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Subject: Fish Wheels
For the list Ole,
Well it has been an exciting time! We seen some great scenery on the TOK Cutoff south of TOK. Big moutains with lots of
snow on them. By Glennallen when we got on the Richardson Hwy the road was terrible but when we headed south for Valdez
it was good. We seen the pipeline for the first time. The oil in the pipeline is very, very thick and they have to keep
it hot or things would gel up bad. Because they don't want the heat unthawing the permafrost the pipe line is insulated
and above ground. Each support has two thermal coolers that keeps the ground cool. The pipe is 40 inches and is
constructed in a zig zag fashion and has joints that give to handle expansion and contraction.
We went thru Copper Center but did not see any fishing going on other than a few at a RV park. We then headed east on the
McCarthy HWY and stopped at Terry and Tammy Van Wyne but the neighbor said she was gone to Juneau and Terry was gone
They are from MN and our niece and nephew who recently moved from AK to SD knows them. He is the only hog farmer in this
whole area. We did see some hay being raised here. We went to Chitina and crossed the Copper River on a huge brige and
"PAYDIRT" what I had been looking for. People parked all over the place and lots of fish wheels in the river and people
doing dip net fishing for salmon. You have to be a resident of AK to do this and there are only a few spots you can do
what is called subsistance fishing. A family can catch 500 fish to live on. They also have subsitance hunting area's up
here. It started out for the Indian's but could not discriminate against the whites so it is for all AK. No income
guidelines, we see some 100K RV coaches here. The fishing wheels are NEAT. The water turns them and the wheel has
two screen fish buckets and two paddle arms. As the Salmon swim upstream they swim into the screen bucket and as the
wheel turns is lifts them out of the water and they slide to the back of the bucket which is slope and out of a side
hole they fall right into a big bucket. The dip netting is a lot of work. You basically rig up a net at the end of
a 20-30 ft. aluminum pole and push it out and they let it go down stream and you make sure it is vertical by the handle
on the end of the alum pole. They almost all have a scoop shovel handle on the end. The fish are swimming up stream
and hopefully into the net which they have riding on the bottom. Sometimes they walk them down stream a little ways.
They go out in the water a ways to walk and get right next to the drop off into the river. I got to know a guy real
well from Anchorage who does avalanche control at the slope by Anhorage. He really filled me in. I got some great
pictures of all this. I spent hours getting clued in. I stayed out until past 3 am as it does not get dark and the
salmon run best at night starting about 11 pm.
Today we went to what was the richest copper mining area in the world by McCarthy and Kennicott. It was very interesting.
We went over a bridge over a canyon the was many hundred feet above the bottom built about 1910 for the railroad going
out to the mine. What a master piece. Got some great pictures. The road is now where the rail road was and there are
rail and ties along and in the road. The road is the worst I have ever driven on in my life. The washboard was terrible.
I let a bunch of air out of my tires as I could not stand it!!!! It was so bad and so long I would stop and just
crawl along. It took 4 hours to go the 58 miles. We seen our first glacer and seen some water really getting out and
moving. I would say 25 mph based on the speed of some debre! The stuff is just full of gray, glacial tilth!
When we got back to the 5th I went and got some better pictures of the fishwheels and the dip netting and talked to
several people running them. Tomorrow we head for Valdez for probably a couple of days and then to Anchorage. It looks
like our July 17 date on the Kenia River is just about right for the second run of Kings and just right for a run of Reds
which are probable the best tasting! These Alaskians just live for the summer time, boy do they burn the candle at both
ends staying up half most of the night. The thing we noticed in Canada and notice here is things start up pretty
slow in the morning!
Having a blast! Boy we are seeing it all!!!
Ed and Edith
[MID: 1051_W0SD Sent Via: KA6IQA Date: 2001/07/04 18:56:29]