So five days ago or so we head back downriver, most of the leads had closed up and conditions much better, we cruise three miles down to the mouth of a side creek where I have a wolf/wolverine set and a marten set to put in. I pound the snowhook into the ice, the team is facing downriver, grab the trapping bag, and stomp off 30 feet into the woods to make the sets.
Dogs are whining, eager to go, I peek through the trees every once in while to make sure they are still there, while putting in the big critter set. Just about done, better peak out again, what...huh? W T F!? I run out there, fall through a bit of shelf ice, no team! No tracks continuing downriver, leader must have turned them all around, pulled the hook, I can see the tracks of the dangling hook in the snow. Aaaaarrrgggggh!
Nothing much to do, I finish up the set, carry the trapping bag with baits etc across the river and tromp homeward wondering if the hook is gonna catch on anything, like some drift we went right by, or if dogs are gonna get caught up and in a big fight, all kinds of things can happen. Cursing myself for not tying off the team.
It's -5, pretty warm really but blowing from the north. Way overdressed for walking really, have parka open, hat off, a mile and still no doggies, another mile and nada, which is where I snapped this pic:
Well good thing not much snow yet, was pretty easy walking. Another half mile and only a half mile from home and what's that up ahead?
That's a zoom shot, and it's right where there is this tiny little gravel bar island between two channels. I get up there and here is what stopped them:
The grab bar of the hook caught on a frozen in rock, just barely. Team were all wagging tails, oh lookee here, what's up Dad, where'd ya go man <grin>. Nothing to do but pull hook and continue on home, the day was mostly a bust.
Few days later, heading downriver again, breaking out more trail:
Going across some flats but they still are really rough. Have a few pole sets like this I still use:
Here's looking back downriver on the way back, 3pm:
Catching some marten, here's a nice dark male in one of the 120 sets I picked up yesterday:
And this is one of the flats I'm going overland on, looks like a lot more snow than there really is, you can see the rig is up on a tussock, painful going trying to stay on the rig and keep from wiping:
Been working on a new pair of mitts, finished them a few days ago, funny that I have little fur left to use for my own uses after making hats and mitts for others, had to cobble these mitts together from various fur pieces, dog, wolf, beaver, and bear:
Need more snow to really be able to get to most of the lines, but going on the river is good. Did ice measurement for NOAA yesterday, 7" thick with five inches snow on top where I checked. Just a few open leads left. Not much sign other than marten out there so far, starting to see some ptarmigan on the willow bars, and plenty of vole sign too, matter of fact the dogs nearly got one that was out on the river the other day. And they are hearing more under the snow in places.
That's the latest from eastern interior, zero degrees and overcast here today.