Monday, October 12, 2015

The Photo Bin - September 2015

You should have seen it coming. This month's photo bin could only be outtakes from Alaska for what else am I to do with the hundreds of images that came home with me? I'll go easy on you, though. Just a handful here. Odds and ends. The usual bin fare.

Scott will probably kill me for this, but the first image here from the Royal Coachman Lodge comes from the backyard. Not a glam shot of the lodge or slick advertising piece of scenery, but a view from the guts of the operation. Truth be told, when you're an hour away by float plane from the anything approaching civilization, there's nothing more reassuring than finding a well stocked and thoroughly outfitted workroom, capable of dealing with whatever the wilderness might throw at you.

Polished and comfortable rooms are nice (and the Coachman has that covered, have no worries), but having the right tools is priceless.

A quite different view of the place, nestled comfortably along the Nuyakuk River, taken as we circled before landing on our final day of fishing. I never tired of this vantage point.

An impressive moose skull and rack that adorns the front yard of the lodge, perfectly accentuated by thick morning mists on the Nuyakuk. These particular mists never gave way and kept us grounded the entirety of the day.

But the grounding had a silver lining, relegating us to the boats alone and to traveling a few miles downstream to visit some of the wildest and most beautiful rapids I've experienced. They were accessible this season only because of unusual and extreme low water conditions, providing a special opportunity to fish fast waters and eddies that had been untouched for years.

Fall arrived on the Tikchik during our week's stay, the colors of the tundra changing each and every day. I'm used to my autumnal brilliance arriving in the trees, so it's emergence from the ground was fascinating to see.

How's this for confidence? A sixty-inch tape in Cory's wader pocket. We never stretched it out, but not for lack of trying, and it was a constant reminder of the possibilities.

So, what do the guides do in the evenings? They retire to the barn to compare notes and shake off the day with a wicked game of darts. It's lively competition until the generator shuts down and sends everyone to bed. Some days that happens later than others.

In the absence of high speed internet, you must rely on lower tech for your immediate weather forecasts. A strategically placed stencil on the lodge's glass front door works just fine.

Another shot, here, of one of the out-of-the-way places that makes the lodge tick. The fare that comes out of this kitchen is mighty hard to beat.

And speaking of mighty hard to beat, so is this view off the front deck. Cory and Charles take a few minutes after diner and before the sun slips away for some late evening spey casting tips. Picking up a few grayling and rainbows in the process didn't hurt and the setting was spectacular.

One of the most important lessons I've learned from wife, Mary, is that while the panorama might be inspiring, so too are the little things. Take a moment to look at what's close at hand, to look down, and find the joy and beauty that's within your reach. You don't have to be in Alaska to be exhilarated.

But I must admit, it doesn't hurt.

What is a Photo Bin?


Unknown said...

Again a splendid grouping of photos to tell a fine story, from which I mostly gleaned that shitty beer is drank in Alaska. My kinda beer.

Mike Sepelak said...

An astute observation, Kirk. It is.

Actually, we "visitors" were given the option of pre-ordering any alcohol we wished so finer brands could be available. For simple efficiency, I chose firewater instead. But one guy did take the opportunity to bring in an upgrade in brewski, and then totally blew in on Becks. Go figure.

CathyB said...

Wonderful photos, as usual, Mike.

CARF said...

Wonderful captures and story, Mike. I've really been enjoying all of these.

Mike Sepelak said...

THANKS Cathy and Justin!

Chris said...

Fantastic shots. And like it was already mentioned -- they tell a great story in just a few images. I love that.

Mike Sepelak said...

... worth a thousand words, Chris. Thanks!

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