It’s (almost) Spring! Each additional minute of daylight gained has lifted some miniscule ounce of weight off my shoulders and every day I can feel my eyes turning to the mountains, looking for that fresh pulse of green under the grey. It’s still too early, but with this weird weather we’ve been having (read crazy warm), I’m starting to expect that I’ll be able to start my picking season in March rather than April.
I’ve been listening to Hank Shaw’s new podcast, and while his episode about the Spring foraging that has already started in Northern California stirred the jealousy monster, it reminded me of the same feeling that Alaskans get at an increasing rate as soon as we make it over the winter solstice hump.
While I would love skiing season to surge again, I’ve decided that instead of mourning the loss of snow, I’m going to count my lucky stars that the spring hooter season will probably come early, the weather will be warmer for seaweed picking sessions, and hopefully our devil’s club will start popping pronto.
I’ve got a lot on my plate this spring (I’m getting married in May and I’m the board president for the Alaska Folk Festival which is in early April), but I’m feeling excited. Excited to fish more, hunt more, and pick more.
I’ve also made a couple of new outdoorsy friends, and I’m pretty pumped to have folks who can help push me into a outdoorsy-active feedback cycle.
My 2016 hunting/fishing/picking season goals:
- Shoot my first hooter (Sooty Grouse – Dendragapus fuliginosus)
- Learn about and pick at least 3 different kinds of seaweed
- Make sea-salt and experiment with flavored salts
- Catch two new kinds of fish on a fly rod (So far I’ve caught Coho, Pinks, and Dolly Varden)
- Learn about traditional Tlingit foods
- Learn to identify 10 new kinds of mushroom, both edible and non that span spring/summer/fall
- Explore three new trails
- Catch a pile of silver salmon
- Go on at least three deer day-hunts or one multi-day hunt
- Pick and make A LOT of my favorite shelf-stable things (Pickled Beach Asparagus, Spruce Tip Marmalade, High Bush Cranberry Ketchup)
I’m super curious about what goals other people have, and if anyone out there is reading this and has any ideas for awesome things that I haven’t touched on, give me a shout!