Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Lighting out for the territory.

I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.
--Huck Finn
Borrowed Suits will be observing at least 10 days of radio silence as your corresp. heads out to the great northwest. I will be leaving from Boston's Logan airport tomorrow morning early headed for Ruby, Alaska. The flight will go from Beantown to Coffee Town (Seattle), to Fairbanks. I'll layover one night in Fairbanks then hop a bush plane to Ruby. From ruby it's about 5 miles downstream on the Yukon River to the home of the future Yukon River Lodge. Hopefully I won't have to swim.

The YRL is a project started about 2 years ago by Sam and Tamara Clark, seeking their own version of Dick Proenneke's "Back and Beyond."

Sam and Tamara haven't gone that extreme. They're building a lodge on the river to cater to sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts looking for a spot tight against the Nowitna National Wildlife Refuge. The Yukon enjoys good salmon fishing, among other things.

Even though they're relatively close to Ruby, there are no roads to their place but the river. During early freeze-up and before ice-out, this means the place is as isolated as can be. In the winter they get to town by dogsled and snow machine; in the summer they rely on boats.

I don't expect to be doing too much sightseeing -- though the place itself is beautiful. The time will largely be devoted to building.
Food cache, YRL
I met Sam's parents through my work. Once they discovered that I used to be a nail-banger, they asked if I ever wanted to go to Alaska.

Well, yeah. But I could never afford the ticket.

"Not to worry," they said, "we have plenty of air miles built up. Why don't you come up this summer and help us build?"

I doubt I'd ever get a better offer, so I'm taking it. Expect a full report upon my return. In the meantime, you can check out this quicktime photoessay they've put together and nose around their site for pictures and descriptions.

See you soon.


Anonymous said...

Have a safe trip, Jim.


Petrie & Trixie said...

Good Luck Jim! Have a great time, Well have a cold when wating for you when you return.

Jim said...

I'll look forward to it, Petrie. Good times to you at camp this week.

Jim said...

And thanks, Joe.

Adam said...

That sounds like a great trip. I've never been to Alaska but have wanted to go.

Have fun doing hard work.

Ian said...

Something tells me this is the first of many trips.

Yukon River Lodge said...

Hey Jim - We didn't know you were a blogger! When are you coming back?

The roof is finally on the back section of the lodge as of today (sans steel but it's covered in poly until the steel arrives by barge). It is amazing to look at and very motivating (thank goodness).

Thank you so much for all of your hard work...We think you're great!

Tamara & Sam