Well, back from a
wonderful fishing trip in and around Resurrection Bay
Despite Doug's graciousness as a host and patience as a teacher,
like there was a strong possibility that no fish were destined
to die on my
vacation! However, the fish got a little too cocky yesterday and
a good number
paid the price.
Between Doug, his sons - Nate and Keith, and myself we brought
home 6 halibut,
16 silver salmon and 1 Lingcod.
Tremendous fun - even though it rained for most of the day! You
yes, we had fish for lunch today!
I'm relaxing and enjoying a 'down day' today and rather then
for Doug and Krista while they are busy getting ready for their
July 4th Bash
(they keep refusing my offers of help - my housecleaning
reputation and skill
at yard work must precede me!), I thought I'd catch up on some
of my writing,
which I am way behind on. First up is to tell you all about the
sign up picnic
and my Alaska trip.
I haven't told the whole story yet but a few weeks before my
came home, handed me an envelope and said "Happy Birthday".
Inside was a
ticket to Alaska. "Go fishing with Doug and enjoy the Sign Up
Picnic", I was
commanded. Gosh knows I always do what Mark says! (Right Mark??)
For a brief while the plan was slightly sidetracked when
unexpectedly jacked the entry fee to $3000, up from $1850 it had
been for the
last number of years. Now I had a ticket to the picnic, but not
to sign up! I was trying to pull money out of hats when some
special friends -
namely Donna Quante, Heather Walls, Penny Blankenship, Jamie
West, Kim and
Kelly Berg, Betty Walden, Marlene Phillips Daniels, Lee
Belfi, Mary Dillingham, Pat Bach and my Mom got together (behind
my back, I
might add) and surprised me with the extra $1200. That was such
surprise and I am so touched by their generosity.
We were back on track.
Shortly before I left home I was in touch with Dr.Mike Davis
Snickers Fund (aka SMURF) and asked him if there was any chance
he was going
to be at the picnic so I could present him with the cheque in
person. After a
nudge from his wife, he advised me he would be in Wasilla to
accept the money
in person. This meant being at sign up was going to be very
And as if all this wasn't adding up to be enough good reasons
for my trip, I
was also able to deliver young Powder to her new home with Jamie
personally! Flying dogs is getting harder and harder these days
and it is
always easier, safer and cheaper when someone accompanies them!
So last Monday Powder and I headed to the airport. Our day was
boring. First my flight out of Edmonton to Seattle was
cancelled. We were
rebooked onto a flight over 3 hours later, but it was late
and hence getting into Seattle, meaning I was not able to jump
ridiculous hoops that the TSA puts on folks traveling into the
US with pets
requires and make my connecting flight to Anchorage. I was
another flight, which was also delayed. I was unable to reach
Jamie by phone
at this point and the airlines refused to pass along a message
to her in
Anchorage, so after a frustrating 1 ½ hour wait for her, Powder
and I finally
arrived in Alaska!We arrived back at Jamie's place sometime around 2:30 am. What a
long day for
I stayed one night with Jamie and then planted my butt over at
which is where I've been since! We've been fishing, sightseeing,
dining extremely well, and - did I mention - fishing??
You know, I haven't fished in more years then I can remember
(and I do have a
pretty good memory), but the few fishing adventures I've had
over the years
(well, with the exception of the time I ended up in the hospital
Alberta with something like 150 thorns in my hand) were
pleasant, so I have
been keen to experience it again. It has been everything I had
Yesterday's trip was exciting, with us having up to 3 fish on
the line at one
time, fish flopping in the boat, lines being reeled, nets being
etc, etc. Add on top of that great company, fabulous scenery and
(like pilot whales and sea lions) - and there is no way I
couldn't have had a
great time. However, standing along the quiet banks of the
Deshka River in the
morning fog and a few days later, in the amazing Alaska twilight
nothing short of spiritual. I know Doug considers the day a
failure if nothing
dies, but I've had some trouble calling those trips a failure.
will stay a long time - although I will admit, adding a fish to
wouldn't have hurt things!
Anyway.back on track..
Somewhere in there I managed to sneak a visit into ITC
Headquarters and talk
to Chas St.George, the publicity guru for ITC, about doing a
presentation of the Snickers Fund at the picnic. He was
So, Saturday morning I slipped over to Jamie West's to cook her
(something I know she doesn't often do for herself) and then
headed over to
the Headquarters for sign up.
The picnic was much as I expected and it was great fun to visit
that I normally only see in the dead of winter. Everyone looked
very relaxed. A number of folks, mushers and fans alike, came
expressed their sadness over our loss of Snickers on the trail
last year. I
was touched people remember and cared enough to offer
condolences. The warm
hugs from so many were wonderful.
I was very honored to be able to present a cheque to Mike Davis
for $2700 from
the Snickers Memorial Ulcer Research Fund. We have a bit left in
the bank and
have a few more donations that folks have committed to, so it
interesting to see what the finally tally we can hand over to
Mike is. (I'm lunching with Mike tomorrow to discuss the projects that the
support and will let you all know what I find out).
I had hoped to do a longer speech and tell a bit more of the
when presenting the cheque, but in all honesty, the day and
moment was quite a bit more emotional then I thought it was
going to be and I
just ended up choking out the very basics.
Please know that I am very grateful to everyone for every penny
that has been
donated in Snickers name. The pain of losing her will never
away, but it is bearable because I know that, in no small part
due to you all,
something good is coming out of it.
In due time forms were signed, cash and credit cards handed over
- and I
officially became the 31st musher to enter the 2008 Iditarod.
Very cool to see this year was that we aren't the only purebred
to enter the race. So far, 4 purebred teams - myself, Wayne
Freking and Rob Loveman have committed to running. Blake's wife,
also be driving a mostly Siberian team to Nome too!
I am very excited about the competition.
Anyway, I've been rambling on for a number of pages now,
probably time to wrap
this all up.
Oh, did I mention that I extended my trip an extra few days??
laughed when I called to make sure that was okay with him. He
said he always
knew that was coming, 'cause it's always hard to get me out of
Off to see if I can't twist Doug's arm in to taking me fishing