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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Final Penguk Pics

This is it - the last pictures I'll post from Penguk - I promise. Deer season starts tomorrow and the Community Archaeology dig starts on Monday, and so the continuing events of summer put the mosquitos of Penguk into the past. It already seems like it was all a really long time ago. But before we put it to rest I thought I'd post these last few photos of our life in camp.

The top photo is of Ryan wearing his grass skirt about to swim across the King Salmon River. Note the pepper spray on his hip if you dare look that close. While at Penguk we tried to escape camp a few times and go for hikes. These hikes became known as 'Escape from Penguk' and were numbered in order with roman numerals like bad horror movies serials. The third photo is a group shot escaping across the tundra from 'Escape from Penguk II'. By the time Ryan came to camp we had sort of given up on the hikes. With flat tundra all around there really was no place to go - no destinations. So we sent the raft home on the resupply plane that brought Ryan to camp. If there was no place to hike to, then we did not need the raft to cross the river.

But after we had backfilled the site and had a day in hand until the plane came to pick us up, Ryan and I decided to give a good hike one more try. Our goal was a low hill about three miles downriver that had another Norton Village on top. It is on the other side of the river. No problem, we thought, we will swim across! The river is actually pretty wide and we ended up crossing it in segments - swimming from island to island. The hike ended up as a slog with the wind at our back and a cloud of mosquitos in our faces. Stripping down to swim the river was painful because of the mosquitos. And the water was very cold. Our dry bag backpacks acted like life jackets and kept us afloat. Escape from 'Penguk IV' lived up to its billing.

About the best thing about our camp was our teepee cook tent with wood stove (see second photo). Nothing like a woodstove to keep up camp moral. In the evening we would all sit around it and heat up water on top and drink tea, talk and read. It was our communal experience.

We also had a banya for bathing (see fourth photo). My brother designed it and had it custom sewed up for him by sailmaker he knows. It ended up working extremely well, and we could get it almost as hot as the banya here at home. Getting good and clean every few days was also good for camp moral.

Finally, we did have good fishing at Penguk. There is a reason the river we stayed on is called the King Salmon. But I must admit I was amazed at the size of the king salmon we caught - they were tiny for kings. But just about the perfect size to feed a crew of six with one vegetarian. Patrick

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