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May 30th – First Thoughts Over Oregon

It’s about to begin again.

I’m on a plane to connect a series of flights further and further north and west. SF to Portland, Portland to Anchorage, Anchorage to Dillingham. It’s a good feeling. As I make this pilgrimage, the airplanes will get smaller culminating in the flight to Dillingham which is on a small twin prop plane. As you board, they still hand out ear protection as the noise of the spinning rotar can be deafening.

In the Anchorage airport there are two small gates called L1 and L2. The lower gates. These gates are the waypoints for the smaller carriers. It’s not Delta or Alaska Air or Cathay…this is for Penn Air, Raven Air – these are the flights that go to the remote reaches of AK. Unalaska, Dutch Harbor, King Salmon, Dillingham. It’s kind of a culture shock because this is where you start getting a taste for what’s to come. Native Ameri cans, Pinoys, cannery workers, fisherman – it’s not unlikely to run into someone you know here. We’re all headed in the same direction. I usually wear dark shades here and pull my hat brim low. When I get to L2, I’ll have been in transit for 16 hours.

I look forward to getting to Dillingham with equal parts anticipation and dread. It’s like putting on an old pair of funky foul weather bibs There is the stiff, salty crustiness. The fishy funk of years past. It’s not always comfortable but, once you get into it, it becomes old hat. It’s about slowing down, working through the discomforts and the connections aren’t the one’s that come through the wires of ethernet and fiber optics, it’s about the connections with the people in the community that you work with. It’s about getting on with projects and getting them done. From all signs it’s going to be an early pop. The late spring temperatures have hovered around an unseasonably warm 70 degrees F. A couple of king salmon have already shown up in a few of the set nets. Nobody expects to spend too much time in the yard.

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