Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Home State

We finally made it back home to Alaska after almost three weeks of visiting family and friends. Dorothy had it right when she said, "There's no place like home."
Even so, we still had a good time. I had the chance to visit some of the places I hadn't seen for over thirty years and it was comforting to know that some things don't change. A case in point is the Mohican State Forest in eastern Ohio. It's a land of rolling hills and clean water and the trees were in all of their Autumn glory. I took my wife and mom with me and even bought a three day out of state license to try a little fishing in the Mohican River- or maybe it's the Clear Fork- I'm not sure. In any event it's clean and supports a population of trout and smallmouth bass as well as rock bass. There may be other fish there as well, I can't remember. On this particular October day the weather was uncommonly cold and it almost felt like it could snow. We had brought along some food for a picnic and I was hoping that down in the valley by the river it might be a few degrees warmer. No such luck. My mom was bundled in her winter coat with her collar pulled up against the chill wind and Jan and her were bustling around laying out the checkered table cloth and setting out the sandwiches while I made a few casts in the river. The picnic, which we ended up labling a quicknic, lasted all of five minutes. Even for long time Alaska residents, it was COLD.
On our way over to the park we passed by some beautiful foliage and some of the farms had hundreds of pumpkins littering the fields. I had never realized that Ohio grew so many pumpkins. It's amazing what you miss when you are a kid. One of the things that struck me as I drove was all of the dead racoons along side the road. I can't remember ever seeing so many before. There were a few opposums and maybe a squirrel or two, but the racoons really stood out. I could have made coonskin hats for half the town of Hoonah if I were of the mind to do it- and I could find anyone who wanted one. Fortunately in God's economy nothing goes to waste, and where the road kill was, the buzzards weren't far behind. I had forgotten about them.
As you can see, my mind has taken a turn for the worse. Back to the forest. When we got into the park we had to take a winding road down, down, down to the river. There was a beautiful covered bridge that you have to cross to get to the picnic area. When I was a kid my family used to come over here at least once a year. All I ever wanted to do was fish- usually with little or no luck. I didn't know about hellgramites back then. They are the larva of the Dobson fly that cling to the under side of flat rocks in the river and the fish love them. It wasn't until I was old enough to drive and had my own car that I found out about them.
My dad used to like to come here with us. Once we went horseback riding and another time we rented canoes in Loudenville and paddled quite aways to the haulout place. If we came in the fall we would have to search for the little stand that sold apples and cider and honey. We almost always got lost and ended up driving around trying to find the covered bridge or the apple stand or the canoe livery. I must have inherited that gene because Jan and Mom and I took off down the wrong road as soon as we entered the woods. Ah well, it was all good- except for the fact that I had to pee like a Russian race horse and they don't have rest stops located where they need to be. That's one great thing about here. A few minutes after I leave town, whether by boat or car, I can let fly without fear of being arrested. Just another added benefit of living in the wilderness. One that shouldn't be taken too lightly.

I'll probably be blogging some more about my time in Ohio. I have a few more pictures I would like to share. It was a pleasant time for me. I never thought I would have enjoyed it so much, but I did and I'm glad.


  1. Some wonderful pics of Marion, Tom! I'm so glad you had a good time with your mom!

  2. Dad..I enjoyed reading through the entire blog from start to finish...actually, I kind of went in reverse, but it was really neat to see a side of you I've never really gotten to see. I loved the book and I tell people about it at every given opportunity...but your blog is completely different...you have a very smooth, laid back way of expressing yourself and at the same time, you put your readers right there with you...I'm looking forward to more posts...the pictures bring me back home and remind me of how simple life was back then...love you guys...give mom a hug for me...AJ