Wake Up Call for Winter

By , October 23, 2010

Yesterday we realized we needed to go to town to pick up a prescription, even though we’d decided to stay home. We knew that if we left in the morning, we couldn’t return till afternoon because of the tide, so we decided to go up the Chilkat River valley to look for highbush cranberries and fish the coho salmon run on the river.

Almost on a whim I decided to wear a heavy, windproof sweater under my coat, even though I thought I’d be too warm. That was lucky. It’s cold upriver!

We found patches of frost in the low lying areas as we went up the valley, and when we went out on the river we found a rim of ice. Bear, wolf, and people tracks had solidified in the frozen river sand and silt. The water froze us through our hip waders as we fished. Soon we couldn’t feel our toes at all.

At some point toward the end of the day, I commented that we would look back on the day as having been a lot of fun—once we got warm again! We couldn’t give up on the fish, because we could see them in the water, practically at our feet. Michelle and I each hooked a fish, but they both got away. By the time we gave up, we were too cold to pick berries, and the afternoon tide had turned, so we could cross back home. We did find some nice river rocks, and a handful of oyster mushrooms, which will be very tasty.

To me, it felt like a wake up call. The weather’s been steadily cooling, but we weren’t entirely prepared for it to be so cold just yet. Those low temperatures will reach the homestead soon enough, as autumn turns to winter.

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