I stood at the finish line of the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run & Ride at the end of Cannery Road in Kenai, on an extremely cold February afternoon (the race is still over three months away). There was a mean wind that bit at any exposed skin, making my eyes water. I quickly wiped the tears away for fear that they would freeze my eyelids shut. The beach looked so foreign, just a frozen landscape interrupted only by straw colored dune grass, bending but not breaking in the gale.
A person cannot help but be awe-inspired by the sights, smells and overall feels that overwhelm the senses when they experience this extraordinary place. A connection may be formed that may never be undone. It’s something that could impact and shape a life forever.
When we connect to something significant it changes us and we want to celebrate and protect it. We grow to love the places we connect to, creating a special relationship and a strong bond. It is our hope that our community will experience this relationship building through the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run & Ride. It’s what it’s all been about for the past 8 years and this year we will be doing it in person on May 30th, 2022!
We also want to recognize that the lands the race takes place on have been culturally shaped by the Dena’ina people, their stewardship, knowledge and traditional practices before time immemorial. Since the impact of colonial settlement, they have faced many challenges, including loss of traditional Dena’ina ways of living, hunting, fishing, land, language and culture. However, the Dena’ina are extraordinarily resilient and have combated the challenges valiantly. The work of reclaiming Dena’ina culture continues to this day in so many admirable ways, including Kenaitze Indian Tribe’s educational fishery located on Tribal land right next to the finish line of the Mouth to Mouth Wild Run & Ride.
I look forward to a little bit warmer weather at the end of May. Until then stay warm and Mark Your Calendar for May 30th! Reflect on all that is good in this place we love and remember that there is so much that is significant and meaningful where we live. So, let’s be curious and continue to learn about the Cook Inlet watershed AND each other.