Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Breaking out the XtraTufs

I made it across the inlet to the town of Beluga last weekend. It's a quick flight, but any time in a small airplane is time well spent.
Beluga's a small community consisting of a few cabins, an airstrip and a power plant near the mouth of the Chuit River (yes, the entire town is in the picture above). Not a bad place to live off the land . . . so long as you don't mind fending off open pit coal mines and brought your woman with you.

I was in Beluga on a site visit for work. One of the River's primary tributaries is the site of a proposed coal mine. The so called Chuitna Coal Project is a hair-brained idea of marginal economic value that would sacrifice the strongest salmon-producing system on the west side of Cook Inlet in the name of coal exported to foreign markets. A great idea, I'm sure.
Thanks to a bit of mud and mosquitoes the size of pterodactyls, actually getting to the stream took a little work. I'm not sure I had been on an ATV since participating in a Forest Service ATV safety session that resulted in a medevac flight for one of my coworkers. It's no wonder why rednecks love those things.
The main stem of the Chuit was running low and clear with a few Chinook splashing around here and there. This place is so rich in coal that chunks of the stuff literally were all over the gravel bars. Amazing.

We eventually worked our way up to "Stream 2003," the tributary where the mine is planned to go. Despite having a name that sounds like it came from a GIS technician who had never been to the stream, it's a great place for coho salmon.
This fish weir on Stream 2003 is operated by a contractor as part of the mining company's efforts at collecting baseline information. Josh, if you're interested, I'm sure they pay well.

After spending a couple days tromping around the watershed and meeting with locals, it was time to head home. No fishing for me on this trip; although, I'll have to head back this fall for the coho run.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Getting beat to the water

The Wife came back from her recent "business" trip complaining about all her mosquito bites and how her arm was sore from fishing too much.
Don't think for a minute she got any sympathy from me.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sale Pending

Sometimes things just fall in place. Just weeks ago, The Wife and I were facing the very real prospect of having to make mortgage payments on a vacant home in Wyoming while making rental payments in Anchorage. Something that would have broke our bank account's back in short order. Instead, we were able to sell our old home, and find another in a matter of weeks. Pretty sweet, huh? If everything goes according to plan, we're set to close on July 10.

In other news, I've been slacking on the blog big time. Between work, the chaos of moving, and an impending bar exam, It's become too easy for me to neglect The Lunker. It's not that I haven't had material to post about, it's that I just haven't been finding the time to sit and write about it. I'll see what I can do to remedy things...