2002 Deck Party

The Crow Village deck party was held over the summer of 2002. The main purpose of the deck party was to assemble the man power and skill sets required to construct a deck for the big house. Guests arrived from far and wide. Father JP Slowey arrived from Philips Wisconsin. Auntie Thea journeyed from Hudson, Wisconsin to lend her expertise. Friends Mark and Cody McKaig arrived from Bixby Oklahoma lured by the promise of wildlife sightings, plentiful salmon fishing and bounties of gold. Uncle Tom and cousin Amanda traveled from Anchorage, Alaska. At various times, others arrived from as close as Aniak and from as far away as New York. George and Lisa Siavelis from Aniak brought Lisa's sister Lita and her husband Darren from California to take in a drift and some spirits. George proved to be especially skilled in the maneuvering of the "crow" and provided some insightful advise for reeling in the big ones.

Fishing restrictions on the Kuskokwim were lifted just prior to most guests arriving which greatly increased the opportunity to go after chums, reds, and kings. First order of business was to catch enough fish to feed the guests expected to celebrate Dakota's first communion. Several chums, a red, and a few choice kings were hauled in. Cody particularly enjoyed subduing the more lively fish with the high tech Crow Village fish demobilizer, and improved his efficiency at the task as the catch progressed. Storm provided indications of a possible future career choice in ophthalmology with a methodical investigation of the aquatic optical organs. All in all, a pretty successful outing for the first drift.

On Sunday, the scene was set for Dakota's first communion at St Teresa's in Aniak. Father's Maichi and Slowey presided over the ceremony. Afterwards many of the folks headed to Crow Village for the celebration. ZB and Mike provided some insightful anecdotes while young Albert entertained others. The smaller king and red caught the day before were cooked over the open fire for consumption. The resulting meal was incredible and re-confirmed for those present the overwhelming superior taste of fresh wild Alaska salmon over the frozen pale-fleshed farmed Atlantic salmon often described as cuisine on the outside, but that's just my opinion.

Next up was a trip upriver to Hook-M-Up for an overnighter. On the way, we stopped at Omar's log home to check the status of the duck population. The dash from the river to Omar's log house couldn't be completed quick enough to totally avoid the effects of his bumper mosquito crop. Some talk about ruddy ducks ensued, which this humble editor believes is code for something completely different. As Omar started to press for details of the gold panning plans, it was decided to move on rather then risk exposing too much information. Arrival at Hook-M-Up was a couple hours later. The quality of mosquitoes in camp actually exceeded the pre-trip billing. Lighting a few piques and repair of some windows mitigated that nuisance quickly however, and a few of the crew proceeded to the Holukuk confluence to try their luck at fishing and gold panning. There was not much action on the fishing front, however the search for gold proved to be another matter. Obviously we can't delve much into the classified details here, but suffice it to day that Storm found enough to amount to a bounty never heard before in these parts. Lisa cooked up some excellent tundra beef the next morning after which the troops headed back to Crow.

Once, back in Crow Village the deck construction began and some more fish were harvested. George, Lisa, Lita, Darren, and the little one who's name escapes me came by for some conversation. Some went for a drift while others stayed back to guard the liquid refreshments. Quite a few chum were netted, and a few reds, and kings as well. One rather large cutting operation was started to make room in the salmon holding cell which was now bulging. Some interesting questions about fish anatomy from the young children were entertained. Thirsty pallets were provided relief, some more then others. Mark in particular appeared to be quite thirsty, and later tested the limits of his acrobatic capabilities by executing a dismount from the deck. Still later he would demonstrate his skills at water ballet which really caused quite a splash! The day ended with a steam which spectacularly raised the level of personal hygiene as that was sorely needed. Thea did up Raven and Amanda's hair in her Crow Village Beauty Shop.

It was decided to head well up the Aniak river to give the fishing poles another try. After several hours and a couple stops, the ideal shoreline was spotted. Cody was the first to get a hit, and he reeled in a nice size chum. Lisa was next with another chum. Thea reported getting the biggest hit which somehow escaped before getting reeled all the way in, but her story was not substantiated by anyone, so you can decide for yourself how much credibility to give to that claim. Soon a familiar hue of yellow was spotted on a boat coming around the bend. Yes, it was George, Lisa, Lita, Darren, and the little one. They stopped and chatted for a bit, and then headed way up river. Mark reeled in the finest fish of the day once he switched to hooking them in the mouth. He decided to bring it back with him for mounting since it was widely speculated that Teresa was saving a special spot on the wall for such a trophy. On the way back, we traded stories with Bob, and some Japanese tourists at the Aniak lodge while eating some of the world famous Aniak Lodge food.

The final full day was spent putting the finishing touches on the deck and some more drifting to fill up the coolers for the journeys back home. The deck turned out spectacular. Below find some pictures from the event. Look for more in the near future as they become available. Also look for details of the next exciting event at Crow Village a bit more down the road. If you have any more pictures you want posted, just send them along and The CVHI editorial staff will give them consideration. Copies of the video will be available soon.

Biffy and garden

Chums caught on Aniak

Raven, Storm, and Dakota

Smokin' fish

Day's work

36 lb king

Ready to build deck

Deck finished

Mark's catch

Cody's catch

Big and little house

Alaska range

See page 2 for some more pictures.