We were treated to the longest sunset/sunrise I have ever been privy to last night/morning. It all blends together up here – night into morning into night. The light doesn’t seem to get good until 11pm, but then it is on until 1:30 or so. It is truly amazing up here and perhaps the most impressive part is not the mountains pouring directly into lakes or the hours of golden light, but the encounters with people we have had. Everyday we meet amazing passionate people that love their lifestyle that finds root in the return of wild salmon to their natal streams.
Most of the folks migrate up here from other parts of the country and the world – they love the sense of freedom that only the fishing lifestyle can provide – the adrenaline of seeing their nets dragged away by the power of thousands of wild pacific salmon intercepted as they make their way to spawn or the tides dictating the time when things get done.
The folks that live here year round truly find their identity in the fish and their annual return. It is how the passing of time is told here and how their identities are formed.
Wild salmon seem to nourish the community just as much as they nourish the entire ecosystems of Bristol Bay. We are extremely fortunate and grateful to be learning this first hand. I have never experienced this kind of sense of community or welcoming hospitality before. We literally walk into to people’s homes as strangers and leave feeling like old friends. It is unlike any other place I have been and I think we might have the salmon to thank for it.