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Thread: Haul Road Hunt Trip story and pics by Plentycoupe

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Haul Road Hunt Trip story and pics by Plentycoupe

    (Jason aka plentycoupe asked me to upload some pics and post this writeup he did for him, he is recently back from Afghanistan and still not up on the internet except his iphone.)

    My final trip to the North Slope….we'll see

    What a great trip I had last weekend [first week of May]. Since being back we are getting pretty busy with upcoming events and I think the rest of my weekends will be full. Knowing this I started pulling all of my gear together and piling it in the truck. After a couple failed attempts Thursday afternoon May 3rd around 1600 I was on the road and headed North.

    I had got an invite from Bushrat to come up and stay with him and Lori at Happy Valley so I planned to do that Friday. Thursday I would drive up past Coldfoot and spend the night in the truck.

    Man I love this drive it's beautiful breathtaking! I have been stuck looking at mountains that just are not that appealing for a while so getting out into this country again had my imagination running wild and my blood pumping fast. Had to stop and take a pic of the highway sign!


    At the Yukon the river was still covered with ice. Not for much longer though. Mark and Lori said that is was opened up and jammed by Circle.


    Well I saw a bear just before I got to Coldfoot and I can tell you what it sounds like to follow an irritated sow into the thick stuff. She made enough noise to send me packing back to the truck. Little difficult to see but she is there by the spruce just left of center.


    Fueled up in Coldfoot and continued on. I saw caribou from just outside of Coldfoot all the way to Ice Cut. Nothing you could sneak up on though. At one point the pipeline provided enough cover to keep me hidden long enough for a perfect MISS! Easy shot that was taken with my heart pounding in my ears and the excitement of a boy on his first hunt. Man I forgot how that felt! Purely awesome. No harm to the caribou though.

    That night the surrounding mountains were splashed with moonlight and it was as if the sun never set. What a sight. I could stay there forever taking in the views.




    The next morning I set out on a walk to see what the beginning of 5 miles feels like.


    A couple miles I could tell that I would not do the walk on my own. I envy those that do but this country is intimidating and I wasn’t about to go alone. I headed back then took this pic of two other hunters a couple hundred yards into their 5 miles. Even the photo looks intimidating. Not sure how they did but hope success was theirs.


    After this I was at Happy Valley and greeted by some very happy and very vocal sled dogs.


    Mark came out to greet me and sled some supplies and goodies back to the house.


    Was the first time we have seen each other in 5 years. Was a good site and a great time to sit with Lori and him and talk of all that has came and went this last 5 years. I brought a couple goodies for them as this was Marks 47th *grin* birthday. Hope that makes up for my other mishap! Hahaha.
    This is us with his birthday cake that Lori made. Very good!


    Us with an open lead there on the Sag in the background.


    Talked into the night and were fortunate enough to have some very tasty caribou steaks for dinner. Another musher had been by and donated a quarter to the Richards. Mark butchered part of it and I was in heaven! After a year of curry this and curry that a good old caribou steak was very hard to beat! Some good pasta to go with it and I was in heaven.


    Next morning the dogs woke me and there was a knock at the door. Jerod had shown up as he was up to look for bears and bou the same as I. We had a great breakfast put on by our good friends. Lots of conversation leaning into the wildlife politics and I did my best to quietly follow along. Hahahaha, I am not into it much at all but the conversations were great.

    Time for me to hit the road and move back south. I put on a few more stalks of caribou above the pass but they were not moving and it was very difficult to get close.

    I did manage to get this very far and very fleeting picture of a wolverine that crossed the road in front of me. Man was he moving and he never slowed down. Was very rewarding though as this I only the second I have seen in the state.


    Ptarmigan were everywhere!




    Back south of the pass I kept trying to get on the caribou and they kept beating me every time! The wind was a big obstacle as they were all moving North and the wind was blowing south.

    Here I am trying to look like a cool bowhunter! I had actually climbed a long way to get to this spot, only to blow another stalk.




    I got dinner going that night in the trusty jetboil and had my nice bottle of red wine to go with the caribou that I was sure I would be roasting…. Well it was good just the same. Wine and ramen…hehehe, hey why not!?


    Wish I could capture the colors of this giant piece of the mountain. It always amazes me when I drive up. Very beautiful.


    At Coldfoot again, grabbed some fuel and some food. Got to talking to the waitress and found out she had just arrived from Georgia, always wanting to see Alaska...that is when it hit me...I think this may be my last trip up here. At least for the next few years.

    Well that was a very depressing thought. As I drove south it weighed heavy on my mind, but I did not let it distract from the sheer power of the beauty of this place. I will never forget how awe inspiring it was to sit in that cabin in Happy Valley and look across at the massiveness of the North Slope. Pure white with snow and the shadows dancing out there where it looked like no shadows should be. Very rewarding it was.

    One pic on the way south.


    I called it quits I stopped at the old bear stand to hang my registration. Now its time to get up there and bait! I am very much looking forward to a bear steak and maybe some bear tacos. Of course I have to hit the range and practice a bit, slow the old heart down and focus on the spot! haha

    Since this was just a photo taking trip there were no bears or caribou harmed during the duration of my stay! Not from lack of trying though. Grin.

    I had a super time and look forward to the rest of my trips here in Sunny AK! I love this place and all it has to offer!!.

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    Great story, good luck on the bear

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Awesome story and photos and great to see forum members helping each other out and sharing a fire and fellowship.

    Congrats and good luck.

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Guys, if Jason (plentycoupe) manages to chime in here via his phone please send rep points his way...again I'm only posting his story and pics because he isn't set up to do it easily right now.

    And Jason, great story and pics, and good luck on a bear!

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    Mark and Jason, it was great meeting both of you guys as well. I kinda felt like we were leaving Jason out of the discussions a little bit when we got going on the political stuff. I enjoyed the company and the meal along the way. Hopefully the caribou cape will hold up well for you Mark.

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    Thanks for sharing.. I love alaska...

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    Boy, Jason congrats to a man who hunts for a lot more than killing something. Your appreciation of wildlife and the outdoors is really nice to see. Thanks for sharing the pics for those of us who cant be up there this time of year. What a great trip!
    “I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. “ Fred Bear

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    Hey Mark thanks for posting this for me. I had a great time up there. Sitting in that house and looking across the river was really amazing.
    One thing I learned on that trip was to never refuse the sweets when offered. Lori did all she could to send me out the door with all those cinniman roles and cookies but I just took a few. Man I had all those eaten by NOON!!!!! hahahahaha. Then I just kept thinking of the ones left on the plate!
    Thanks again all and no worries on the conversation Jerod. I enjoyed listening to the topics you two brought up.
    Best to all and have fun out there.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Good story and photos guys, thanks.

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Great story! Thanks for sharing it with all of us. Welcome home and I hope you have a good bear baiting season!

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Very envious, thanks for sharing!
    Semper Fi and God Bless

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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    A very good story for sure - it is easy to feel like one is with the poster when they truly enjoy the experience and it shined through on this one for sure!

    Mark, these are not your cabin shots I don't think, do you use two different places to live for diff reasons?
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey View Post

    Mark, these are not your cabin shots I don't think, do you use two different places to live for diff reasons?
    When it starts warming up.....he moves further north
    I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM2K7sV-K74

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    Member Matt83's Avatar
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    Jason, thanks for the great story and the great pictures you took. Alot of people dont realize that its just not all about the killing of animals when it comes to hunting, its so much more than that. Its about fellowship with like minded people, its about enjoying the beauty of nature, its about revering in all that God created for us, and I think your story proves that very well. I to am stationed in Alaska and am currently in the desert, I cannot wait to return and see all that beautiful state has to offer. I was only there for 2 months before I had to leave, I have 5 months left and I am already planning for awesome trips such as the one your posting about. Once again thanks for the great story, and good lock in all your future endeavours!

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    Mark, these are not your cabin shots I don't think, do you use two different places to live for diff reasons?
    Randy, you're right, not our cabin, we are currently at Happy Valley camp along the haul road and will be here all summer.

    Oh, I forgot to tell Jason, I really love that one pic with the shadow of the hunter with his bow, great shot!

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    Member pacific-23's Avatar
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    Great post! Love the pictures and the overall tone of the write up - don't have to shoot something to have a great trip. That country looks amazing I can't wait for August to get my first look! Thanks for sharing.

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    Good to see you getting back into the swing of things Jason. Life is good!
    An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it.
    - Jef Mallett

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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Thanks for your service, Jason. Enjoyed the pics. Is bushrat really that young?
    I'm sure a day with Mark and wife would entertain and educate any of us.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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    Sorry Mark will be gone after summer, I'll be spending time in that house this fall as usual. Very cool that you folks are helping out with the place all winter.

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