This ‘n That…………………Alaska #3 – Kodiak

Kodiak Island

Kodiak Island, some 250 or so miles south and west of Anchorage has a reputation for fishing and bears…  like this one:




But we’ll come back to him later.





Mission Lake 3


Kodiak is also important because of Mission Lake. That was my destination in Kodiak and where I would spend the next several days helping The Burches, Barb and Al,  celebrate their 50th Wedding anniversary. For those who haven’t met them, Barb is Florence’s baby sister. We’ll meet them and the other siblings later.

First, let’s take a short senic tour overlooking a tiny part of Kodiak, mostly from the top of20090810173935(1) Mt. Pillar. Since I was last on Kodiak some new additions have been added to the top of Pillar.

     Three of these wind machines poke into the sky. Seen from a distance, they are less than impressive. Standing near the base and hearing the blades go whoosh, whoosh, is all together different. They are HUGE!!! I’ve since learned that the box behind the propellor blades is the size of a small house.

Here’s a set of the views from the top of Pillar:




























This last picture is the Russian Orthodox Church (the two blue onion caps). This particular building probably doesn’t date back to 1794 when the first ROC mission was opened.

Let’s go back to Mission Lake — that’s where all the fun was happening:

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That is the view from Barb and Al’s back yard, looking across the lake. The lake is pretty


convenient for parking the Super Cub float plane that Al shares with son Keith. Floatplanes may not be as common as Chevies in Alaska, but you can certainly see a lot more of them.

Different from my part of the world, the Mojave Desert, Alaska is wet. Maybe it doesn’t drip water but it certainly grows stuff. Let’s tour Barb’s gardening work.

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The Burches also share the property with critters. Some are theirs, some are the neighbors, and some are transient guests that migrate through the area. Here are pictures of a small part of their “extended” family:



















The real reason I was here wasn’t to enjoy the view, although I truly did, but to celebrate…..




Barb and Al are firmly entrenched in Alaska. They were in Seward (practically as newlyweds) when the earthquake devestated Alaska in 1964 and all but wiped out the Burch Brothers fishing business.

     Ordinary people would have given up, but these folks are anything but ordinary. Not only did they go on fishing, but Al is now on a couple presidential commissions representing the United States fishing industry at conferences all over the world.

     Barb is an excellent artist. After sketching a scene, she transfers the image over to  the flat surface of a tree fungus (polypourus genus) then fixes the image with a needle sharp wood-burning tool.

       What follows are snap shots of the Burches anniversary bash:














The day after the party was when I had my encounter with the grizzly. Al, Barb, Charlotte, and I went out touring around the island. Al had it in mind to catch up with Bill who was out in the woods somewhere along the north side of the island. We spotted his Jeep in a pullout. Al’s mobility kept him to the car with Charlotte. Barb and I walked in a ways before she returned to the car. I pressed on ahead to find Bill and that’s where I encountered the Grizzly.




In the process of shooting it, it did manage to bite me about the third shot. The wound wasn’t all that serious so I shot it three more times. I took this picture almost a week later.


Now, I should be truthful here. Perhaps some of you have even caught on. But, in case you haven’t, let me add to the puzzle. The Grizzly was not harmed — even though I did shoot it six times all I did was dirty it up a bit.

Here is a photo of the Grizzly, .45 caliber, Winchester Magnum that I shot:grizzly_mk1-1

I never said I shot a bear……..

Al did.

S3010052S3010054S3010058So that’s my story, and I’m sticking with it.

Maybe next time, I’ll go fishing…..