People cross Eyak Lake in a skiff and dock on a small gravel beach on the lake's west side just after sunset in Cordova on Monday, May 17, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)

CORDOVA — A string of bluebird days filled Cordova with energy as those in town prepared for the start of summer fishing last week. Situated in a temperate rainforest and usually socked in under a layer of gray clouds, the coastal community is located on the eastern edge of Prince William Sound and tucked under Mount Eyak in the Chugach Mountains.

Local peaks still held late-season snow patches from an unusually powdery winter, and snow lingered on the Mount Eyak Ski Hill Trail last week and turned slushy as warm sunlight hit mountain hemlock.

Cordovans celebrated the return of the famed Copper River salmon after last year’s weak runs. City officials voted in mid-May to end the local mask mandate, among other COVID-19 restrictions. Restaurants, bars and shops remained closed much of last year during the pandemic and are just now beginning to return to in-person operations, drawing visitors from out of town.

The hum of planes and boats filled the air as people ate their first tacos and milkshakes of the season from Baja Taco. The smell of salt water and salmon accompanied those walking the sidewalks of Main Street.

Things in the seaside town have thawed, and after a rough winter, people are eager to return to normalcy. Here’s a look at the start of summer in Cordova.

A fishing net is stuck in rocks along Cordova's breakwater on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
Cordova's boat harbor is relatively empty during the first commercial salmon opener of the season on Monday, May 17, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
Jared Kennedy flies above Orca Inlet in his super cub en route to Cordova on Monday, May 17, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
Mt. Eccles reflects in Eyak Lake just after sunset in Cordova on Monday, May 17, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
An open sign is lit as it hangs in the front window of The Net Loft in Cordova on Saturday, May 22, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
Makari Lohse, 2, holds Blueberry, one of his family's chickens, while standing in front of his sister, Akaly Lohse, 5, who is holding Peepster, outside their home in Cordova on Wednesday, May 19, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
A boat travels north along Orca Inlet in Cordova as the sun sets behind Hawkins Island and surrounding mountains on Monday, May 17, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
Leo Vargas attempts to take off with his powered paraglider from Cordova's city airstrip on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
The sun sets behind Hawkins Island around 10 p.m. as a small sliver of Orca Inlet is viewable from the Mt. Eyak Ski Hill Trail in Cordova on Monday, May 17, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
Matt Honkola grabs a piece of Copper River king salmon he harvested the night before and prepares to place it on the grill while having a cookout with friends and family at Hartney Bay in Cordova on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
Orca Inlet, seen from Cordova's breakwater, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
A small spider begins to move towards an insect that is caught in its web that hangs from a Christmas wreath on the front door of a home in Cordova on Saturday, May 22, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
Moss-covered pilings rest in shallow water on the shore of Orca Inlet in Cordova on Saturday, May 22, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
The Alaska Marine Highway System's F/V Aurora approaches Cordova on Friday, May 21, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
The day's last slivers of sunlight hit mountain hemlock along the Mt. Eyak Ski Hill Trail in Cordova on Monday, May 17, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
Seagulls flock Orca Inlet in Cordova as Orca Adventure Lodge is reflected in a car's side mirror on Saturday, May 22, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
Fishing tenders anchor along the Copper River flats during the first commercial salmon opener in Cordova on Monday, May 17, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
A layer of ice remains on top of a small pond near the Midway Point of the Mt. Eyak Ski Hill Trail in Cordova on Monday, May 17, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
People walk back to shore after looking at Orca Inlet from a dock at the end of Orca Road in Cordova on Saturday, May 22, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
Swans swim along the shore of Eyak Lake as a nearby mountain range is reflected in the side mirror of a car on Power Creek Road in Cordova on Saturday, May 22, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
The sun sets and casts a pink hue on Orca Inlet in Cordova on Sunday, May 23, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
Elmers Point Drive extends into Eyak Lake as the Copper River Highway wraps around the lake in Cordova on Monday, May 17, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
Sheridan Glacier in Cordova, photographed around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 22, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
Alaska Airlines flight 61 departs Cordova for Anchorage and travels past small islands bordering the Gulf of Alaska, photographed on Monday, May 24, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)
The USCG Cutter Fir is docked in Cordova as the last sunlight fades behind mountains around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 22, 2021. (Emily Mesner / ADN)