I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

 I couldn’t take many pictures, as two days of heavy  rain fogged up my lens, but I did get a few during breaks in the weather. It was even raining in the tent. It’s not that it leaked, it was actually very dry and warm with Chip’s little steel stove (he kept saying “isn’t this great?”). But what happened is that once the fire went out and we fell asleep, the condensation built up on the inside, and the rain beat down so hard on the outside that it knocked the tent walls making big drips every now and a continuous fine mist. It must be good for my skin, right? All I could think of were the Klondike stampeders who lived for months like this in the mud and cold and rain with tinned and dried food and not nearly as good gear. They were so much tougher than I am. I’m reading a novel, The Death Instinct, which takes place during and after WW I– and it’s the same thing– the cold, the mud, and always the hunger– in cities and villages across war torn Europe. Plus they were getting shelled. We were just moose hunting. And it was fun, once you got past the rain. When the forecast says “heavy at times” think rain drops as big as marbles sheeting straight down. The noise is still thrumming in my ears. But we were dry, mostly–  thanks to Helly Hansen rain gear, wool, poly-pro, and hip boots. The stove helped dry things and we erected a big tarp over the camp that was a lifesaver. If you want to re-create Thursday and Friday in the tree stand, put your rain gear on, sit on a small rickety chair in the shower and turn the cold water on full. Then try to look through binoculars. The good news is you will see as many moose as we did on the rainiest of days.  The best thing about moose hunting is the first walk in the woods at dawn, when anything is possible, thrilling, and a little scary. I feel safer in the tree stand, but so much more alive when I’m walking quietly through woods that smell moose-y and look moose-y and sound moose-y. I like the high alert feeling, when every sound and motion could be a moose– and that’s what keeps me going back.

In the meantime, tonight there’s a special event at the Chilkat Center, a harvest of local arts, from 5-7. It’s sponsored by the Arts Confluence, a new-ish group dedicated to supporting the arts and culture here. There will be a silent auction of great stuff from art to local produce, live music, and a few readings from Debi Knight-Kennedy and me. It’s from 5-7  and features wine and cheese. The donation is 15 dollars. The state museum conference begins tomorrow too- and they still need volunteers, so call the Sheldon Museum if you can help for a few hours from registration to clean-up.