I'm in Quinhagak or Kwinhagak (Quinn-uh-hawk), a Yup’ik village nestled along the Kanektok River on the eastern shores of the Kuskokwim Bay. Its Yup’ik name is “Kuinerraq,” means “new river channel.” It lies within sight of the Bering Sea coast, 71 miles southwest of Bethel, the area’s main hub of transportation.
One night at the end of dinner, I take a peek out of the window to see if there’s any late evening light I can take advantage of and am stunned to see a jaw-dropping sunset. Deep reds, oranges and yellows blanket this wide open sky for as far as I can see.
“Whoa!” I exclaim. “I’m going to see if I can catch the reflections in the canal!”
I grab my camera bag and tripod and rush out the door. Though the sunsets are lengthy, I manage to miss the height of the show by the time I reach the water. Just a golden band on the horizon remains between the endless expanse of the Bering Sea and the dense blue-gray clouds that fill everything above. Disappointed, I start back up the wooden walk toward the Marks' home, enjoying the smoky smell coming from the smokehouses and drying racks just off the path.