Bethel Outdoor Adventure
121 Mayville Road, Bethel, Alaska, 4217, United States
More about Bethel
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More Abandoned Ships
Barge and Tugboat
Friends Launching Their Boat
Travel Tips for Bethel
Port of Bethel
Bethel is located about 40 miles up the Kuskokwim River, the longest free flowing river in the United States. The Port of Bethel is the northernmost medium-draft port in the United States. Boats are the primary means of local transportation in the summer, since there are only ~16 miles of roads. Believe it or not, that huge, fast-flowing river becomes a 150-mile ice road to the upstream and downstream villages in the winter. Barges transport petroleum products and freight for the whole Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta out of Bethel. There is some commercial salmon industry but I think it is on the decline due to decreasing local fish populations.
Brown's Slough Music
Local songwriter Michael Faubion has an album called "Paris on the Kuskowim". Faubion's music is often his lyrics set to familiar tunes from the 1940's. The article says you can learn a lot about Bethel geography in "Bethel Cab Driver." You hear of the Brown Slough bridge (where these pictures were taken) and Louse Town, where Datu's house is. In "Brown Slough Boogie" you learn about the Sewer Lagoon (Honeybucket Lake?). I don't know about Bethel being a "Paris on the Kuskokwim," but Brown's Slough is definitely part of the unique history of Bethel.
Old Friendly Dog Farm
Bethel is famous for the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race. The Old Friendly Dog Farm is the name of the Angstman family dog racing kennel. Their web page tells us that Myron started mushing in the 1970's and was instrumental in forming the Kuskokwim 300. He went on to win the race two times. He has also competed in the Iditarod. All of the Angstman children have competed in dog racing also.
We went there to see if they had an extra white fish (they catch fish to help feed the dogs) to make our agutak (eskimo ice cream). It gave me a chance to see what a premier dog racing kennel looks like.
Miles and Miles the Same
When you are out on the river, you see an occasional fish camp but mostly there are just miles and miles of tundra and water. This happens to be the confluence of the Kuskokwim and Gweek Rivers, maybe 8 miles north of Bethel. You can read about this year's Campout Race on the frozen Gweek River in an excellent Tundra Medicine Dreams blog. It tells you firsthand what it is really like to live on the Kuskokwim at the end of winter.
Different Kind of Music
The building across from the AC Value Center used to be the town disco. When I went over to take a pic, the door was open and I could hear music. It is now the United Pentecostal Church. I am thinking the music in this building has changed a lot.