“That can’t be our boat,” said Janet’s cousin, Karen. “It looks too small.” Indeed, it did look small, but it was our boat. And the 18' aluminum outboard, coupled with the skills of our skipper Mark, proved more than up to the task of transporting seven of us 15 miles or so down the Susitna River, and bringing us safely back.
We’re at Deshka Landing. Mainly because so few roads exist in this enormous state, it’s one of the few public access points to the Susitna. Cousin Karen worked diligently with local archeologist Fran who arranged this trip down river to visit a place called Susitna Station–the place where Grandpa Cy lived in 1910-11 and where his eldest son, Karen’s father, was born. Mark navigated the braided channel of the Susitna at high speed, watching intently for snags, rocks and sandbars–carefully avoiding things that weren’t obvious to the rest of us. Just before our arrival he took us to Seal Island at the mouth of the Yetna River, and sure enough four or five Harbor Seals lolled on the gravelly bar, a good 20 miles from Cook Inlet. He said they followed the salmon up the river.