Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Togiak, day one

 gifted with this amazing rainbow. love rainbows.  i mean who doesn't love rainbows.  we get the big across the sky rainbows up here on a pretty regular basis.
 i just cruised around and get a feel for Togiak.  this was also my Birthday i guess, but it didn't much feel like it out there on my own.
 got Kennicott trip coming up soon.  happy i just chilled after Round Island.  my back/foot/knee have all been a bit achy, good to get pictures looked through and just relax.  got some good sleeping in.  i head back to work Thursday.  perhaps i'll try for a day trek to Seward tomorrow if i get myself motivated in time.
 today we did hit the beach here in Anchorage which the puppies always love.  though they don't like that they have to walk down and back on leash.  good training for them though.  Tusker is still always searching for something to chase so i really have to watch him and the surrounding area to make sure i see it before him.  i've been good at not letting them escape my grip and therefore get rewarded for these chase attempts.  they are not small so not always the easiest task to keep them at bay.
 scenes in Togiak.  these small town dogs tend to be on short chains with a dog house.  that is just pretty typical.
 decided to take a bath this afternoon.  never do that.  apparently, i freaked out the puppies.  they are not used to me laying in the tub like that i guess.  i semi dozed off in total relaxation until Ivy broke the fence barrier i have so the cat can have freedom and i woke getting licked in the face by a rather concerned looking puppy.  once she saw i was okay, she grabbed a slipper and booked.  thankfully, the slipper survived.
 beach time.  always enjoy exploring beaches in new places.  you never know what you will find.  i do like that the folks in this community seem to enjoy beach walks and getting outdoors.  not too many prizes on my walks but still enjoyable.  love to get some of those remote beaches and see what is out there.  Nome has miles of great beach combing beaches.  Barrow does too, but it also has Polar bears so not so relaxing.
 stuff is starting to grow.  today there were flowers bursting out at the Anchorage beach.  not many folks out there. the pups had a great time running and digging.  pure puppy heaven.
 seemed to often be bald eagles flying around along with an assortment of other birds.  i make no claims at being a birder so i won't try to ID the other birds i saw.
 Monday was not the best day for me in Togiak.  really was tough being there without any phone, just waiting.  i'd pretty much decided if we got no ride to the island Tuesday i'd just try to catch a plane back to Dillingham and Anchorage
 planes came and went.
 it was just a frustrating day and i think it was eye opening.  here i was in a place that probably was not all that supportive of WARIS.  i did a lot of work and ultimately it does bring money to their village, but still they seemed to resent that the state is there, that we are there, that it isn't theirs alone. guess i just hadn't expected the lack of support or enthusiasm for this place that i have fallen in love with.  to them it's just another place that has been taken over by the state.  was i seen as more of a foe than a friend?  i had tried to include them as i created this. made calls, sent emails.  i really never got much of a response.  it wasn't support or lack of support, just no response really.
 i'd seen the dog head on the beach and in a conversation with the inn keeper she mentioned awhile back there had been some guys that stayed there, she'd thought they were friends, but they were...."a couple?" i said.  yes.  she told me after they left she'd burned the mattress.  Wow.  she said she had grandkids and couldn't take any chances of them getting sick.  i was pretty stunned.  just not really around people who think this way....all i could think of to say was that as a nurse, i could assure her there would be nothing on that mattress that would put her or her family at risk. i'm hoping that the mattress was old and she'd been debating getting rid of it anyway, that this story was really a bit more drama than truth.
 the community resents government involvement but also accepts a great deal of government support no doubt.
 it's also a community like most that live somewhere between the old ways and the modern ways.
 a great series of articles was recently published in the Alaska Dispatch News.  it was about St Lawrence Island and the life there. they straddle the old and the new as well.  i think some places have had an easier time keeping their traditions alive. one in Togiak suggested oil money made it easier for some places, but St Lawrence doesn't have any oil money.  i think they are probably just more isolated.  they rely more on walrus as a community.
 for them, they have noted the differences in the sea ice that they rely on. it comes in later and leaves earlier and is weaker when it is there making it hard to support them in their hunting activities.  there are two main villages. Savoonga and Gambell. hopefully one of these days i'll get out there.  i try to explore this amazing state.
 these communities harvest the most walrus of any other place in AK.  Togiak really doesn't depend on walrus like these places do. still they eat other things and have limited themselves on the number of walrus they catch. it is still mostly a subsistence life in many places up here.  buying food at the local stores is spendy.  i suspect many of the younger generation will turn away from some of the diet that their relatives eat.  eating seal/walrus/whale...it can be an acquired taste i think.
 wifi is slow in many places or like my phone useless.
 caribou antlers sit in a yard.
 front deck of the place i stayed.

 boat sitting out front is unused at this time.  made for a nice photo op at least especially with the rainbow in the evening.
 Tuesday i did get out to the island.  with so rapid planning i totally forgot that most people don't accept credit cards and you must have cash or check. i forgot my check book.  the cash machine became my friend.  the boat captain would be like no biggie one minute and i need my money now the next, then back to no biggie you can send the rest later, then i'm taking you to the ATM when we get back on the boat.  you can only take so much out per day.
 clearly, there were deep seeded feelings about the history of the whites and how they treated the natives.  this seemed to dominate conversations with the boat captain as well.  though as we prepared to leave i asked if his Russian name had been forced on his people. i have heard that often natives were given surnames as this was not something they necessarily had before the Russians and other whites came to AK.  he has Russian from both his parents.  he seemed to wish that the state would emphasize the native culture of the island.  on the way back i mentioned that we would be making a new pamphlet and it would be possible to add some of this history in to that.  he did share more after that and seemed to lighten up a bit with that possibility and with me taking interest in that aspect of the island.
 my first fox sighting on island i was walking on trail and felt like i was being followed. i turned and there the fox was.  the next sighting was right after i settled in for the night in my tent.  a fox popped up from under the platform.
 i think work keeps calling . place must be busy.  gonna rest my back before i go back though.  not a great time to do extra.
 lots of pictures of the rainbow i guess.  who can resist.
 the news hasn't changed much.  we are leaving the Paris Climate agreement apparently.  anything that says Obama is to be destroyed. many states just plan to continue on with the goals of the agreement anyway.  the world seems to be moving forward despite our iitoo.  attacks in London and he tweets the most idiotic crap.  nobody can control him in his party.  no idea what they are doing...trying to get what they can out of him before ditching him.  seem to be burying their political careers hanging onto this twinkie though.  their plan is to sabatoge the ACA.  replace it with total crap.  not sure this is all going to play out for them.  they may find themselves fighting for a world that just doesn't exist.
 change is tough for some.  admitting that perhaps they were wrong is even harder.  some never will.
 you have to adapt in this world or get eaten up by it.
 so far the walrus have been adaptable.  we shall see.

 another lazy day for me here.  just one more camera to look at pictures on. sitting still not the best.  seems a bit better overall though.  did a lot of stretching on the island.

 it was peaceful being out there.  not as many days as i'd hoped for but the days i had were really sweet.  spent some time with the sea lions.  got some nice pics of a few of them jumping into the water.
 not a lot of time for loads of pics.  probably my best of walrus were that last morning at flat rock.  very relaxing watching them for that time.
 i have to adapt as well....like we all do.  feel like i have adapted to many things in life.  being single, not having kids, becoming a nurse, moving....
 to the left that bump of a mountain the distance...it is actually Round Island.  you could see it from Togiak.
 and then the clouds came in and it was gone.
 better crash early tonight.  i'm tired.
 grateful for:  A.  concerned puppies who are watching out for me. B.  my ability to read and write.  c.  all the advantages i had growing up.

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