Jackson cyclist continues on his journey across US

A.J. Rowell of Cullowhee is ticking off the miles on his transcontinental bike ride from the Arctic Ocean back home to Jackson County.

Rowell posts regular dispatches from his journey on his blog, entertaining readers with both his adventures and misadventures — from exploring glaciers to his first flat tire.

Salmon has been a key feature in his blog this summer, as the spawning salmon literally overflowed out of Alaska’s rivers.

This post came in from the Copper River a few weeks ago.

“Believe me I am not complaining, but I have never eaten more salmon in my life than in Alaska. The truth is that salmon is free in Alaska in the summer, assuming you are in the right place at the right time!

“Alaska residents can get up to 500 salmon with their subsistence permits depending on the size of the household, but are not allowed to sell them. They are however, allowed to give them away for Christmas presents and to skinny kids on bicycles hanging around camp at night.

“Some people use dip nets, a three-feet wide net that you simply place in the gray glacier river and wait on salmon to swim into. Then pull up and repeat ... and repeat. Thirty salmon in a few hours is not uncommon.

“Unfortunately, only Alaskan residents were allowed to use dip nets on the Copper, so I just set back and watched with my jaw dragging the ground. After several pounds of salmon, I was happy to be back to my staple — peanut butter and jelly on wheat!”

People aren’t the only one feasting on the Alaskan salmon. Take this post from a national bear sanctuary outside Hyder, Alask, a couple weeks later.

“Thousands of salmon were in the creek spawning while hundreds more lay dead on the sides after completing their three- to five-year life cycle. In the early morning and late afternoon, the bears would come down to do some fishing on the spawning salmon.

“It was interesting to watch the bears fight over their own territory. They would only eat the skin off the salmon and then leave the rest for the birds and other wildlife before moving on to their next catch.”

Rowell offered this recipe for salmon for the folks back home:

• One Stick of Butter — optional

• Garlic Slices — optional

• One Lemon — optional

• Copper River Red Salmon — required

• Aluminum Foil—- required

• Campfire — required

Prepare a good campfire and get lots of hot coals burning. Use a stick to move the hot coals away from the burning fire. Keep the fire going to the side so that you will have extra coals if needed.

Place your salmon fillets in the aluminum foil and add a few slices of butter. Slice up some fresh lemon and garlic and sprinkle both on top and underneath your fresh salmon. Carefully wrap both ends of the foil and continue folding until the salmon is wrapped tightly inside.

Place on fire and cook each side for five minutes for each half-inch of thickness of the fillets. Flip and repeat for the other side. Open the foil and check to see if your salmon is prepared to your desired temperature. Enjoy!

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