One of the highlights of the year in 2019 was a quick trip to Juneau AK to run (of course) and enjoy a few land based days v. the typical few hours on a cruise ship. The salmon were running and this is truly one of nature’s greatest spectacles.
Here is a thumbnail of what I learned in Juneau. (A detailed link is below.) The forest is rich and the ecosystem depends on the nutrients from the salmon cycle. The species were down due to the 97% mortality rate of the eggs in the wild. A school teacher had an idea to raise fertilized eggs in home depot buckets in his backyard and release the fry into the water when they were big enough to survive. The idea worked, a big hatchery was created and the species (Pink, King, Chum, Coho, Sockeye), are thriving. Temperatures in the tank are manipulated to create a unique ear bone marking that identifies which hatchery the fish is from for sport fishing and the revenue from the license goes back to that hatchery.
Here is what happens at the hatchery. Tens of thousands of spawning salmon return to the hatchery hell bent on swimming up the ladders. Eggs are harvested, fertilized and the meat is taken off to be processed. Quickly the hatched egg fry move up in size in tanks and eventually to pens outside. After almost a year they are released. 97% will return after a few years out at sea. the odds on the survival have completely been flipped. The final two pictures are a stream bed with red spawning salmon at the Mendenhall Glacier where a bear family had just finished dinner. I missed the bears by 30 seconds. Readers I failed you on the photo op but will keep living large and travelling the world to provide you with pics adventures. Another reason to return to Alaska !!
The lady beneath the hatchery sign is Linda Macaulay the wife of the teacher who had the idea !! I was so thrilled to meet the local royalty/founder of the process courtesy of Steve and Paula the 50 State Marathon gurus.
What is not coming across here is the spectacle of tens of thousands of fish frantically trying to navigate to their source to spawn. The water was frothing with fish all headed to the same place. It was spectacular.
The focused drive and intent of a fish with a not very big brain to have navigated thousands of miles to an exact location. I vowed to show a bit more persistence in my endeavors to succeed in this life.
Here is everything to know about the salmon run.
Alaska is beyond words, pictures, description. Do it while you can still move around and explore. I thank the universe for nudging me to a second round of 50 states. Our country is so magnificent.
IT IS NOT DEATH THAT A MAN SHOULD FEAR,
BUT HE SHOULD FEAR NEVER BEGINNING TO LIVE. -marcus aurelius
Love to all,