In winter of 2004
1 In winter of Alaska
In February of 2004 , I and my daughter , Aiko , went to see Gary who is my friend and lives in Kenai because I wanted to see the Alaskan in winter . He is a manager of the Kenai Peninsula College , and I've been associating with him since last summer . He buit a new house close by the Kenai River , so I intended to see it .
We transferred to the Era Aviation at the Anchorage International Airport , and got on the twenty passenger plane . We arrived at Kenai Airport which runway was frozend and covered with much snow . Aiko was first time to visit Alaska , but never said cold and looked delightful .
2 Shoes first
The first action we did was to go to the outdoor shop in Soldotna . Kenai is not so cold influenced by Alaska Gulf Tide , but sometimes the temperature is going down to minus 80 or much more degrees Fahrenheit . We needed to buy two pairs of new snow shoes at first . I paid total 156 dollars , but if I had bought them in Japan , I would have paid about 270 dollars . They had thick soles and double felts inside .
3 Meeting Gary again
Gary and his wife , Marlene , picked up us at 6 pm at the hotel . I saw him after 7 months , and he looked very fine . The Soldotna Chamber's Banquet would be held at the Soldotna Sports Hall tonight , and we were invited as guests . At the middle of the banquet , I and Aiko were introduced all round . I was a little embarrassed then .
4 Sled Dog
Gary drove us to the Pole's house . Pole is a famous musher and has won the victories several times in Alaska . Gary asked him to show us his dogs last night . 40 dogs were waiting for us at the house .
It is not so easy to give sufficient exercise to 40 dogs everyday . It takes 4 hours if gives one hour exercise to ten dogs each time . The prise money may not be enough to feed them , so Pole has to do his regular business harder . He said he was fishing salmon for dogs in summer , and hunting for dogs in winter . He showed us a big freezer that was filled up with countless salmons .
Through the courtesy of him , Aiko could get on the sled . The dogs might be delighted to do sled dog , so they began to shout all together . The 14 dogs flew out pulling behind Aiko . They came back one hour later . I guessed Aiko felt so cold after running in the snow field , but she was fine and said she got very excited to see a lot of wild animals very closely .
On February 8 , today is a long -awaited ice-fishing day ! It's sunny , and temperature is lovely minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit . I and Gary bought sandwiches for lunch . We met Dave and Valerie at the car buffer stop . They unloaded snowmobiles from their pickup trucks on the snow ground . It would take 30 minutes to go to the lake by snowmobile . We rode separately on the mobiles and went for ice-fishing at the Spirit Lake .
Dave made a couple of holes by the drill with a motor . We threw a baited hook and a line into the hole and wated for the bite . The baits were fresh shrimps and artificial small worms . The bite has come ! I reeled up quickly . It was a ten inches kokanee . Kokanee is sockeye salmon's childhood name , but some anglers say kokanee is just kokanee , and there is no landlocked sockeye . A landlocked kokanee is still kokanee .
While we were eating cookies and smoked salmons that Valerie and Dave gave us , Wartinbee grilled kokanees wrapped by foils on the bonfire on the ice . Although fish was slow , it was not so cold and windy that we could enjoy ice-fishing happily .
Kenai River behind the hotel we are staying at is frozen and covered with thick snow now .
6 Oysters in Seattle
We visited Seattle next day . I intended to buy a new fishing rod in Seattle , because Japanese yen was stronger than American dollar then . I went to a couple of anglers shops , but they didn't carry Sage #10 XP . I only bought some flies for salmon .
I and Aiko had oysters dinner at the Shuckers that is the oldest oyster bar in Seattle . These six species of oysters were gathered near Seattle . We ate one and half dozens each raw and baked as talking about happy days in Kenai . 61 dollars check was very reasonable .
7 Aiko visited again
My daughter , Aiko , visited Kenai again in summer . She stayed at the Valerie's house in Kenai for two weeks . Though she couldn't speak English so well , Valerie and her family gave Aiko a warm welcome . Bill , Valerie's husband , took her Harley-Davidson driving . Jake , their son , gave his room to her . Nikki , their lovely dog , played with her very much . Fortunately , Valerie treated her like her daughter , so she could enjoy real Alaskan life .
Gary and Marlene invited Aiko and Valerie to the dinner . He also treated her like his daughter . I really appreciate their kindness very much .