For my first trip of 2005, I decided to go fish the Naknek River in King Salmon Ak. last week with a friend of mine. I also wanted to see a buddy ( Bob C. ) who lives there who I hadn't seen in almost 20 years. When we arrived via Pen Air, Bob was waiting in the terminal for us, after introducing Bob to my friend Norm, we loaded our gear in the truck and headed to his house to unpack. That took about 15 minutes, then we hooked the boat to the truck and headed for the river. The temperature outside was a balmy 46 degrees, and partly cloudy. I was so excited to be back here fishing, I could hardly maintain my composure. If you've never fished the Naknek before, the only word that could accurately describe it would be...WOW! Big water, so clear it's deceiving and remote. Now to the fishing, we put in up by Naknek Lake, and motored up about half a mile to Trefonts Cabin. It didn't take long before we were into some big, and beautiful rainbows. I am sooo happy, good friends, great fishing and the peace of mind that only the surrounding stillness and solitude can bring. We fished for a while longer, then we motored over to where some of Bob's friends were trapping beavers and having a bar-b-que, what a life. We went home and had fresh Bering Sea King Crab for dinner and watched those country comedy guys ( Jeff Foxworthy, the get er done guy and two others ) what a hoot. Well, to make this long story shorter, the next day of fishing turned into a survival trip. The temperature had dropped overnight to minus 17 degrees wind chill factor with 30 knot winds. Against better judgement we went anyway. Going up river was cold but bearable, coming back was brutal, between the tide rolling in and the wind blowing downstream we were fighting 7-8 foot swells that were sending waves crashing over the bow and freezing on impact, we had to turn around in that mess and go to shore and break into a cabin. Bob knew the owner, so I felt better about that. We started a fire, got warm and dried out, then we went down to the boat and bailed out the water, and reached a consensus, we needed to try to make it back now, because if the river froze overnight we would be stuck with no cell phone coverage and no way to get back until the river thawed. Luckily, the silent prayers I was saying to myself worked, the winds layed down a little and although it was still a bit hairy, we made it back to town alive. Some of you are probably wondering what does this story have to do with fishing? Nothing to those who have never pushed the envelope when it comes to going up against mother nature, to those of you who have and survived, you smile and say your thank you's, and look back on those times as just another adventure doing the things you love to do ( knowing the outcome could easily have been entirely different ). So in closing, I hope that your 2005 fishing season provides many first's for you all, and remember... never get so busy that you can't enjoy the sound that your favorite stream makes, or so stressed out that you fail to appreciate the wonder of a sunrise. Truly, some of the best things in life are free... D ray P.S. I'll try to put the pictures in order of events.