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I had no idea what Fish Camp was prior to visiting Bethel, and google was no help in enlightening me! Nothing came up in multiple google searches. There’s no info on wikipedia. It pretty much doesn’t exist in the digital world, and really, it doesn’t.

A fish camp is basically a summer home, on the river, for fishing. They are boat access only. There’s no electricity, no running water, no cell service and very few permanent structures. Being bush Alaska it is almost impossible for a white man to own property, and unless you know someone with a fish camp they’re basically inaccessible. We were lucky enough to have a friend (Krystle), who has a friend (her boss) who has a friend with a fish camp, who invited us out for the day.

We had a lovely ride up river and down a small side channel to the camp. The river bank was scattered with camps and I loved seeing the salmon drying in the sun (or not sun!)

A visit to fish camp

Fish racks with the cabin in back.

A visit to fish camp

Drying racks with the cabin beside.

A visit to fish camp

Drying shelter with a detached cabin at the side. This is a fancy camp!

The fish camp we visited isn’t used much as a summer home, so the only permanent structures are a raised platform for a tent, and some posts for a tarp around a table. There was no outhouse, although the grass worked fine for most of us. Kacela decided that her pants worked fine too and went home less one pair of underwear and wearing Calais’ splash pants!

Bethel Cont (34 of 42)

There was a fantastic long beach, and being a side channel, the water was quite slow moving. The girls very quickly jumped in the water, peeled off their pants, and splashed and played for hours. If you notice in the above picture everyone is wearing pants and sweaters. It was NOT warm! My good little Northern Alberta girls had no problem with the lack of heat. They could almost be Alaskan. My brave husband jumped in and went for a water-ski up the river. He’ll never pass up the chance to ski, regardless of the weather! I may be Canadian, but there was no way I was getting in that cold water!!

A visit to fish camp

If you don’t have a bucket, a rubber boot will work!

A visit to fish camp

They were seeing how deep they could go! Good thing it wasn’t that deep because I really did not want to run in after them!

A visit to fish camp

Who needs pants when you have sand.

A visit to fish camp

Calais spent a long time building a sandcastle. I think it’s pretty good considering she didn’t even have a shovel!

After a long play in the sand we headed “in” (through the trees) to have a fire. There were roasted marshmallows and hot dogs, potatoes cooked in the fire, and delicious salmon dip. The fire was never roaring since the only wood was fallen brush from the surrounding trees, but it was enough to keep us comfortable and cook the food!

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Just after we finished eating the rain decided to start. It was time to head back. We got our stuff packed up (including Kacela’s wet pants) and loaded up in the boat. Just as we pulled away the rain decided to stop. Thank goodness or it could’ve been a miserable ride back!

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Calais loved being on the boat. It was a good thing because the next adventure on our trip was Juneau and the Inner Passage Ferry!

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Fish Camp

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