Dear Friends, Family and Followers, how did it come to be December?
I feel you're all owed an apology for my lack of presence here, trust that my heart often wished to be! Instead my time and effort have been spent in other corners of my life.
This spring I had the exciting opportunity to build an entire PWS seine net, from scratch, with all bran new materials - smack dab in the middle of Fisherman's Terminal in Ballard, WA. Without pause, a long and challenging rebuild of the F/V Scotch Cap followed. A steel hulled limit seiner, the F/V Scotch Cap was acquired by my captain last February but needed some work in order to seine. Unfortunately the project got very behind schedule and then was set back even further after it ran aground while traveling to the fishing grounds. After the repairs were complete the fishing season finally began on the first of August and continued a few short weeks before ending abruptly with a broken skiff. Seemingly a rotten hand had been dealt but what can be done except to endure?
It was sweet relief to go home briefly in September after 5 months from my own bed. This time could not be completely given to rest and recovery however because it was also the time for final preparations before setting out to thru-hike The Long Trail, an almost 300 mile footpath in the woods of Vermont and a dream I have wanted to make reality for some time. So, again, on September 12th, I steered south with 6000 miles to drive.
The Long Trail was incredible. It certainly deserves a post all its own, with pictures and maybe even some of the poetry it inspired me to write. Vermont is truly an amazing place and there is nothing like a month long walk with a beloved dog, especially after months of working in a very stressful environment. Living out of a backpack is a great kind of challenge and one that through revisions and innovations becomes more and more rewarding with each day. For my trip, last winter, I took the time to dehydrate and prepare all my own trail meals and I could not have been happier with that investment. I felt healthy and alive and connected in a way that daytrips cannot equal; I hope to plan a long walk, although maybe closer to home, as soon as I can.
While I was on the east coast I was also able to visit family and even celebrate an early Thanksgiving before the journey back to Alaska. My immediate family had not been united in one place in almost 6 years! We relished each others company and revisited some of the landmarks from my childhood: the Rochester Public Market, Tom Whall's, Wegman's... just to name a few.
The long drive home in wintery weather began to make me feel anxious so it was time to go. Sadly my feeling of urgency was not enough to grant safe passage. While driving in British Columbia I hit a sudden patch of ice and lost control of my truck. After careening back and forth across both lanes my Toyota summersaulted into a very steep ditch. Both Finn-dog and I were miraculously unhurt, I did not even bite my tongue and when we flipped Finn landed in my lap! For my Toyota however the result was a complete loss and this complication added four days of logistics figuring out the best way to continue home. Thankfully I'd been caravan-ing with my boyfriend so after shipping away some weight we were back underway.
We arrived in Girdwood on Thanksgiving Day with so much to be grateful for. I was grateful to have survived a grueling pre-fishing season mentally and a near boat sinking physically. Grateful too that my feet stood up to 300+ miles without a blister. While I was also sad because my poor truck was dead I was very much grateful that I was not. 2017 has been a wild ride.
I am so glad to be back home and look forward to what in comparison will seem mundane hours of intense focus in my tiny cabin studio, with a cup of tea, and NPR podcasts for company. All of that to explain my absence! I hope all of you have been well!
Here's to 2018,
Libby Ferrara - Owner of Stray Goose Studio