Thursday, July 28, 2011

From the River to the Mountains: A Story of Salmon and Hail

Another form of adventure up in AK is dipnetting. This is something you can do only after living here for a calendar year. And it's ridiculous. This year there were record-breaking numbers of sockeye (red) salmon entering the Kenai River, and wouldn't you know it? All of Alaska showed up to scoop big nets in the water to haul their 25 fish! Including yours truly. We scored some sunny weather, which didn't help with the crowds, but I'll take it!

My very favorite kind of salmon is smoked sockeye. Jedd just so happens to be the proud owner of a smoker. So does his brother. So, after filleting 55 fish, we soaked them in home-made brine, got up at weird hours to stoke the smokers, and smoked about 25lbs of fish. Oh my God, SO good. (Sorry, the pic is kinda smokey, heh heh.)

In addition to catching my salmon for the year, my garden has begun to really produce! I've been outside playing so much that I haven't had much time to cook. But my fish and produce got me inspired. The other night I made a smoked salmon salad with lettuce from the garden (and guess where I got the smoked salmon), and a rainbow chard and onion quiche. My onions aren't quite ready, but I have swiss chard growing out the ying yang, so into the quiche it went.
I don't have any "real" adventures on the immediate horizon (well, some are brewing...), so I've been able to train a bit for the Lost Lake Run in August. I'm scared. Very scared. The run is 16 trail miles, the first 5 of which are up and up and up. The farthest I've ever run is 9 miles. Uh oh. Luckily I have my trusty running buddy who is ALWAYS up for a training run into the mountains!

I've convinced myself that it isn't always necessary to run while in the mountains, and that hiking could be good training for Lost Lake too. So I convinced Jedd to hike up to Reed Lakes for my birthday. We made a weekend of it. I'd never camped up there, but have always wanted to. So, off we went! On the way up the weather was very cooperative. For a little while anyway...

About halfway up to Lower Reed Lake we ran into some weather. First it was a drizzle. Then there was a big clap of thunder. Oh man! It rarely thunders here, so that was exhilarating! We decided to march on (we wouldn't have if the thunder and lightening continued, don't worry), and then it really rained. Whew we! Jedd was soaked! And then you know what it did? It HAILED. In mid July. Hail. Evil. We almost turned around then and there, but when you're standing in the middle of no where and it's hailing, it's not like its going to be any better to hike back home than it is to hike to your planned destination. So we hiked on and set up camp.

You'll be shocked to learn that I really started to come down as we were putting up our tent. Shock, surprise. So we sought shelter under a rock outcropping. Wrigley also sought marmots, Mo sought some zzzzzz's, and Jedd and I sought our beer. :)

Once the rain died down a bit we high tailed it up to the Upper Lake just to check it out. But first, a couple shot. Awwwwwww (vomit).

Here's a view of our camp from the trail to Upper Reed Lake. Not sure if you can see it, but the tent is literally in the middle of this picture. It's a beautiful spot and this trail is still my fav!

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