WILLMAR -- A place by the name of "Cold Bay'' and known to average no more than five days of sunshine each year might not seem like a great destination, but it was that and more for Matthew Smith of Willmar.
It also became his launching point for writing about the outdoors.
Smith, 15, the son of Will and Lori Park Smith of Willmar, wrote about the hunting and fishing adventure he enjoyed last year to Cold Bay, located on the Aleutian Chain of Islands. His essay "Cold Bay Alaska'' won him second-place honors in the senior division of the youth writing contest sponsored by Outdoor News.
His brother Harrison won first place in the junior division of the contest one year earlier by writing about "A Duck Hunting Adventure in Canada.''
Ducks had a lot to do with bringing the two brothers and their father to Cold Bay. They went to hunt waterfowl and fish for salmon with family friend Peter Iverslie, of New London, who has a cabin there. They were joined by Dennis Anderson of the Star Tribune, who featured their hunt for Pacific black brant in that newspaper's Outdoor pages last September.
Matthew Smith's account of the adventure was published in the Dec. 25, 2009, edition of Outdoor News, giving him a statewide audience as well.
"We were never at a loss for hunting and fishing opportunities in Cold Bay, chasing ptarmigan on the tundra, brant on the Bering Sea, silver salmon and doly varden in the streams, a great time afield,'' wrote Smith in his prize-winning essay. "My days afield are now filled with ducks, deer, and pheasants, but I still often find myself dreaming of Cold Bay.''