August 12, 1985 |
The birth of a salmon is a triumph of spirit, a celebration of life. For fishermen working a salmon run, there is a sense of participation in one of nature's timeless dramas. Hatching out of tiny eggs in shallow-water gravels of tributaries to a river, little salmon survive at first by absorbing energy from their attached yolk sacs, then by eating plankton and other tiny foods. After about a year, they move downstream. When only four to six inches long, they swim into the open ocean.
March 29, 1987 |
In the chill and darkness of Alaska winter, Indians along the Yukon River gather to keep alive a fiddling tradition that owes as much to mail order catalogues as to fur traders. Hudson Bay fur trappers introduced violin music to the Athapascans of interior Alaska in the 1820s. With the music came dancing: light-hearted reels, jigs, square dances and waltzes with roots in Scotland, French Canada and the Orkney Islands. But it was Sears, Roebuck & Co.
June 15, 2003 |
Dad made a break for it. He rigged the Chrysler Caravan with oxygen cylinders, pocketed his heart and diabetes medicines and set out in mid-March, alone, age 77, on a 3,251-mile journey from his home in Anchorage to visit his mother in Minnesota, which is why my brother and I watched the NCAA basketball championship at a bar on the Yukon River. My mother had urged him to fly to Minnesota, not drive. The highway to the continental United States is grueling.
June 15, 2008 |
With a sickening thud, another hefty and handsome salmon lands in the waste barrel, headed for the dogs. "See, it's all of the biggest, best-looking fish," said Pat Moore, waving a stogie at the pile of discards. "It breaks my heart. My dogs cannot eat all that. The maggots will get them first." More Alaskan salmon caught here end up in the dog pot these days, their orange-pink flesh fouled by disease that scientists have correlated with warmer water in the Yukon River. The sorting of winners and losers at Moore's riverbank fish camp illustrates what scientists have been predicting will accompany global warming: Cold-temperature barriers are giving way, allowing parasites, bacteria and other disease-spreading organisms to move toward higher latitudes.
August 17, 1997
The articles in the July 27 Travel Section were the greatest in a long time. San Juan Islands and the Yukon River ("Paddling Into the Past") were a pure pleasure to read. It was a trip through the past in the present, well written! VIRGINIA JOHNSON Hesperia
July 4, 1991 |
Forest fires have burned up to 270,000 acres and spread fast because of dry weather, an Alaska state forestry official said. More than 1,000 firefighters were battling 44 of the blazes. The flames have come close to native villages, lakeside recreational areas and within 200 yards of some cabins in the Yukon River Valley but so far have burned no buildings. The fires have left trans-Alaska oil pipeline operations unaffected.