No luck this morning on my annual quest for Morchella, but it’s early yet. The springtime dance has barely started here at north latitude 61.2 degrees. We’re getting close, though. The birch buds are just one sunny afternoon away from popping the country into an explosion of green. The morels will appear soon after, but for now signs of the season can be found in the arrival of winged things.
An amateur Alaskan mushroom hunter learns of resilience and revival. By Ken Marsh “There is something inscrutably satisfying about finding a good patch of morel mushrooms that travels far beyond their excellent flavor, perhaps a trace of the glad hearts of hungry earlier gatherers in the long weary path of evolution.” – Jim Harrison“The SummerContinue reading “Morel Challenges”
So last week’s subzero temperatures finally vanished. Overnight. And just like that the snow started melting as days warmed into the mid-40s and 50s F. Even more miraculously, the waterfowl began to arrive. First, I saw trumpeter swans. They came in pairs or small flocks, landing on ice shelves near open water. Their hornlike callsContinue reading “And Just Like that, Spring Was Here”
“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” — Will Rogers
And of course, waiting at the far end of the trail are those mountain lakes, deep and cold, holding hungry trout, grayling and char eager to strike flies, spinners or spoons.
By Ken Marsh Every city, village and community in this wilderness state has its own birds, animals and viewing treasures. Armed only with a camera and with nowhere to hide I knew calling in a bull moose might be risky. But afternoon glare had eased into golden evening light and the willow shadows now stretchedContinue reading “Alaska Wildlife Viewing: The Urban Option”
We caught and released at least 50 trout that late summer day, all big, powerful, vibrantly colored fish that leaped and ran like the wild things they were. The sandbars were stamped with grizzly bear tracks and not another angler in sight. Such days are rare anymore from the road system in Alaska’s Susitna Valley.Continue reading “Rainbow Days”
North America’s “other” upland bird flies like a bat out of Hell, promising gunning challenges and rewards no hunter should miss.
By Ken Marsh When you have shot one bird flying you have shot all birds flying. They are all different and they fly in different ways but the sensation is the same and the last one is as good as the first. – Ernest Hemingway You’re marching under a late-September sun, shotgun over your shoulderContinue reading “Small Pleasures”
No matter where in Alaska an angler travels, chances are that a hard-fighting fish with pink-spotted flanks and bellies the color of Arctic sunsets lurk nearby. By Ken Marsh The wind swept around me cold and fast and galloped across the tundra like a ghost herd of caribou. Over the ridge it came, in howlingContinue reading “Common Denominators: Fishing for Char in Alaska”