Sunday, July 21, 2019

Time and Tide Adventures on Alaska’s Copper River Delta is a story about a duck cabin on Alaska’s Copper River Delta?and much more! In 1959 the Shellhorns built their place on Pete Dahl Slough, one of many intertidal waterways that braid the 50 mile marshland formed by the Copper. This wetland is a natural breeding habitat for waterfowl, and also a stopping place for migratory birds.

While early explorers and prospectors traversed the region, it was salmon that first drew pioneers to the outer edges of the Delta, where fishermen built camps to operate set net sites. Soon the famous Copper River and Northwestern Railroad would follow. Here is a chronicle of the early days of the Delta, beginning with Lt. Henry Allen’s amazing expedition up the Copper in 1885, as well as a history of fisheries, war, roads, fires, storms, earthquakes, floods, and duck hunting. Plus change of habitat, with moose, bear, and other predators moving out on the Delta as brush and trees exploded following land uplift, and the sloughs gradually silted in. Meet characters such as Long Shorty, Curly Hoover, Kernel Korn, Eyeball Leer, and the Mayor of Pete Dahl, Don Shellhorn. Learn about duck shacks such as the Pair-A-Dice Inn, Boxcar, and Korn Hole, and the rich history hidden in their walls. Delight in the foibles of boating and hunting in the wild weather and water of the Flats. Revel in the Ode to Family and small town Alaska found in countless quotes from the Shellhorn Duck Cabin Logs, 54 years of unique recorded history, written by 458 different visitors. Full of laughter, joy, and tragedy; replete with lessons and truths; ribald and poignant; Time and Tide is the story of an Era of Adventure on the Copper River Delta.

Look Inside/Buy E-book

Balls and Stripes is a collection of stories about Alaska's most popular sport, basketball — and more. The title comes from my many experiences playing, coaching, and broadcasting Naismith's game; as well as refereeing the sport and also wearing the stripes of a sergeant in the U.S. Army. Basketball has taken me all over Alaska, with radio gear or whistle in hand. 

From Barrow to Petersburg, from Dutch Harbor to Tok, it has been a marvelous journey, with countless amusing experiences as well as dramatic moments. Much of the action occurs in my hometown, Cordova. A small fishing town of 2500 located on Prince William Sound, its denizens are passionate about their hoops, and also their rivalry with Valdez, located just 70 miles away. In many ways, sports transcend location. 

Small town basketball is the same anywhere; yet Alaska, with its vast spaces and dramatic climates, offers unique experiences. In northernmost Barrow, I watched Inupiat cooks shut down a high school cafeteria so they could glimpse the sun for the first time in 67 days; on the way to Dutch Harbor, I heard a pilot announce the reassuring words that he would land the small prop plane “whenever we can”, to load on fuel necessary to complete the flight; in Petersburg, I learned about “julebukking” and Men's Night Out. 

Refereeing, always a source of potential controversy, has provided its share of highlights. How many officials can claim fame for calling a technical foul on a curtain; or playing the first minutes of a championship game with the wrong size ball? 

Football and baseball are also included. Guess who brought Oregon State's mascot Benny the Beaver to Cordova's Iceworm Festival; and dodged barbed wire while tracking down a fly ball in Korea? And, like so many others, who can not recall in vivid detail a last second shot that didn't go in? People, places, moments. Sports - drama, tears, and cheers. It's all here.