And that we did, all night long for the last of the early-run sockeyes on the Kenai and Russian Rivers. Due to the lack of darkness around these parts one can virtually stay awake the entire night continuing to partake in normal daytime activities as if the late pm and wee am hours never even happened (http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/city.html?n=18k/). However, we did find that though the mind is willing, the body eventually gives up and refuses to go on... Pictured above would be Josh and I at about 3:00 this morning, Mom standing between, proud of herself to have outlasted us. Not to worry she conked out as soon as we got back to the apartment around 1:00 pm this afternoon. She did not even make it to her bed as you can see.
This fishing expedition idea took root around 10 am yesterday morning. We packed gear and got a hold of a crew that would be crazy enough to join the all night marathon of anglers. This would consist of Jim and Jake - father son duo visiting from Arizona, Mike - the boys foreman at work, and Ray, Kirsten and Hunter -the boys' boss and family. After an eternity of running all over town grabbing this and that essentials we headed south for the Kenai, Mom and I snugly buried under rods, tackle, and coolers etc. in the back seat of the Monte C (yep, its still going Joey).
As we cruised down Highway 1, I felt like I was in the cabin of a ship peering out my tiny portal window at the passing mountains and oceans along the Turnagain Arm (named so because when Cpt. Cook was exploring this area, he sailed in thinking it would go somewhere only to find a dead end where he had to 'turnagain' and go back out to sea). We arrived at the Russian River Ferry around 10 pm expecting to see less people since it was evening (according to the clock) but we were in plenty of good company (no one else goes by the clock either). The adventure began as we loaded onto the ferry and were hauled to the other side of the river (FYI 'on the other side of the river' is where the bears are, the ferry stops running at 11pm until 6 am, which meant well, you do the math). So I shouldn't have been surprised as I was blissfully casting away in my pink and blue getup, when Sam hollered down the shore at me "Hey, you see the Grizzly, Rach?". I had known this question was nearly inevitable but I still wasn't prepared "What?! Where?! No don't tell me. I don't want to see a Grizzly! Not in real life." Despite my desperate attempts to ignore the scene away, I finally forced myself to pry open one eye to eek out a peek in the grizzly's direction. It commanded attention from anyone within eye shot, impossible to miss, as large as the moose I ran with the other day, but more massive and beautiful in a fearsome, awesome way. It was just minding its own business, about 30 yards from us, slopping around in the the water in search the same thing we were. "Yep, he's the one from earlier. He's been circling around here all day." an all too kind, fellow salmon slayer volunteered as he and his son passed by. 'Circling around?!?!?' sounds stalkingish to me I panicked to myself, uneasily nodded and moved a little closer to the guy next to me, much to his dismay (you aren't supposed to crowd people). He shot me an unapproving glare to inform me that he could careless about my bear phobia, wouldn't be saving me if I got mauled and then wasted no time moving farther upstream. Thankfully, the bear was content with the fish and I found peace of mind at the 44s my brothers were toting. As a matter of fact, as I surveyed the river's edge I noticed my bros weren't the only pistol packing fishermen, holsters dotted the shoreline. I imagined us all part of some old western, Shoot Out at the Kenai Corral or something.... Inspired, I twisted my trusty can of bear spray into a more readily accessible location on my hip, something like a four year old with a plastic squirt gun, and tried to push back the taunting thoughts of, in the unlikely event that I would actually have to use my 'bear deterrent', I would probably just end up blinding myself and anyone unlucky enough to be in my vicinity. Fortunately, the bears and the humans seem to hesitantly tolerate one another for this Alaskan episode. Both species understand that there's enough to go around, and as long as they leave each other to their harvesting, nobody has to get hurt.
So we had a successful trip braving the chilly waters from 10pm to 7am. Now the food saver assembly line begins again. I'd like to bring your attention to my new waders and pink vest (pictured above with Sam and Mom) in which the boys say I look like an ice cream cone and don't particularly want to be seen with me. Come to think of it, maybe that's why the guy next to me moved upstream...hum. Oh well, I like to think of it as a great character builder for everyone involved;)