The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Tommy Wells
Seward Phoenix LOG 

My adventure only goes so far


December 8, 2016 | View PDF

As many of you may know, I’m a sucker for outrageous and adventurous things … especially if it helps someone. I have an incredibly offbeat sense of humor and robust sense of adventure. Literally, I’m game for almost anything if it sounds like fun or (in most cases) gets me something to eat.

For those of you who don’t know, it is true that I once dressed up like a drag queen to compete in a Miss Ugly Big Spring contest that raised funds for the veteran’s hospital. I probably don’t need to tell you I was so ugly that I was the second person eliminated (I outlasted the mayor cause he was really ugly!).

It probably wouldn’t come as a big surprise to anyone that I once entered into a sled dog race … and because of the fear of running into a polar bear or get¬ting lost, I ran alongside the dogs the entire race, sometimes even pulling them behind me so I could stay within seeing distance of the mushers in front of me (so if we got lost, it wasn’t his fault). And once I even jumped in 38-degree water to participate in the Polar Bear Plunge in the Bering Sea.

I even went to Russia and tried to drink them under the table with shots of vodka … wait, that’s another story. And, it doesn’t end well.

Anyway, to say the least, I’m up for almost anything … most of the time.

For instance, a few weeks ago while She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Made-Mad and I were chilling in Alaska, a friend of ours asked us if we wanted to take his boat out onto the Kuskokwim and dig up some fun.

SWMNBMM said she wanted to go … so since she made up our minds, we went.

I know all about the water in Alaska. SWMNBMM and I (and our kids) have lived here for several years. The only thing you really need to know is it is cold in the fall and winter. If you are given the choice of jumping in the water or having an eye surgically removed … well, you can live with one eye.

Now Dana (our friend who usually refers to me by my Eskimo name) put us all in the boat with his wife, Miss Alice, and their grandson, Edison, and off we went up the Kusko and through Steamboat Slough to his camp, which is a super awesome place.

When we pulled up, I jumped out onto the shore and tied us up – just like I did way back when I was in the Navy. I still remember two knots.

Then we hit the camp …. And Dana set about making us a lunch and Miss Alice and I set about “digging up fun.”

Next time we go, I’m definitely going to ask Miss Alice her definition of “fun.” We took shovels and dug up a place for a garden. At one point, I could have sworn I was bleeding and ran to SWMNBMM in pain. She wiped the sweat off my forehead and sent me back to work.

Well, it felt like blood … kind of … I mean, it could have been …

After finishing “digging up fun,” Dana served up a hearty lunch of … fish.

I’m not sure if I’ve told anyone this but I’m the guy that goes to Long John Silver’s and orders chicken. News tip for people like me, whoever said if you put enough salt, bread, hot sauce and dirt on salmon that you can’t taste it …LIED!

Anyway, the day progressed and we did have an awesome time. I would definitely like to have a camp like theirs. It would also be nice if it came with a hot tub, barbecue pit and satellite TV.

When the day was done, we decided to head back … of course, the tide had gone out and now our boat sat half out of the water. The other half was in the mud, which was connected to the ice cold water.

Let’s do the math, here.

It was Dana’s boat … which means he had to drive it.

Pushing is not an option.

Edison is four years old.

Pushing is not an option.

Miss Alice is in her late 60s.

Pushing is not an option.

SWMNBMM? That is not an option. Trust me on that.

OK…that left me, getting into the coooolldd mud, which was connected to the coooold water.

This wasn’t just any mud, mind you. It was that soft mud. You know, the kind that oozes between your toes and laughs at you the whole way until it reaches your hips. I took a step in and I’m not kidding one bit, my eyes bugged out, my breath escaped and my voice jumped four octaves.

I pushed that boat out into the water in like 2.7 seconds and crawled back onto the bank where SWMNBMM poured glacier water onto my body with a big grin. I’m pretty sure she found the coldest water on the planet to wash the mud off of me.

After I had regained some color and feeling in my body, we all climbed into the boat and headed home.

A few days later, SWMNBMM told me I was going to be going to Barrow to cover a story in a few weeks.

Hmmm … Barrow is the northernmost city in the country and its December. Polar bears live there.

I agreed to go.

But I am not going fishing with anyone there.

(Tommy Wells is the editor of the Seward Phoenix LOG. Everything in this column is true, except for the parts that have been fabricated, exaggerated or just plain lies.)


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