distance, and turn their backs on moose poachers.
I (and a few others) once (in the form of an area comprehensive plan) did make recommendations for what could locally have been a more self-governing type of community. But this idea ended up falling flat on its face. The “this is Alaska where I can do what I want” attitude subsequently prevailed. It culminated with 250 or so community members shouting down the plan at a public meeting.
I’m repeatedly reminded of what happened – and the consequences. We all have to live with them. Those who seem to be most affected are those like me, who are out and about a lot.
Like today, I decided to take the dogs for a walk on Buffalo Mine Road because it wouldn’t be as slippery as the trashed trails up behind our house. Big mistake. It was Friday, and the sun was out. As I soon discovered, the nose breathers had emerged from their den.
All went well until the dogs and I came to a group of people engaging in the now area-wide practice of target shooting. (We have an informal range down by the mailboxes, but it’s now so popular that the overflow goes up road). I walked my apprehensive dogs, on leashes, past the first group. Then I let them off-leash. We then skittered past a second group. Rainbow, who was slightly ahead of me, darted past them, then took off. I kept going because she was heading up road. Shortly thereafter, a neighbor who lives at the road’s end stopped and we chatted a bit. He pointed out to me where the night before, someone had killed and left a moose. (This is illegal, it’s not hunting season.)
I kept going. I went quite a ways, alternating running and walking. Steve finally reappeared. He’d caught Rainbow (who usually doesn’t allow other people to catch her) and was walking her down road. I thanked him repeatedly, put Rainbow on her own leash, and went back downhill.
About a mile from the turnout, another neighbor drove by in his rattling pick-up. I noticed that he had his noisy German shepherd in the back. Rainbow and Ryder were on leashes, unlike Jena, who tore after the barking vehicle and the dog, barking and running alongside. I couldn’t do anything because my hands were (quite literally) tied. Rainbow and Ryder, who were tethered, were beside themselves because they were tangled.
I decided to continue on back to the truck. After all, two dogs in the hand are two dogs in the hand. Then I would go back and get Jenna. I hoped that we’d again meet, as I was going up and she was coming down road. I put Rainbow and Ryder in the truck and looked around, just in case the missing dog was at my heels. No Jenna. This is very unusual; Jenna usually always stays right next to us when she is on a walk. I began walking up road. No Jenna. I walked past the target shooters. No Jenna. I returned to the truck and started the engine. No Jenna. I then began driving up road. No Jenna. I spotted her shortly thereafter. She was trotting downhill, looked like she was confused. I opened the door, got out of the truck, and did a mock bow. Contrite dog, hopped right in.
After, I got to thinking. A bit of courtesy, even in a lawless area, goes a long ways. The shooters could have stopped what they were doing when they saw that dogs were scared. The poacher could have taken the moose. And said neighbor could have stopped his truck when he saw that one of my dogs was hauling ass after his dog. No, not here, where the words law and order are just mere abstract concepts, applicable only to television viewers.
There was just one bright star in the dark sky. Steve did stop and return Rainbow to me, and for this, I was extremely grateful. Sad to say, people like this fellow are in the minority around here.
Next: 207: 10/19/13: Skjoni and Friends