Friday, November 27, 2009

Taku River Tlingits

(pronounced klingkits)

Brian an Vicky live in this area in the winterIt's an hour flight. Check out their blog!

Memories again, these photos are from, to be exact 23 and a half years ago.
Vernon's catch. They are commercial fisherman.

Vernon Williams and Lester Jack fixing the nets.

Me (25) at the US/Canadian border. While we were waiting for the fishing to be opened. Which is strictly regulated. The men took me to a lonely marker of the border.

Another day Rick took me in his motorboat to Twin Glacier in Alaska (no border crossings here) to get some ice to cool the fish being caught the next day.

For memories sake: I remember standing on the dock in Atlin, backpack and all, to wait if Jon Mahoney, could fit me in the plane. When the little bush plane was full i would not be able to come. I squeezed in!
We had to make camp when we arrived, at an old campsite of Sylvester Jack, (the chief back then) There was an old cabin, an old bus. And i forgot if we set up the walltent or if it was already there. The water of the river was light green, full of glacial silk, the trees where enormous. And there was a little piece of road along that river, ending nowhere. In the evening i would walk it, for walking's sake.
We did have an outdoor shower, oh, what a delight, in those days i was still used to showering daily.
The humming birds loved the bright tarps of our tent, and fluttered around us.
We ate wild meat, that Vernon had brought. I remember that often when we came back to the camp, i started the fire made coffee and cooked dinner. Ahh back then i loved that task.
During the day we either explored the river in the little motorboat, or worked on the nets. Fisheries established when the fishing would be open, which i don't know how that is regulated. One evening we got the radio call, that it would be open for 24 hours or so, starting 5 AM. Early that morning we set off with the boat to their fishing hole, i remember a conjunction of two rivers, maybe two arms of the same river. We set up a small camp, wore our rain gear day and night, exposed skin lathered with mosquito dope. We do sleep a little bit, due to a small hole in my sleeping bag, i wake up with a bag full of mosquitoes.
When i didn't sleep, i gutted fish and fish and fish. Ahhhh again, i who never so much as looked at meat or fish before it ended up on my plate. I could hear my family laugh at what kind of job i had taken on now.
When the allotted time was up, the plane would come in and get the fish. Again, when i would fit in i would get a ride, when not, i would have to stay to another week.
I did have a very beautiful week, gorgeous wilderness and meeting all the river people and working(i liked being useful back then)
I have to ask Vernon, i think they did worry about me, and were happy to see me go, as fishing is busy enough without having to look after a city girl. What ever the reason i remember being anxious to get out. Wondering if i didn't fit in the plane, would i fit in the next week or the next?
On 3th flight i slipped in between the last of the fish.

Sorry Jon Mahoney, i never payed for the flight :) I do like to add the end of this tale. Jon (the pilot) was my ex-lover, I was under the impression that i didn't need to pay; because, he had been my lover recently and was only taking me if there was room in the plane. I gave him the 80 dollar (so small an amount:) cheque, but felt i didn't want to pay him. I cancelled the cheque and had him go to the bank without telling. oops.
That 80 dollars, you might think i was a spoiled brat for not paying, which i was, but a few months later returning home. I had to pay 80 dollars at London England airport to be allowed on the plane to Amsterdam. It was the last 80 dollars in my pocket. I always thought it was preordained for me to be that way, that day i didn't pay.


Bryan and Vikki said...

You have made me laugh...I don't think things have changed all that much down on the Taku river. It is a world our place. You should come..

RachelW said...

The cancelled cheque; that made me giggle! Oopsies! Haha, such a human story. Hugs!

christopher said...

What a cool, beautiful story! I feel privileged to know this about you.

At The Border

Standing stones say it.
This is the border between
our worlds, the edges
of hope and stories
of the cliffs and waterfalls
that draw us nearer
to the long telling
by the fire. I've gathered wood
and you tend the tea.

Meandering Michael said...

I took this shot in September 2008.

I'll give you one guess who that is fishing off the dock at King Salmon Lake.

jozien said...

Bryan and Vicky, i am glad to hear that things haven't changed that much. It is such a special place. And who knows, i might come.
Rachel, i am glad you think itis funny too:) because really...
Thanks Christopher, i put that picture in especially for you. And i am thrilled to have tea with you this way.
Thanks Michael, that is one beautiful picture! I take it is Vernon, yes?

TechnoBabe said...

I checked out Bryan and Vikki's blog per your suggestion. You are right it is really interesting. It is fun to be able to laugh with you about the $80 check of long ago and all the new things your younger self was doing.

Anonymous said...

I love the pictures of the Taku! Is there a way to get copies? Some of the pictures have my dad in them, as well as, my cousin. It would be wonderful if a copy could be supplied.
Michelle Williams