Sunday, September 6, 2009

Introducing the Eskimo Pole!

"Learn how to enjoy where you are at on the way to where you are going." ~Joyce Meyer
Fannie, David (her husband) and Lily (their daughter) graciously invited me 'up river' on the beautiful Saturday of Labor Day Weekend. Not needing a moment to decide, I accepted excitedly and rounded up my gear. We jetted about 14 miles up the Kanektok to stop at a favorite spot they like to frequent and I quickly learned why. Only minutes after dropping our lines in, Lily and I (mostly Lily:) were reeling in the blushed out silvers like crazy. Fannie set up shop filleting as fast as we could catch them. While Fannie was wielding her Ulu knife making sort order of the crimson cohos, David searched for some poles and built her a makeshift drying rack which would be full of fish by the time we said good bye to our little spot. When the crimson silvers slowed we started fishing for the rainbows. Apparently Lily and I were not meeting the quota expected so Fannie took the situation into her own hands rigging up a genuine original eskimo pole. Using an extra pole David had found, about 10 feet of the 30 lb. test line I had in my fishing bag (thanks to Sam), and a treble hook, she fashioned a pole that mocked my "Ugly Stick" and put all other poles to shame. "Oh, I got this one a while ago, I think it was made in Japan." she teased as she landed trout after trout showing up Lily and I. We quickly converted and she taught us the appropriate way to fish....using an 'Eskimo Pole";) See the video below. Thanks to Jim and Steph I'm figuring out SLOWLY how to put my videos on again. I'll try to upload some more soon. This is me catching my first rainbow on an eskimo pole.

We arrived back in Quinhagak late and just as the fog was rolling in off the mountains! We could see it, a long gray cloud that hovered on the ground crawling across the tundra until it took over the town preventing us to see more than 2 houses away. Amazing. Anyway Fannie invited me over to take a 'steam bath' in Yu'pik it is called a maqi. We had collected dry wood on our way back down river before we got all the way home. Since most houses don't have running water they build small wood burning steam bath houses, much like a sauna for those of you in the lower 48:) I assume that this is probably similar to the 'sweat lodge' in the Ojibwe culture however I know there is more of a spiritual component to that as well. Anyway, in Fannie's steam bath house which reminds me of our ice fishing houses but maybe smaller. There is an inner room with the hot rocks stove and a bucket full of water to pour on the stove. When you are sufficiently steamed you go out into the outer room where there is a barrel with clean rain water and you use that to wash with. It was a great time, I could definitely get used to steam baths. Slept like a baby. It was a good day.

Sunday of Labor Day Weekend I slept until noon (remember the whole sleeping like a baby thing)! Steph and I listened to church on the computer. Went mushing on the four wheeler with Sherry while Steph babysat Sherry's little ones, Einer and Addy (Jim says she's practicing;).

Today, Monday of Labor Day Weekend, Steph and I went low bush cranberry picking. The blueberries are done and the cranberries are ready. Later ran to the Arolik River with Sherry, an 8 mile round trip:) Finally the day ended with a great night of bible study with several ladies from the village. I am so blessed to be here in this place right now, I am blessed to have family and friends who are sharing this journey with me. I wish you could all come visit. Come meet Fannie and her beautiful family, go to church and hear the Yu'pik words, take a walk to the store maybe purchase your very own 'quspak' (Yu'pik shirt worn by everyone). We could pick berries, maybe jog/walk with Ani to the beach, maybe we could even find someone with a boat to take us up river. It would be fun if you could be here. But our journeys are different right now and I can't have everything I want so I hope you smile knowing in my heart you are all here:)

"This is God's work. We rub our eyes—we can hardly believe it! This is the very day God acted— let's celebrate and be festive! Salvation now, God. Salvation now!
Oh yes,
God—a free and full life!" Psalm 118:23-25


  1. Oh my goodness my friend!! I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU SO SO SO SO MUCH!! Wish I could share on your adventures!! Summer is finally over her too. We definitely need to you have skype?!?!? LOVE YOU...Heather

  2. Hi Rachel, sounds like you are having a great time. Your Mom is out visting my parents in Clam Lake, you think my Dad has talked her ear off yet.
    I have been printing your "story" for my parents to read. You are am amazing writer. It's the best book I have read in a while.

    I am currently enrolled in the Massage therapy program in Rice Lake, will probably be getting volunteers(victims) from the condo area!

    I told my Mom that your Mom and she should sign up for the absolute beginner computer classes at the Hayward WITC this fall. Give them something to do!

    Sounds like you are having a great time and living life to the fullest. Also, sounds like you are encircled with a great group of people. Keep up the posiive attitude and enjoy every moment! Take care, Lisa

  3. Heather and Company!!! I miss you all so much! I'm glad you survived I bet it was amazing and draining! I don't have skype yet but I'll eventually get it. Blessings! Rach

  4. Lisa, Thank you for your encouragement! And for keeping an eye on all of our villagers for me:O) Rach