Christmas is just around the corner and I am faced with the realization that once again all my good intentions of keeping up on my blog over the spring, summer, and fall have fallen flat. There seems to be one season out here that gives me the time to sit by the fire and hammer away at the laptop keys in a fit of inspiration.
Joe is out on the lake dragging a runway for a supply load coming in this weekend. Its been a cold freeze up with almost no snow. We got about 7 inches two weeks ago, but the wind that followed left everything pretty bare. We don’t have enough snow to do the snow machine trail, in fact we had a pretty rough go of things just trying to get a christmas tree. Each year brings new challenges, reminding us that life out here means always adapting to the weather patterns and rolling with whatever comes our way. It seems like after a few years we would begin to run out of firsts, but every season brings a new set of them. This year has been no exception.
We had our busiest tourist season yet, Joe and I barely had a moment to catch our breath. As always, we met wonderful people from around the world who made us laugh and shared stories of their lives, reminding us that we are not all as different as we think we are and that common ground isn’t hard to find……. no matter where you come from. While we were beyond thankful for a good season, by the time October rolled around we both were exhausted and dreaming of the quiet and calm days of winter.
This Spring, I did my first stay alone at the lodge for a few days, while Joe headed out to fish the copper river for our winter meat. I found a certain thrill in knowing it was just me out here in the vast wilderness, and that I had to figure everything out on my own. Howie wasn’t very good company during that time, since he got bitten up by noseeums (apparently herbal dog bug spray doesn’t work in Alaska!) and took to hiding in the shop. Not to worry though, Wilson turned out to be a very good companion……on second thought maybe too much time out here alone isn’t such a great idea! Thankfully, we ended up with plenty of salmon…….. nothing makes me happier than blackened salmon sizzling on the stove on a winter evening. (Joe doesn’t share my love of salmon, he would take a moose burger over salmon every time, but he never complains about how often it appears on our dinner table……smart man!)
Another first we had this year was that my dad finally made his first trip out to the lodge. It was funny as the plane was taxing towards the dock, I knew my dad was in the front seat because I couldn’t see his head over the dash. (now I know how it looks when I ride as co pilot!) Those of you who know my dad, know he is a pretty excitable guy, he was so excited his first day here I was a little worried he was going to give himself an asthma attack. Few people have as deep of a love of nature, fresh mountain air, and roughing it as my dad. I don’t have to look very far to know where I get my love of the wilderness. Joe’s dad came out for a while too, he had a moose tag so we were looking for a nice bull for him. Dad and I spotted a bull one morning and spent several hours just watching him, he was too far to go after, but we really enjoyed watching him. It was early in the rut, so the bull was starting to collect a few cows. Not many people can sit and glass for long periods like I do, usually even Joe and Howie get board with me and start exploring or playing with sticks, but with my dad I found the perfect companion…. we sat on the tundra for long periods watching the wildlife around us. For me, its therapeutic, as I scan the tundra all my tiredness just ebbs away, trying to find an animal is like a treasure hunt. (It’s weird to some people, I guess, but then again I think its weird to camp out on a side-walk outside of Best Buy so you can fight a person for a new television.) Dad’s time here was short, but we packed in as many adventures as we could, canoeing, hiking, glassing, he even got to see the northern lights. Hopefully, he will be able to make another trip out here before too long.
Now as winter settles in the sun barely peeks above the mountains before it begins its decent, but we don’t mind, we curl next to the fire with a steaming cup of coffee and read another book, watching the skies and dreaming of a white Christmas.
8 thoughts on “White Christmas ?”
Hi Bonnie, you are such a darn good writer, especially because I can relate so much to the loner, simple kind of life away from the crowds and enjoying the nature around us. Maybe we are more closely related than you think. Those pictures of Jack brought back so many memories as he was my best friend and I dragged him out of the bars, got rid of his commie red star hat and got him to Jesus. He even lived with us for a time and we were inseparable.
Then Joseph, one of the sweetest guys, and by the way I was the first to see him born as I delivered him into this world. He has a special place in my heart and I miss him. So see we are more closely related than you might think. Keep up the good work as I’m drinking my coffee by the fire as it snows outside here in Montana.
Hey there Uncle Frank,
Thanks for reading my blog. We feel very blessed to live a quiet life in the alaskan wilderness. It is amazing how intertwined our families have been over the years.
Dad always shared memories of you and Aunt Katie with us growing up. I know God used you in his life and that he was blessed by your friendship.
Enjoy your coffee by the fire,
with love , Bonnie
You are so blessed. Love the all the pictures. Dreaming of making it up there one day. Good to see pictures of your dad. Its been a long time..😊
Thanks Judy, life out here definitely has its challenges but we feel so blessed to have the opportunity to experience life in the wild. We would love to have you, Alaska should be on everyones bucket list. Thanks for reading, I hope you and your family are doing well.
Hey I’m not on Facebook anymore but Ray Winbark passed away. Would you let your parents know for me. They might already know But incase they dont. Thank you Judy
So sorry to hear that, I will pass that on to my dad. Thanks for letting us know.
Thanks for sharing your daily lives on the ‘edge of nowhere’. I too know the feeling of having a relative visit and felt the same way when my son traveled from Texas to my remote cabin… you and I can revel in the happiness they experience in a land that we live in every day.
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Thanks for reading Pete