Today's post will be number 300. Who knew that I could be so long winded? Well, maybe everyone but myself. It's why I accomplish so little in the course of a day. I should be a DJ or something so I could at least be paid for being a windbag. In any event, I suppose I should celebrate somehow- maybe bake a cake and stick on three hundred candles. I could probably shut off the heat for awhile. More likely I'd set the house on fire, so I guess I won't attempt the cake.
I went out yesterday to document something that I never thought I would see- utility poles stretching out beyond the town. I couldn't believe my eyes when I first saw the crews from Chatham Electric erecting them. I knew that Shorty Tonsgard had started a subdivision out past the runway, but the power lines go well beyond that, all the way out to the O3 road where our water supply for the city is. I asked a former city administrator about it, and she said we were going to tap into Garteeni Creek and start getting hydro power. I kind of like that idea. The cost of diesel is through the roof here, and since the generators that supply the power are diesel, our electrical costs are high as well- something like 61 cents a kilowatt hour. Compare that to Juneau which pays somewhere between 5 and 8 cents I believe. Unfortunately, because of the cost of the project, we won't see any savings on our electric bill in my lifetime I don't believe, but hopefully future generations will see some degree of savings.
Jan and I have lived in the area for over thirty eight years. A lot of things change in thirty eight years. Of course there's the obvious, thirty eight... or more pounds added, grey hair, wrinkles, aches and pains- those can all be expected, but who would have thought when we came here back in 76 that there would be such profound changes to Hoonah. When we drove off the ferry that late June day, cars were an anomaly. Pavement was non existent. The woods surrounding Port Frederick were mostly virgin forest. There were three stores, two restaurants and one hotel or motel or lodge or whatever it is. It runs in my mind that about once or twice a year, usually in the winter, a house would catch fire, either because of a chimney fire or a faulty oil stove. Since then whole area has seen large scale logging, the cannery has ceased to exist as a fishing facility and has been turned into a tourist destination, we have paved roads, and on those roads we have cars. Lots and lots of cars. I have to wait at the intersection now for a chance to dash out into traffic and hope I don't get broadsided. We have a new ferry terminal, new fuel tanks, a longer runway, sidewalks, a harbor that many boats from out of town utilize, a travel lift for hauling out boats, a new power plant, and we're in the process of getting a new clinic. We have three restaurants, not including the ones at the cannery during the tourist season, two or three coffee shops and a handful of bed and breakfasts, as well as the lodge. The last house fire that I know of was about three years ago, possibly because so many people have turned to using Toyostoves for their primary heat. When I walk around town now I'm shocked at how many people I don't know. At one time I knew almost everyone in town- at least the adults. Now I don't know if the folks I see are transients,cannery workers, fishermen or if they own a home in town. I'm afraid it's only going to get worse. The Discovery Channel is filming up the bay for some phony Alaskan show about a family supposedly toughing it out in the wilderness. I think its called Alaskan Bush People or some such thing. There's a pretty mixed reaction to having them here. We've already experienced a bunch of white people trying to make it on the land in Alaska- it was called Mt. Bether at Game Creek- the farm. I lived there for ten years. We didn't get outside help to protect us from the bears or erect the cabins or provide the game to survive on, and we certainly didn't have camera crews filming our every move. I'm afraid what is going to happen is those who watch the show will become enamored with the lifestyle and the area and there will be a mass influx of unprepared city dwellers who want to "get back to nature" and "live off the land" and I'll have to tolerate a bunch of bearded buffoons who want to kayak up and down the bay, live in tents, crap in the woods and leave a trail of toilet paper in all my favorite hunting areas. Sometimes change is hard to take.