I owe an apology to the women of Alaska. Heading into my recent trip, I figured that in the most distant and different state, gender roles would be remarkably separated and antiquated. In fact, my experience turned out to be exactly the opposite of that – the women up there are not only every bit as capable as the men, but they have the same frontier spirit and can-do-it (must-do-it?) attitude.
In the Bristol Bay Borough where I fished last week, float planes are a way of life. As you drive down the road along the Naknek River, you see a bunch of them, and as you’re fishing a bunch of them pass by. Because the road system is highly limited, many schoolchildren actually fly to school each day (except when the winter weather prevents them from going home, in which case they stay overnight with host families).