Day 61 - Friday, May 31 - Milepost 5679 - Birdcount 255 - Clam Gulch, Alaska

(BF's Journal). Now we are pros! We could teach Clam Digging 101. The tide comes in a little later this morning, so we start clam digging around 8:30. Two and a half hours later we have our limit: 120 clams. This time we look for multiple dimples clustered in the sand and there we find two, three, four and even five clams in the same hole. Shari gets into the act too and digs clams out with her bare hands. I work so hard on digging mine that I wear the finger tips off my gloves and then start wearing off my own finger tips. In fact I wear my finger nail on my index finger low enough to draw blood, but fortunately this doesn’t happen until the 118th clam.

When we exit the beach, a game warden asks us for our fishing license which Shari dutifully provides, but I left mine up in the Pace Arrow to avoid getting it wet and sandy. He keeps Shari and our 120 clams captive while I hike the hill and return with my wallet. Another group of clam diggers are less fortunate: their license is at home and they are issued a citation valid until they show up at the game warden’s office. Our next 2 hours we spend deshelling and cleaning our clam catch., this time outdoors on the picnic table since it is warm (lower 50's) and sunny. Lots of work, but the rewards are worth the effort.

(SF's Journal). Maestro, music please. "Clams. We have lots and lots of clams. 120 razor clams on the beach. 120 razor clams. If one of those clams happen to get dug. 119 razor clams on the beach." Oh are we good. Even I can dig clams! Again we start out at low tide and with bucket, gloves, and Missy’s 12- in-1 shovel (now it is 13-in-1 since it also digs clams) we head for the beach. There are dimples all over the place and makes me wonder how we could have missed them. We dig furiously for a couple of hours until Bert counts 115 clams and I count 120 clams. We quit at my number since we do not want to get caught with too many clams in our bucket. My digging is slower than Bert’s but I do taste success and those little buggers are fun. The day is perfect and we dig in just one long sleeve shirt and sweat pants. By the time we are finished we are covered with muddy sand but we have a heavy bucket to carry back. We are such pros that a couple from Germany stop to ask questions about how we did it, how to clean it, where are they, how to cook them, etc. We answer with such knowledge they think we are native Alaskan and seem to be disappointed to find out we are from Texas. We walk back with a couple from Florida who did not do their homework like we did and did not have even 30 clams. We feel so proud of our catch until we see the game warden blocking our way up the path to check our right to dig clams. Being the prepared person that I am, I whip out my license only to find out Bert did not have his along. I have to wait on the beach with our bucket of clams, embarrassed as others look at me with "You should know better than to forget your license" stare as Bert has to hike back to R TENT to get his license. Finally after what seems like an eternity and everybody in Alaska knowing about Shari Frenz and lack of hubby’s license, Bert returns. The good part is that he brought the car and we do not have to carry the heavy bucket up the steep hill back to R TENT.

I wash the clams, quickly stick them in boiling water then cold water. Meanwhile Bert takes off the shells. It is so wonderfully warm and sunny we spend the next two hours outside cleaning. We work out a pretty good assembly line and I think we finish ahead of others if anyone was timing us. First I snip the black edge off, then cut open the neck. Bert separates the foot from the body. I take his pile and cut the neck again and the foot along its edge. Bert cleans the neck while I clean the feet. Then we wash each piece really really really good, bag up and put in the freezer. The freezer is now so full that the door hardly closes.

If that were not enough for a day of activity, we decide to leave Clam Gulch and head to Princess Kenai RV Park. After arrival we do five loads of wash, change the sheets, clean the bathroom, vacuum and wash the kitchen floor. Even though at 10 PM it looks like 3 in the afternoon, I have no trouble falling asleep as happy as a clam.

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