Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The coast

This is one beautiful area.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Raegan- Go get yourself dressed.

Raegan can make a mess faster than any one of our children.  The funny thing (if there is such a thing) as I'm pointing out the mess and scolding her she looks at me like "What..... I don't see it".  It's as if the mess is a figment of my imagination and she'll just look at me with her big blue eyes and smile. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rebuilding last fall's Hunting Trip

Karla drew a cow permit last year 14 (ish) miles down the infamous Rex Trail.  I had been on this trail once before. See picture.

That was about 5 miles in....needless to say I was a little nervous about the days ahead; I actually had nightmares.  I thought for sure I'd be draining oil, changing spark plugs in the middle of a swamp.  I also had real fear that if we did miraculously make it back 14 miles and got a moose we'd never be able to haul it out.  My plan was to go in light however the day before we left I was frantic and doing the last minute packing(let's throw that in the trailer too). Before I knew it my "going in light" theory was replaced by "where can I fit the kitchen sink"? We had decided that it was time for Tucker to have a little one on one time with just us (thank you Sarah) so he was off to shoot his first moose.  We arrived to the trail a little later than expected so we spent the first night in the Suburban. Let me tell you- If you haven't slept in the back of a Suburban with another adult and a 10 year old kid..... you're not missing much. While Karla looks remarkably put together Tucker better represents the way we all felt.

Off we went for our first trip, loaded to the hilt, cautiously optimistic about our adventure ahead.
Our first day started off great.  We cruised past those horrific puddles that just two years ago swamped my four wheeler, and before long we were past the bad spots and on the "good" part of the trail. 
Tucker got his second spruce chicken and was really proud of it.  Before every picture we had to wait for him to get it and pose with it.  Oh and by the way he was equally excited about finding a frog seconds after retrieving his bird.

But our good moods were dashed after 3 hours of four wheeling riding with no sign of moose and absolutely no where to pitch a tent.  A fire had riped through the area the year before leaving millions of tree sized toothpicks on the ground.  There was absolutely no place to pitch a tent.

One of the "going in light" ideas was to bring in empty water jugs and fill them with filtered water once we got to our spot. The rivers were beyond filters and we were down and out. Hungry (no time to stop and make lunch), thirsty, lost (well.... we knew how to get back we just didn't know where we were going) and cranky.  Spirits were down; especially mine, and after a half hearted attempt of finding a camp spot we decided to go back to the suburban. Honestly I was about to pack everything up and head home, but I knew I wasn't thinking straight.  We headed to a restaurant a few miles away, ate dinner, gathered our thoughts and stayed another night. Day two came with bluer sky's and lifted spirits.  On our way through the sometimes spooky muddy trail Karla spotted two cows.

Our work began at 11:30 AM. 

It was the first time that I was the "leader" of the pack and didn't exactly know what I was doing.  But like every other hunter in the world- I dug in and leaned on what I had learned from watching others.
8 Hours later I carried the last leg out of the woods.  We were ready to go home- kind of.  We had hoped to spend quality nights with Tucker, somehow knowing it was going to be our last fall in AK.  We were pleased with our success, but sad that it had to end so quickly.  We hope Tucker will remember this trip as much as we will- only with much more grandeur. 

I'm miss'n

A thin piece of fabric, on rocky ground, a cramped bag, a cold night, stiff morning joints, regrettable missed early morning opportunities, and the satisfaction knowing that no-one; absolutely no-one can get a hold of me. Like the sirens of Greek mythology Alaska hunting season is calling me back!   I CAN'T WAIT!