My roommate has spoiled her friends with an annual tradition that we call “Fish Camp.” After the summer renters have all left the lodge on the Kenai River, she uses it to house a group who are itching for one last big fishing trip to close out the year. (She gets to use Broken Rod Lodge in return for care-taking it in the off season.)
Everyone makes their way to Soldotna Friday night, most arriving in time for snacks and cocktails catered by my roommate. Those who are fishing get up at what she calls “o-dark-thirty” on Saturday morning to drive to the boat launch to catch their guided fishing charter, while she stays behind to prepare for the evening feast and festivities when the fishing folks return.
One year she did a Cajun “dump” dinner, somehow convincing all of her gullible guests to put on disposable surgical hazmat overalls without revealing what was in store for them. Much giggling and outright guffaws ensued as we all sat around the table and watched each other in our ridiculous costumes eating from a steaming mess of delicious food dumped in the middle of the table! (Note: hazmat suits are NOT necessary to eat a dump dinner under normal circumstances!)
That one will be hard to top, but she made a noble effort this year with grilled fresh red salmon, grilled New York steaks, homemade rolls, baked beans, salad, roasted veggies and much more. It took two tables to hold all the food! Afterward, anyone still able to waddle outside gathers around the fire pit to drink and tell fish stories. We always intend to make s’mores but the size of the meal often discourages dessert longings!
Sadly, Fish Camp marks the beginning of the end of summer. This year we saw everyone off Sunday morning after a big breakfast of quiche and fruit. Three of us stayed behind to finish laundry and dishes, clean out the refrigerator and tidy up, before we too headed back to Anchorage.
Soon the lodge will be officially closed up: plumbing drained and disconnected; pump shut off; furnace shut off; remaining liquid items stashed in the bathtub in case of frozen explosions. Outside, the big travel trailer (that serves as a spare bedroom at the height of the season) is also winterized and then gets completely tarp-wrapped. The fishing platforms on the river bank even get hauled out to minimize damage due to ice during breakup. The lodge is completely inaccessible once the snow flies, so once it’s closed, we won’t see the inside of it again until May.
In addition, as part of the chores this trip, we drove Winnie out to her winter home in my parents’ backyard in Nikiski. We didn’t get to do much RV’ing this year…weather and schedules got in the way.
It was hard to leave the Peninsula to head back to Anchorage. The sun did its best to tempt us to stay, lighting the increasing fall colors along the road, but a stiff breeze warned of coming storms. I took a short walk with my camera, but couldn’t linger.
With such a busy weekend, these fall color pictures taken during my walk were all that I took, but in hindsight I really regret not getting a shot of that food laden table!