Here at Alaska West things change fast, whether that change is the river, flora, fuana, people, or even our camp, it is constantly happening. Our camp is located on the Kanektok River, and the crew spend over three months enjoying every change it has to offer on and off the water.
Fireweed Chamerion angustifolium is a great example of this change happening. Fireweed is a “pioneer species” which basically means it is one of the first species to colonize after an ecosystem has been disturbed or damaged in some way such as flooding, freezing, or after a fire. There is even an old Alaskan wives’ tale that says when Fireweed is in full bloom, summer is almost over, and when the flowers have turned to seed, the first freeze is right around the corner. When we first arrive in camp the ground is frozen and no Fireweed can be found. Soon enough however, green shoots start popping up. Around the last couple weeks of July, flowers start to bloom, and by the first week or two of August it is everywhere. By the end of August through the first part of September, those flowers have started to turn to cotton and fall.
Year after year we are always amazed by how fast things change here on the “River of Changes.” It is an amazingly beautiful place!