Monday, April 27, 2009

Welcome to Naknek

This past weekend Dickie and I traveled to Naknek, in the Bristol Bay region to visit the branch there and visit the members, speak in church, and participate in the Relief Society Birthday celebration. More on that later. Naknek is an hour and 15 mins from Anchorage by air and is not accessible by road, like most of Alaska. It is "The Bush". Unfortunately, it was very overcast and windy so the pictures aren't so great, but here are some photo's of the town. After flying Pen-air into town, where they don't check any of your bags or ask you any questions, we landed at the airport in King Salmon and were picked up by the branch president and his wife and we began the scheduled visits to the various members who needed to be visited. Many of them work on Sundays or are elderly or sick and have a challenging time getting to church. We visited with two wonderful ladies at the airport gift shop, one a member and one not and had a nice time with them. Below is "The Mall" which is basically just the bank and one other office. Here we have a hotel. We didn't stay at any of the hotels, because it was more convient for our hosts, and cheaper for the church, for us to just stay at the church and sleep on an air mattress in one of the classrooms. The full time senior missionary couple lived there for months. So we could do it for one night. It was fine, but the shower had some issues over the winter that aren't quite resolved yet.
The airport in King Salmon, 12 miles from Naknek. Another hotel which also houses the best restaurant in town. We ate dinner here and had some of the best pizza ever to enter our mouths. The other restaurant is more of a bar, of which there are several of those. Plus several churches.

And of course, the library. We didn't have time to go in and look around. The rest of it is all behind those two little trees.

The church. They are prefab buildings that come in a container and are barged up in good weather. Many of the rivers freeze so anything that is coming for the year has to come before freezing. That would be Dickie in the doorway. The wind was blowing about a hundred miles an hour.

Downtown. Somewhere in there is the one school, the indoor pool, where everyone hangs out, the borough building, the post office, the nursing home, some bars, one grocery store, and some residences. It sits on the river. I understand and that some time ago there was a settlement across the river in South Naknek that was a thriving place, but you could only get there by driving across the frozen river. When the military built the base, etc, most of the people moved away. There are about 20 people that live over there now and I am told there is a lot of native history that took place over there.

The grocery store. Didn't go in but the branch needed paper products so a container of Tang, two packs of paper plates and some paper cups ran $30. Milk is $11 a gallon, gas is almost $6 a gallon, and everything else is relative to that pricing scale. The branch president and his wife order organic vegetables from a co-op in Washington state and they are flown in for $45 a week. They said it was about the same as buying local and they taste much better.

An ariel view of the river.

I must say that everyone we met was extremely friendly and happy to stop and chat. They love the area. It's close to the Katmai National Forest where everyone goes to visit the bears, so bears are very plentiful in this area as well. There are a lot of fishing and hunting lodges in the area that line the river that are very nice and in the summer it's pretty busy with the fishing business, commerical as well as just sport.


deerhollow said...

Peopel must have been so happy to see you two! What a cool experience. So desolate. I just can't wrap my brain around the reality of really living and existing there.

coolmom said...

There are no words!

Spitfire said...

Mom, that is so cool that you guys get to travel around and see the places nobody else ever gets to see-- besides the Grizzly Man, who ended up seeing too much.