With the excitement of my first trip to Alaska still fresh and percolating in my mind, I can hardly keep from telling fishing friends and aquaintances of my ensuing trip.
As you would well expect, it draws different and varied responses from those that I tell.
Tom, a softball teammate and avid fisherman, and I were celebrating a post game loss (we celebrate win or lose!) at a local pizza parlor, when I mentioned to him that I was headed to Alaska.
Tom is a veteran of several fishing trips to Alaska, and I was anxious to hear some of his accounts of past trips to the" land of many fish".
"Where you headed to?" Tom asked politely.
"The upper Kenai." I replied.
"Oh. Yeah it's quite a zoo there." He said matter of factly.
Suddenly, I felt like I had just told him that I was going fishing in the sporting goods department at our local Wal-Mart store.
"Yeah, we are headed up to the Kisaralik for an eight day wilderness float. Fly in, get dropped off and won't see civalization for the next eight days." It seemed like he was boasting now.
It felt like I was back in junior high,and some kid was telling me that his dog was better than mine–or that I had just rode up on a brand new Huffy stingray bicycle only to see that my friend had a brand new Schwinn. O.K– so I guess I am ONLY going to the Kenai now.
A good starter river, I guess.
"Where's the Kisaralik?" I asked, trying not to sound to deflated.
"Up in the interior, tundra, big bears, big guns, some class IV rapids and were doing it ourselves,- no guide."
O.K., now he appeared to be questioning my manhood. What, is the Kenai like the Jungle cruise at Disneyland?Are King Salmon going to electronically rise out of the water, jaws agape? Will our guide fend off bears with his bare hands while we cower beneath some Douglas fir tree?
Is the Kenai a trout pond?
This Alaskan "one ups-manship" is something that is becoming quite common. Once upon a time, the Kenai was the benchmark river and destination of choice for most adventurers headed to Alaska. But now it appears that in this day of wild exotic fishing adventures, that the Kenai is looked upon like some "dude ranch"fishing experience, not worthy of the "Admiral Peary" like adventures that exist elsewhere in Alaska!!
Well, excuse me, Captain Cook–for not getting there earlier, but I still think my fish will barbeque up just as well as yours, and I won't have to contemplate eating my fishing partners if the trip takes a turn for the worse. So there,plehhhhh…
Anyway, his trip sounds fantastic, and if I have to settle for starting my Alaskan dreams on the lowly Kenai, while he catches some three hundred different species of fish…so be it.
I am still excited.
Besides, I already have my brochure for the next fishing trip to Alaska, where I take a dog sled team fifteen hundred miles north, then ride a Moose for two miles and sleep with Albino Grizzlies. All that, to get to the rare LOCH NESS SALMON– that only one human has ever even seen!!!
Top that Tom.
by A.J. Klott