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Thread: If my hands can't be red...

  1. #1
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default If my hands can't be red...

    ...they might as well be blue.

    Last weekend my wife and I spent the better part of four days exploring a valley in the Alaska Range. Our reason for choosing that area was its potential for sheep, but we also knew that we had a chance at moose and grizzly bear. We certainly hoped that in four days we would find something to chase, but just the chance to spend some time in the mountains during these waning days of summer was what we were really after.

    After spending all of day one getting to our area, day two was spent bushwhacking our way up an alder-choked draw hoping to make it into a high bowl that we hoped would hold rams.



    As the day wore on, it became apparent that we weren't going to reach our original goal, so soon we chose to spend some time sampling the berries that were spread over the hillside. We had just a hint of rain that day, but nothing too bad.



    The next morning we decided to climb the mountain right behind camp and follow the high valley on the other side. It would give us a view of a large drainage on the other side while also allowing us to peer into the bowl that we were hoping to access on the previous day. On that climb I realized just how much stronger of a climber my wife is than me. Though we spent the summer having tons of outdoors adventures, almost all of them were kid-paced, so I was sucking wind as I tried to keep up.



    That day was glorious, but alas, no sheep were to be found. We spotted ~20 ewes and lambs on a distant face, but nothing in our vicinity. We did see at least 15 caribou, but of course our tag was already filled from a successful trip three weeks prior. Still, it was very cool spending that time up above 5,000' with caribou running around the peaks.





    Late in the afternoon we spotted four rams that were three drainages and about 5 miles away, but at that point we were down to our last four hours of hunting. We could do some spotting the next morning, but we couldn't take more than an extra day off of work at this point, so spending a day or two chasing those white spots would have to wait for another day. Again, we found ourselves distracted by the blue dots blanketing the mountainside. We figured that spotting moose or bears would be easier with some elevation, so why not pick some berries while we're at it?



    As we were picking we were once again visited by a caribou, seemingly mocking us that the valley was filled with the one animal we couldn't legally pursue.



    In all we saw probably 40 ewes and lambs, 20+ caribou, and only one lone cow moose. A gentleman we talked to had spotted a grizzly in an area we had considered hunting, but we chose to give him some space when he said he was going back in that direction the next day. Still, the trip was a great success. I got to spend three nights in a tent in a spectacular area with my bride, I got to climb mountains, and yes, we got to bring home lots of blueberries for our boys. Bringing home meat is always great, but we've already been blessed thus far this year and our freezers certainly aren't bare. And now....now it's time for some blueberry pancakes for breakfast.




  2. #2
    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Default

    I've had a couple of those "blue" trips. Great report.

    Yk

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    Man, the fall colors and scents of Alaska just cannot be beat ! Great pics !

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    Nice batch of berries.

  5. #5
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Nice berry harvest. Awful lotta cleaning leaves and such still to go. Try to pick a little cleaner maybe. Serious pickers out here pride themselves in clean picking. Were you using combs?
    Glad to see the kids resemble mom...............haha!jk!
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  6. #6
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper View Post
    Nice berry harvest. Awful lotta cleaning leaves and such still to go. Try to pick a little cleaner maybe. Serious pickers out here pride themselves in clean picking. Were you using combs?
    Glad to see the kids resemble mom...............haha!jk!
    Yeah, our first round of picking was reasonably clean, but then we decided that we'd go with speed (and volume) over cleanliness. I can still clean out leaves in December, but this was probably our last chance to pick since the berry crop is a bust in our neck of the woods.

    Besides, this satisfied customer can't be wrong!


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    Member kahahawai's Avatar
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    Brian,

    Congrats on a trophy load of Blueberries !!! Looks like the weather held out for you guys, thanks for posting great pictures and story......... seems like your never gonna get first shot at anything from now on, your just a guide and packer for your Huntress !!!!..........It is nice to see the Wives get out and do it !!!!

  8. #8
    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Default Good times

    Sorry I didn't get to meet you. I was sincerely hoping for your success. It was fantastic out there! We also saw many of those high bou. I went and picked blue berries with my family yesterday. Its still worth it figuring out a new area that holds rams. Congrats on that. I guess the motivation for strong fitness has been established.

  9. #9
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post

    Besides, this satisfied customer can't be wrong!
    Won't argue with that..............the customer is always right! Just hope he does not get too discerning in his tastes as he gets older. Seen that happen.
    Enjoyed the story almost as much as you probably enjoyed the trip. Next year a ram...........or is there time this year?
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  10. #10
    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    I think we've got some extra 'bou meat for ya!!

  11. #11
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper View Post
    Enjoyed the story almost as much as you probably enjoyed the trip. Next year a ram...........or is there time this year?
    Thanks for the kind words. As for sheep, I'll be in an area next weekend where there is a very, very small chance...but we'll primarily be targeting moose and/or bear, and only for a day at that, so it'll probably have to wait until next year.

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    That was a nice trip. The colors up there were spectacular. Thanks for the report.

  13. #13
    Member Lone Wolf1's Avatar
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    Awesome trip and great family memories! Congrats!

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    What a nice way to spend time with the wifey. You know Brian, I always figure if while I'm hunting and I'm seeing what I'm going after I'm doing something right. Sometimes it works out you get onto a shooter and sometimes not. That's the way she goes....

    I didn't get on to a shooter ram this year either, spent more time in the tent. But at least you got to spend the tent time with your wife instead of stinky sheep hunting partner!

  15. #15
    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Awesome thread; great looking family, Brian.
    You are rich indeed.
    Proud to be an American!

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    Cool, glad ya had a great time, and lotasa great viddles inthe end
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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