip net from which actually works really well besides being very relaxing for me. I don’t have to drive the boat while dodging other boats, which also allows me to help the other dip netters in my boat. After sitting there in the rain for a couple of hours and only catching one fish we decided to call it a day and go home.

Well guess what? My motor would not go in gear so there I was about a mile from my truck and only reverse working on my motor. I thought briefly about just what I should do and decided I would try getting back by running the motor in reverse. I backed up all the way to the boat landing in reverse with water coming over the back as I motored up the river. I was soaked but at least I was able to get back.

Our next adventure was at Elephant Lake where we caught a few rainbows and Kokanee on a day mixed with rain, sunshine and wind. Not real productive in locating or catching a lot of fish but never the less we were out there once again battling the weather here in Alaska.

We then spent a couple days and one night fishing at Upper Ohmer Lake where we rented the beautiful cabin there. We grilled the one salmon we caught dipnetting and had a nice meal there besides getting off and on again rain both days. Fishing was good and it is one of my favorite places to go and just get away.

I was even awakened by someone (not going to mention any names) who told me she heard a bear outside the cabin door about 3 Am! I jumped out of bed with my 44-mag pistol and peeked out the window before going outside to have a better look. As I stood there looking out the window Jake the family dog got up and walked across the floor making a scratching sound with his toe nails on the wooded floor! Then throw in a air mattress that leaked and an early morning attack by a few mosquitoes that were doing a terrorist attack on me I never got much sleep.

The next trip we made was to Ninilchik where we dug clams for two days. Digging clams has always been fun for me especially when you make it a family project. But by making it a family project you also have to make sure EVERYONE has their boots, rubber gloves, extra dry clothes, bucket, shovel or clam gun with them. When you take a crew of 6 or more that makes for a lot of gear especially if some members of your crew are rather forgetful. We came home with something like 300 clams despite getting there late on both days.

I really like digging a hole and then cave in the sides as we go because that way everyone can participate and you actually get a lot of clams that never even show a dimple in the sand. Great family fun and really not that bad of job cleaning them once your home if everyone helps. Fantastic food for the table too!

I have drove nearly 1000 miles in the past week with my truck, which has allowed me several opportunities to observe the driving habits of many. I think those of you driving a motor home should be required to have some type of proof that you can safely operate that large vehicle on the roads other then your regular driving license. There is nothing very scenic about following one of these huge rigs on a winding road for about 50 miles when many are traveling less then 40 miles an hour!!!! You feel like rolling down the window and shouting at them “Hey Gramps it is the peddle on the right!”

Has anyone ever told some of you that a left turn is made from the left turn lane and a right turn from the far right lane? If your turning right and have a whole lane of cars behind you isn’t it the courteous thing to do to get to the right to allow the traffic to keep moving around you as you turn? Do you have to come to a complete stop while turning right or can you do this while still rolling forward? Do you know that it is illegal to have more then 5 cars behind you in Alaska because you chose to drive 15 miles per hour under the speed limit? Even if you’re in a hurry isn’t it wrong to race up behind someone by driving way over the speed limit at night with your lights on bright blinding them? Then when they hit their brake lights to get you to back off and hopefully dim your lights isn’t it wrong also to give this person an obscene gesture? Shouldn’t there be a universal sign that means, “Hey I’m sorry I screwed up bud” instead of the 1 that makes it look like your at fault because someone else is driving like an idiot? If you are guilty of any of these violations or answered no to any of these above driving questions please report to DMV for a refresher course and a public spanking before you hurt yourself or someone else with your poor driving habits. See you next week!



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