Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 26

Thread: September in Noorvik

  1. #1
    Member HuntAK59's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    527

    Default September in Noorvik

    At the moment, I am enjoying a tenderloin caribou dinner, planning to write this story and reminiscing back to last month, September 23- Oct 1st.

    But, first I'll start by going back to February of this year. I had to go out to Kotzebue hospital to put in the new DDC system and fire system for the Eldercare addition. I knew being in the arctic for the first time; I needed to get out and experience what was up there. As we all know fellow forum member Strangerinastrangeland is what the arctic is all about, I had shot him a message hoping he could help me out. It started off with asking about hunting and fishing up there and what was in/around in Febuary. Chip did the unexpected and offered to take me out.

    Little did I know, a cold spell of -70 would hit, then a blizzard where you couldn't see a foot in front of you. Still Chip had made it over to Kotzebue to help me on my first arctic experience. The sled broke down, and the weather was terrible, so we weren't able to get out. We did, however get to meet up for dinner. I don't think I stopped laughing the entire time with Chip telling story after story. He also extended an offer for me to come out in September on his favorite hunt of the year. One where the mosquitoes are gone, the caribou are plenty, and the company is great.

    Now, I'll fast forward passed all of our P.M's, phone calls, planning, and the stuff no one cares to hear about. Come September 23, Akrstabout and I are in the plane to Kotzebue, and I was besides myself. The 7 months of waiting had gotten to me and I was more than excited.

    A childhood idol of mine, Jim Shockey, once said that one of his favorite things about hunting in different parts of the world is learning the culture thatís there, and experiencing the different lifestyles the world has to offer. In my negligence from experience, I thought it was all bullsh**, made up for TV. So, on this trip, I found the truth in what he was saying:

    So, back to the story. Akrstabout and I are in the plane from Kotzebue to Noorvik. 139.jpg

    Although we planned just about all we could, and went over everything, I still didn't know what to expect. We got off the plane and didn't see Chip. Uh oh. Something isn't good. Nope, everything was fine. His daughters had come down to pick us up! Carolyn and Qutan. How badass is it that his 6 y.o can ride an ATV better then me!? So, we loaded our equipment up and headed to chips house. Immediately, I was in awl. Just taking a tour around Chips property was baddass. A rack full of fish, caribou, hides from musk ox, bears, etc. 026.jpg

  2. #2
    Member HuntAK59's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    527

    Default

    As soon as we got there, I was lit up like a Christmas Tree with excitement. We got introduced to Chips family. His wife Agnes and 4 of 5 daughters. Tingmiaq, Mary, Carolyn and Qutan Irene. His last daughter was busy winning a race against High School students (sheís in middle school) in Kotzebue. We did eventually meet her though, Iriqtaq, AKA moose legs. (For her running ability)

    Chip had set up a nice tent for us to crash in and we got all set up throughout the day Saturday. 025.jpg

    The plan was to head upriver Monday for the caribou, so we had 2 days to experience Chip and his familiesí life-style. We had to test the motor, to make sure it would run good up-river, and what better way to do that then check the set-net? 028.jpgWe ended up catching whitefish/sheefish/salmon. Agnes led the show, and got all the fish in. I tried to help, but ended up galfing myself, losing fish, and laughing the entire time, as I would get slapped in the face with fish, and fumbled with each one. Hell, I didnít know what I was doing We pulled the net, and headed inside for some good laughs, coffee and story time.

  3. #3
    Member HuntAK59's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    527

    Default

    Before I even realized it, Agnes was outside prepping fish, making any Anchorage man look like a fool with her skills. 037.jpg
    It was then, that I learned a valuable lesson, Village women are awesome. As Jim Shockey had said, learn the culture. And it is obvious a distinct difference is the importance of self-reliance in the Eskimo culture. Women are equal to men out there. Yes, equality is pushed in our society, but in reality there are still set standards that men hunt/butcher/cut the wood/ etc. Women sew, cook, etc. Prove me wrong, but I call it as I see it. Anyway, in the villages women help hunt, men help sew, women cut wood, do A LOT of butchering, clean fish, etc. It was awesome to see how everyone has a hand in everything.
    So, Saturday night we stayed up until 230am, laughing, telling stories, comparing stuff, life, etc. It was awesome to spend time with Chips family, and learn a lot about what a true hunter-gatherers lifestyle was. I have always yearned to live that lifestyle, off the land/resources. But, have never done so. Yes, Iíve hunted, and spent a lot of time in the outdoors; no I havenít lived off of it, using it as income and a constant food source. Chipís daughters had a lot of questions for us, asking us what we do/how we live. They even went to the extent to fix my hair up for me. Iíll avoid that picture

    So Sunday comes around, and in the Villages, itís not illegal to hunt on Sundays, Itís just not usually done. That was just fine with me, because coming from PA, its illegal to hunt Sundays. So, instead we took the ATVís out, and brought the guns for fun Chips cousin Jeff took us up the mountain and showed us the area. We rode through the tundra, over the marsh, through the creeks, into the alders. It was a BLAST. We glassed A LOT of country

  4. #4
    Member HuntAK59's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    527

    Default

    045.jpg047.jpg. We saw one brown bear, a porcupine, but no caribou. We rode all day and then got back to Noorvik and jumped in the boat. We went to a place that I couldnít say, let alone spell. But it meant ďRaise the eyebrow,Ē is all I know. Along the way we glassed for caribou, and mammoth tusks. We didnít see caribou or tusks, but had a great ride.

  5. #5
    Member HuntAK59's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    527

    Default

    055.jpgOne of the best sunsetís Iíve seen. I had mentioned to Tingmiaq that I have always wanted to try Muk Tuk. So, when we got back it was to my suprise, they had Muk Tuk ready and prepared to try!!!! I was sooo excited. From what Iíve heard I didnít think Iíd like it, but needed to try it. It was actually delicious! With a little mustard and salt, even better. Thatís why I had to try it J How awesome is that that they made it though!? Iriqtaq had helped clean a Beluga whale this spring, so she got a piece to take home. Thatís what we ended up eating J
    Well, Monday came around, and we headed out above Kiana for some caribou. 076.jpg Chips cousin Earl had offered to take me and Chris up in his boat, so we could all get up there fast, and efficiently. That leads me to another point about the culture in the Eskimo villages; the family/supportive way that the entire village has. Itís important for the villages to help each other out in survival. The entire time we were there, I felt as though we were part of the village and family. Everyone was so awesome. Friendly, funny and helpful.
    So, we got above Kiana, and as soon as we get to the sand bar were camping on, caribou are crossing. Itís tradition for Agnes to catch the first caribou she seeís so thatís what we did J http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njhGRTP5l5w

  6. #6
    Member HuntAK59's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    527

    Default

    After Chip and Agnes got the first caribou skinned and ready, Chip and I went to gather wood. 077.jpgWell, whatís an adventure without injury? While gathering wood, I heard chip calling my name. It sounded like that weird, Iím in danger but calm help call. One that I associate with a bear zoning in on him, but not wanting to get the bear rowed up. Absolutely unprepared for a bear, caring a .22, I thought OH ****! So I tried to run up as loud as possible, crashing/thrashing so the bear would be scared off. I come up to Chip on the ground with a huge log rolled up his leg. Thank God, I thought, and then realized Chip was in pain. We got the log off and headed back to camp. We ended up staying up until 3am, watching the northern lights, by a fire, again telling stories and enjoying being outside in not-too-cold weather.080.jpgThe northern lights were the best Iíve ever seen them. They started as a sharp bright green line coming from the mountain like it was on fire. Then, Agnes told us to start whistling to bring them in. So, we did and they blew up all over the sky. They were so bright, you could navigate by them. For anyone that hasnít seen the northern lights, I try to explain them as the best song youíve never heard. They dance methodically through the sky, colorful, bright, and just amazing. We saw green and purple. Now my camera sucks, but hereís the picture I got...

  7. #7
    Member HuntAK59's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    527

    Default

    087.jpgTuesday morning came, and we strolled out of bed at 1130. One of the great things about this hunt is the caribou donít move until the fog rises, and it didnít rise until 11am, so why get up? Well, we didnít. J The day started with a group of fawns and cows crossing the river. Agnes and Chip headed out for some fawns, and caught 4. Now, go ahead and take your aim on us for catching fawns when there are cows and bulls to be had. But, thatís where cultural differences and environmental differences come into play. We let the cows go, because bulls have more meat and cows produce. Now, we catch the fawns for 2 reasons. Yes, the meat is great for elders and children. But, the reason people donít know (myself included) is their hair. They have shorter hair, that doesnít slip as easy as bulls. So Agnes sews them for parkas. She is going to make 4 parkas for the Kotzebue hospital to put on display. Itís going to represent a family of Eskimos from the earlier years, before western settlers. And, yes I cannot wait to be working in the hospital and see them. Because they will bring back fond memories of Noorvik and Iíll be more then proud to say I was there in the catching of these animals. 119.jpg

  8. #8
    Member HuntAK59's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    527

    Default

    So, we settled in Tuesday night for more fire and fun. Staying up late again (not sure what time). I woke at about 830 to fog, and went back to sleep because I knew we wouldnít see a thing. Then, Chris wakes me up thinking he heard Chip say ďbulls!Ē I thought he was hearing things, so I slowly got up and walked out of the tent. It went kind of like this. ďGood Morning Chip.Ē In my calm relaxed voice. And chip responded with ďGet down! Bulls are coming!!!!Ē Immediately, my blood pressure soared, my heart pounded and I scurried across to main camp crouching my best. What a way to wake up!! So, we fired up the 2 stroke (thank god for that, otherwise the 4stroke wouldíve had to been warmed up) and headed for the heard of bulls. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqZmCOZj5l0 We ended up with 9 bulls, and the last cow swam off. We caught all our caribou that morning and the real fun began. We started skinning/butchering/etc. We went from then, until dark doing caribou after caribou. P111.jpg Everything was salvaged, from the hides, to the meat, to the tongue, to the bottom jaw (Chip gives them to the caribou biologist for studies).
    It was a lot of work, but well worth it now that we all have caribou for the winter J Agnesí first caribou was stolen by a bear in the night, so we decided to keep the rest by camp and pee all over the place to keep bears away. 120.jpg The plan worked, no more bears. Supposedly a 12 foot silverback and a black bear have been getting into the goods of people all year.

  9. #9
    Member HuntAK59's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    527

    Default

    That night we got a few inches of snow, and again were having a blast in camp. We woke in morning to snow, which was gorgeous. 123.jpgWe barged the meat back to Kiana and spent the night at Agnes sisters, Nita. Again, they brought us in like family, and it was great to sleep in a warm house after being outside all week. We slept the night away and the next day Chip and Agnes took a load back to Noorvik. Chris and I hung out in Nita and Jackís place, and again it was like we were family. They made breakfast, lunch and dinner for us. We were taken back with another load by Nitas wife Jack and son Jack Jr. Again, helping us out any chance they could.
    We had one last night in Noorvik. Chips son, John, and daughter, Tingmiaq had cooked up dinner. So we ate caribou tongue, and a mixer Iíd never had; It was caribou fat, seal oil, blueberries and sugar. Delicious! By that point I was exhausted and called it an early night.

  10. #10
    Member HuntAK59's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    527

    Default

    Then, we packed, and got everything together and had to say our goodbyes. L Like I said, we felt like we were part of the family, so I wanted a family picture! 132.jpg We had our last laughs, and I promised to be back as soon as I could. And we left Noorvik 136.jpg
    Overall, the experience in itself was worth the trip. Seeing how the Eskimo villages thrive, meeting amazing people, and having one of the most memorable weeks ever. It was a heck of a learning experience, and gratifying to see the hunter-gatherer lifestyles that still work today. I was sad to leave, but am sure Iíll be back, so no worries there. I was thrilled to have had the experience we did, met the people we did, and enjoyed every second of it.
    Like Jim shockey had said, seeing the culture is one of his favorite parts of his hunting life. I now understand what he means by that. Caribou was a plus to the whole trip, but not the greatest part. Just seeing how the Eskimoís live was great. Always seeing it on TV, or reading about it; you canít imagine it until you experience it.

  11. #11
    Member mod elan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Glennallen
    Posts
    1,476

    Default

    Cool. Good to hear of others enjoying tongue.

  12. #12
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks, Ak.
    Posts
    4,191

    Default

    Good write up. Glad you enjoyed the experience. Spent a fair amount of time on the upper Kobuk doing the same thing, more or less. It's a different world when you get to hunt with folks up there as part of the family.
    I sure miss it.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Wasilla, Ak
    Posts
    3,909

    Default

    Loved the You-tube video... You are truly a lucky guy getting to experience the other part of Alaska.

  14. #14
    Member akrstabout's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,293

    Default

    Good story, good account of how it went pretty much. Just awesome to be able to experience and see a different way of life, even in the same state!!

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    NorthWest Alaska
    Posts
    3,639

    Default

    Glad you liked being here, hopefully well get you 'round here for some serious snowgo riding and Wolves ~~LOL!!~~ Ya never know.

    OH, ya, they are my "Cousins in law" ~~LOL!!~~ and you can see how helping each other freely stacks up the Good Karma
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

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

  16. #16
    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,159

    Default

    Thanks for the insightful story HuntAK59 and strangerinastrangeland. It's a truly amazing way of life.

  17. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    80

    Default

    HuntAK59, great story and pictures! You had a fantastic opportunity to see a wonderful way of living.

    Strangerinastangeland, thank you for for showing us your experiences, and to feel like we are there, at least a little bit.

  18. #18
    Member Bighorse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Ketchikan, Alaska
    Posts
    2,032

    Default

    Yes! I enjoyed every ounce of that experience. I went out yesterday and took a small buck with my subsistence permit here in SE. I was "making meat" at stranger puts it. There is a point where hunting moves into the realm of lifestyle vs. style. Thanks for sharing that lifestyle with us. I hope your meats keep well and your girls continue to grow strong stranger.

  19. #19
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks, Ak.
    Posts
    4,191

    Default

    Stranger..........didn't these guys meet any beautiful Kobuk river women to fall in love with?
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  20. #20
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    4,670

    Default

    Man thats a great writeup thanks for taking the time to put it all together and share it with us!

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •