In the early 1960s, I traveled by skiff to hunt wild game in Russell Fjord, and had hoped to climb the mountain to shoot down at wild game to improve our chances of getting subsistence food. As we passed the then-active Hubbard Glacier (and now more active), my father said this glacier has always come down to tide water and receded.
It was a good time to be in the wilderness. A place where ancient ones fished, hunted (old seal camps), got sea gull eggs, picked wild berries, and sought solicitude. The elders recall their youth what bounties were available in and around Yakutat. Thanks to modern-day education and technology, the Situk River can be saved, and the vital subsistence fishery and commercial fisheries will continue.
In the distance, I hear ocean waves slam down on sandy beaches, sea gulls screaming as they circle above the green salt waters, arctic terns chattering away, seals bobbing up and then down in the Anklin River. And between Yakutat, there are two majestic mountains towering thousands of feet high, Mount Fairweather to the south, and Mount St. Elias to the north. Somewhere in that mass of ice and snow, the Hubbard Glacier moves onto the tidewaters.
I still recall that skiff ride into the Russell Fjord and witnessed, at a young age, the mighty power of mother nature in the still wildness of Southeast Alaska.
Oscar Frank Jr.
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