And a River Runs Through It
Musings of a man mesmerized by a river
the Wild and Scenic Alagnak River.
Wild landscapes that span tundra, forests, lakes and mountains. Home to the largest population of brown bears on the planet! Majestic beasts that are drawn to the abundant salmon of this mighty river. Flowing out of the Katmai National Park and into Bristol Bay, a Land of Volcanoes and home to the The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, an area of lava flows and ash formed by a massive volcanic eruption of over a century ago. And the river flows through it. Always moving, always giving you a different perspective on this savagely awe inspiring land!
There's just something about a river. Something that speaks to the heart and soul. It's constant flow, the sound of its waters rushing by, the promise of new adventure around each bend and the anticipation of what the next cast might bring.
I love to watch the river go by. It can become entrancing if you let it. My mind wanders as I stand in it's current. And I imagine the snow melting on the mountains of the Aleutian Range visible on the horizon. I follow it in my mind's eye as it gains speed and power and makes its way down streams and tributaries, flowing and filling the lakes upstream from us; then cascading through gorges and over boulders and gravel bars, carving out new channels and eroding away small islands that make up the landscape of the mighty Alagnak River. Eventually it branchs out and altering the many channels of this Wild and Scenic braided river that ATA Lodge calls home!
The water winds its way down, gradually widening out and seemingly slowing down, changing its character as it makes its way to the estuary; becoming brackish until it eventually empties into Bristol Bay. So much water. Host to so much life along its banks and even more life teaming just beneath the surface in its crystal clear waters.
Beside the Bear, Moose are also abundant along this river lined with Spruce and Willows. Together with Wolves, Caribou, Beaver, River Otter, Foxes, Wolverines, Mink and Lynx, this "terre" is a true menagerie of Mother Nature's fascinating array of northern denizens. Eagles soar above its waters and nest atop broken-off spruce trees along its banks and feast on the abundance of 5 different varieties of Pacific Salmon!
And oh, the Salmon! So many Salmon! Millions return to this river to spawn in an annual spectacle of nature including Sockeye, Silver, Pink, Chum and the mighty King of the River...the Chinook Salmon. All these salmon not only sustain the population of Bear that gorge on them for 3 months each year; almost doubling their body mass in preparation for the coming winter's hibernation; but these salmon's eggs and resulting fry and smolt feed a huge population of resident fish including the beautifully spotted Leopard Rainbow Trout, Arctic Char, Arctic Grayling, Lake Trout and even Northern Pike. The Alagnak is truly a diverse and prolific resource!
I never tire of the intoxicating marvel of nature that is the Alagnak River. I think that I might wake up one morning and look out over its waters to the mountains beyond, and it might somehow fail to impress or lose its grandeur; but it does not. It never gets old. And when I'm asleep, it flows through my dreams. I catch myself when I'm away from it, day dreaming of its mesmerizing beauty and imagining myself back there, standing in its current again, drinking in the serenity of the river as it courses by. Then all of a sudden, my quiet peaceful scene explodes, as I relive past moments emblazoned upon my memory of epic battles where rods bend to the point of breaking and reels scream and whine, as powerful, hard fighting fish leap and twist and turn in an attempt to throw my fly.
Yes, it is the land where my dreams are made reality! I can't wait for the new season to begin. It can't get here soon enough. I've had enough of city lights and noise and all the craziness that this modern world assaults my senses with. I want to go back. I need to get back there soon. The river calls out my name and I must return again, and again and again to partake of the water that feeds my spirit. It's where my deepest truth is found....and the River Runs Through It!
If you want to find me, you'll find me there....on the River!
If you'd like to join us on the Alagnak Wild River this season, take a look at our website to book at www.atalodge.com; or call us on +1 877 801 2289.