Flight to Western Alaska
April 25 - 28, 2005
We took several spring sales trips to remote Alaskan villages over the years. People were always curious as to why we'd come so far. Some were suspicious, wondering if we might be Fish and Game officers in disguise. All we had to say is we were there to visit the school. People then welcomed us warmly and offered directions.
For years, I'd wanted to fly to western Alaska and down the Kuskokwim River. In April 2005, we finally made it to that area of the world for our final Bush sales trip. At Naknek we walked around looking at huge fishing boats with their bows chopped off. Why? There's a length limit for commercial fishing boats and stubbing the bow is a way to get more boat into the allowed length. In the morning we were awakened by an airplane landing on our side of the river to pick up kids and transport them across the river to school. I was familiar with riding to school on buses, but planes?
We reached Dillingham late in the day and learned it wouldn't be practical to pitch a tent there under the wing as we usually did. We walked into town to visit schools and then met someone who invited us to camp near his cabin at the fishing village of Clark's Point. The village was abandoned that time of year. In the evening we hiked up to an ancient Russian Orthodox church high on the hill with a spectacular view. The airplane wing shielded our plane from a deluge during the night.
We continued to Togiak the next day, then on to Bethel, where again, it wasn't possible to camp next to the plane on pavement. The hike to town was miles long, but someone gave us a ride, and upon learning we needed a place to stay, offered to let us sleep in a little shed loft he used to escape from his kids sometimes. We were warm and dry while the weather raged outside.
The next day was clear and calm. We flew over hundreds of miles of wilderness, then through Merrill Pass and home. It was so calm as we flew through the pass that I was able to take some excellent videos of Mt. Redoubt, an active volcano, and the ragged Alaska Range to share with you.
The music is "Exploring the Rivers" by Timothy Seaman, from his album Jamestown. Used by permission. Find more of Timothy Seaman's music at timothyseaman.com.
Go on to read Flight around Mt. McKinley
Source: www.SusanCAnthony.com, ©Susan C. Anthony