Monday, August 31, 2009

Skunked in Valdez

Cousin B, Fromage and I drove the 360+ miles South to Valdez for a spot of fishing. Above, a view from the Delta River flats towards the Alaska Range.

An old quonset hut I spied in Delta Junction. I LOVE quonset huts and have always harbored a dream of living in one someday....

The interior.... I still love abandoned buildings, so many years after leaving documentary photography. There's nothing like ruined architecture to give me a thrill!

Another view of the Alaska Range, this time from slightly South, right around Summit Lake.

In Valdez, we fished from the dock with a lot of other folks. We saw some silvers being reeled in....but us? No luck. Rain, rain, rain in Valdez....
We camped out the first night and were told that there was a black bear who liked to hang out in the campground and not to keep food in our tents. (Duh.) We told them we were from Fairbanks and they seemed relieved.
We did see the bear later. Fromage and I were walking along the road when it shambled out from between two buildings not 30 yards from us. We stopped in our tracks (me thinking of every escape route to us in the near vicinity) and it shuffled quickly across the road to disappear between more buildings. A car pulled up next to us at that moment and the woman driver said she was going to warn us right when we saw it and stopped. She said, "Aw, he's just dumpster diving."

Cousin B fishing at Allison Point across the bay from Valdez proper. This was said to be a great fishing spot at high tide. You can see the dead, spawned out salmon littering the beach. Still, no luck for us. Cousin B hooked several dying salmon by accident---he called them 'zombie fish'----hooking their tails when he was reeling in. Several fisherpeople had hipwaders and stood in the shallows, the old fish swimming slowly between their knees.

An older carcass....kind of interesting, I thought.

After a night of wet camping and bad sleep, we all opted to get a hotel for our second night. Here, I had to document the ugliest and most offensive arrangement of furniture it has ever been my misfortune to encounter. Cheap hotel, godawful furniture, but a warm, dry night's sleep!

On our way back home sans Cousin B who flew on to Anchorage, Fromage and I stopped to hit a few Letterboxes. Here, I was the first one to stamp this box hidden on a bluff where the old road had fallen into the Copper River far, far below.

And now?

Adventures over for the time being, I'm going to make a lot of art.


Anonymous said...

I can't believe I missed that furniture. Its like a mesmerizer. Its hypnotic in its horrible little way.

Kathy Hodge said...

The photo of the fish is so much more beautiful than that furniture!

k said...

Wonderful pictures. One of these years i'd like to visit a place where nature is still that raw.Humor me for what is more than likely a foolish question, but aside from the lack of sport, is there any reason that the salmon that are on their last days cannot be consumed?

Eero said...

Hello mysterious "K,"

Good question; one I asked, myself.

Spawned out salmon have been roughed up pretty bad from their journey from the ocean. Their meat is mushier and sometimes my husband the former fisherman says, "They've already started to go over..."

If you saw them, you'd understand...they're mottled, and beaten up and lethargic swimmers....really old, sick and on their last, um...fins.

You could certainly eat them, if it were a matter of survival.

k said...

No mystery intended, I just feel that something , even an initial, is more polite than an anonymous tag. If I leave a full first name it invariably leads to mix-ups.

Thanks for clesring up something i've been wondering about for a while. You knoe, they probably could take those old salmon , toss them in some sort of grinder, and churn out a pretty good semblance of what McDonalds serves every day as "Fish Fillet".

k said...

Dear K..enable spell-check. Cue..Embarrassment. Typing is not my forte.

Anonymous said...

the quonset is my osession for a lil airstream BAMBI....