Nate, Glenn and Mike’s trout
After father got home from work, we packed up the station wagon and he drove the five of us out of Anchorage, past the Portage glacier, down the Seward Highway for several hours, then onto the Sterling Highway, then a side road, then down a track until we came to a clearing. Hearing the sound of wheels in the darkness of the late summer night, Nate and Glenn opened the door to welcome us.
Nate and Glenn were brothers and seemed very old to me, but probably about the age that I am now. We stood together in their cabin cum office and father paid the four dollars for two night’s stay. Around the walls were pictures of men holding up fish. One of them was Bing Crosby. From back in the old days, when stars used to rough it.
Mother said we had brought ‘plenty of eggs’, as requested, and Nate or Glenn smiled gently and explained he meant salmon eggs, to use as bait. We were ushered to a line of largish what can only be called shacks, shown the multi seat wooden outhouse and instructed on how to prime the communal hand pump before being left to settle in.
Only the idea that Bing Crosby had slept there could have kept us kids in the windowless cabin. It had a slew of iron bedsteads at one end, a wood stove, table and assorted benches and chairs at the other. And that is all. We had brought our own bedding and boxes of food. Mother, utterly unfazed, set about organising things. She happily heated up tins of ravioli on the stove for our supper, possibly remembering her own past years spent camping in Ghana.
There followed two days of pitter patter rain and sitting in row boats trying to cast properly and catch fish on the beautiful unnamed lake which lapped around the property. Another family arrived to share the boats and we children interrogated each other, finally discovering friends in common. Mother stayed on dry land, cooking trout rolled in oatmeal and pan fried in butter.
These days I buy the fish I eat. But I was very fortunate indeed to be given a fabulous trout by a dedicated fisherman, Mike. After washing and gutting and washing again I stuffed it with fresh herbs, rubbed it with salt, pepper and a tiny bit of olive oil, wrapped it in baking paper and tinfoil and baked it in the oven until cooked. Then unwrapped and ate it with salad and potatoes. Thank you Mike.