“Freezer-Burned: Tales of Interior Alaska” is a regular column on the San Juan Update written by Steve Ulvi.
Contributed Photo/Dylan Taylor on Unsplash. Inian Islands, Alaska.
The Pitfalls of Fuzzy Thinking
A decade ago, our fourth summer here, my Alaska pal Archie left a phone message that he would be visiting in Washington state. Waiting through his practiced, jolly jibes about us living in “la-la land, surrounded by a dying Salish Sea, noshing on kale”, I heard that he might stop in.
Why Washington? As far as I knew, in his handful of white-knuckled trips Outside in 50 years of living up north, his whole exposure to Washington State was pretty much flyover or bending his elbow in smokey lounges with fisherman and Bering Sea crabbers at SeaTac.
I wasn’t born yesterday, so I had an inkling there was much more to this story when I rang him up at his slough cabin.
Hey Archie, Steve here.
Well, I’ll be damned, how goes it Champ!
We’re good, Archie. We are learning to build a house by ourselves wading through damnable nanny-state codes. I know how to do it now and will never do it again! You still gillnetting those beautiful Yukon kings?
Naa, the run and my old 50 horse outboard both petered out, but the smokehouse was full.
Ah, good. Best salmon in the world! What’s up with this trip you mentioned? Maybe you could bring me some king strips?
Well, I’m flying out tomorrow on the ol’ redeye. I have booked a week in the woods riding an ATV with Bigfoot Expeditions run by a guy named Johnny Styne around some town called Darrington.
Archie, have you lost your mind? We both know that Bigfoot is non-existent; a fanciful hobgoblin wrapped in malarky bundled in pure bunk! I got a better idea. Why don’t you charter me and my boat out here on San Juan Island to look for cases of Canadian booze dumped overboard by nervous westside rum-runners during prohibition? Bound to be more productive than searching for a non-existent ape!
In the pause, I could hear Archie exhale after a deep drag. Read More »