So it begins…

Well, at long last, here I am finally getting around to starting this blog I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I’ve always been a fan of more long-form writing when it comes to describing my adventures, so the blog format suits me better in this regard than the Facebook format does.

I suppose I should describe what this blog is all about and why I am doing this now in my life. I love getting into adventure and telling tales about said adventures. I love the art of storytelling and painting pictures in people’s minds with words. It is a craft, and also something I feel that atrophies over time if not used frequently.

This being the case, I started this thing to encourage me to write about my experiences and to ‘keep my claws sharp’ so to speak. It is also a time that I am poised at the edge of great adventures that will make for great blogging material.

In about a week I am setting off for gold country, Calaveras County to be exact. I want to practice my fly-fishing and gold-panning skills because in about 3 weeks I am off to Alaska where I can put them to use!

Before all of this coronavirus madness  began, I applied to a bunch of fishing lodges looking for summer work. They do their hiring months in advance so you’ve got to get in early. After emailing a few lodges one finally got back to me. Yes Bay Lodge liked my resume, and after a phone interview I was hired for the summer season doing dockhand work.

Yes Bay is 40 miles to the north of Ketchikan, Alaska. The only way to get there is by boat or floatplane. It is remote, insanely beautiful country, and I for one am looking forward to being up there in it.

One unique thing about Yes Bay Lodge is that they offer both salt and freshwater fishing there. You can go out into the bay for various species of salmon or monster halibut, or go up a nearby stream for world-class steelhead and trout fishing.

Now, those of you who know me know that fishing is my religion. I have fished in the Louisiana bayous, the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and the Amazon River. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t fishing actually! This being said, one skill I never got around to learning was fly-fishing. I really don’t know why, I guess I was content using normal conventional or spinning rods. Also, I never lived in places where fly-fishing was the natural option that was commonly used by the local anglers.

Since I am destined to be doing a lot of fly-fishing this summer I figured I’d start learning the basics before I get up there. I’ve spent countless hours during the quarantine researching the subject, now I just need to get out in the field and practice. I’m waiting for my new fly-rod and flies to arrive in the mail as I type this post.

As I also mentioned, I’m also going to be learning how to go about gold prospecting. I’ve wanted to do this for a long while also. A few weeks back I went down to San Benito county to dig for benitoite (the California state gem which is priced comparably to diamond) and actually found a decent little specimen. It’s actually a rock with a few tiny gems embedded in it. One sticks out a little bit and the deep blue color is gorgeous. When they are cut, they look like blue diamonds. The mine where I dug for the benitoite had very nice gems for sale, they get in the thousands. I think they are more beautiful and have more luster than diamonds actually.

One of the rarest gems in the world, benitoite.

Finding this rock really got me worked up to do some more rockhounding and some prospecting. I figured that sooner or later I’d get around to gold panning up in Alaska so I may as well start learning how to do that as well. I’ve always loved visiting gold country and learning about the 49’ers, and yes, I love gold! Even if I just get a flake or two it’ll be awesome. I could find a nugget, who knows?

The plan is to just get in some downtime after a grueling winter. It was rough even before the coronavirus hit for me. I was and still am living out of my uninsulated, drafty, damp, cold camper-shell. It wouldn’t have been bad in the summertime, but in winter at the top of the Santa Cruz mountains, it was pretty miserable.

Fortunately, living out of my truck allowed me to save quite a bit of money which I funneled into my camping rig, much-needed truck repairs, and Alaska gear. I was very fortunate to be able to keep working during the pandemic and now am in good financial health to be heading up north.

One thing I had not anticipated is the initial cost of gear just to go work in Alaska. With gear and flights, I’m in the hole around 1000 bucks! You got to spend money to make money, I guess. I will make decent money the time I’m up there, but it’s more about getting experience and the adventure of the thing for me. I’ve wanted to go and see Alaska ever since I read Jack London as a child. Probably for the last decade or so I really wanted to go up there and be a part of the fishing industry in some way.

Now it’s happening! I’m ready to start a new chapter in my life. Before I head to Ketchikan I’m going to spend a few days in Anchorage to visit a dear old friend of mine and she’s going to show me around that area.  When my season is up we’ve talked about me coming back and us doing some more exploration in the region. I really want to see the Kenai Peninsula and Denali, and I hear the Valdez area is pretty cool…so the next few months I’m gonna be seeing a whole lot of Alaska!

Well, that about brings me up to date with things. Now it’s just work as much as I can in the upcoming few days and hopefully I’ll be sitting up in the Mother Lode this time next week.

Stay tuned for further Dogfishery! This was fun, I’m looking forward to doing this blogging thing!