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Thread: 2012 in review -or- "What tan? I'm mildewing!!!"

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    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
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    Default 2012 in review -or- "What tan? I'm mildewing!!!"

    Okay, I've been procrastinating on this all Winter. But now the days are getting longer, the snow is melting, and the rivers are soon gonna be calling, so why not reallllly get the Cabin Fever flaring up with some fishing/camping/flying/rafting porn?

    As everyone who hasn't been living under a rock knows, the 2012 Season began cold and sunny, got cold and wet, and ended cold and drenched. In a Lifetime spent up here, I've never seen a Summer (?) quite like it, and hope never to see another.

    As Spring arrived, SOMEone made it quite clear that the Winter toys needed to be put away in place of the Summer ones...



    The season kicked off for me on opening week on the Kenai with my Daughter and a few friends...First stop, gas and grub..




    I'm pretty sure it was the warmest week of the whole season.....And that was the 2nd-3rd week of June!! Sockeye where caught, campfires where shared, and a great time was had by all.



    By the end of the week the rain and cold that marked 2012 had begun, but the message of "It's time to go home" was most certainly NOT well received....

    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    By Summer Solstice I was in the field, with the first guided trip of the season. Goodnews River was at a decent flow, but I've never seen a Solstice at sea level that required every layer of clothing I owned being worn the entire week. Let alone having SNOW along the rivers edge on the longest day of the year!!



    However, the temps didn't really have a detrimental effect on the fishing as far as I could tell...









    And the campsites, as always, didn't suck either.




    After Goodnews, it was off to King Salmon and some Katmai floats....
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    The Alagnak seldom disappoints, and even with water levels nearing flood stage, we had a grand time fishing for sockeye and kings, as well as the resident rainbow trout.

    Of course, as with any float in Alaska, there are going to be Camp Guests that you simply have to tolerate...



    Whether you want to, or not -grin-....



    Overall the floats out there went well, and as July wore on we actually had some decent weather...for a few minutes at least...



    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    The last Katmai float was on Morraine Creek, and was a strictly Bear Viewing gig....

    Luckily, the bears cooperated....








    ...And then....

    As August approached...


    ....The Weather... Began....To....Change.......


    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    As August wore on the trips became a strategic and logistical game of, move when you can, hold where you have to, and keep things safe....But still have fun.

    I'm telling you right now...It was a SPORTY Fall in Western AK!

    But through it all, there where plenty of smiles, lots of fish, memories to last a lifetime....


    And a LOT of clothes drying lines strung up in the tents!!






    A SUNNY DAY!!!!!





    Yep...It is.....

    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    That one pic looks like you guys camped at Crosswinds on Moraine.....or are my eyes deceiving me. Either way that place can get naaaaasty even on a good year.

    Nice pics, don't often see that many of Dollies, was that last float the Togiak?

    And "strictly a bear viewing gig".........on Moraine Cr.?........c'mon now.

    Thanks for the writeups and pics.

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    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
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    Default And...Then....Came...September...

    As most of us who live here know, there was a train of storms that rolled through Alaska beginning in Sept.

    Many here experienced firsthand, or know friends, or read stories about fast rising waters, and extreme conditions. We where in the field throughout those storms, and part of why I haven't posted this review yet is because I KNOW that there are many armchair quarterbacks on these boards who love to do nothing more than pick apart how "they" woulda done this, or that...

    ...Well, I'll simply state that I have grown up here, and have seen some pretty gnarly weather events in my lifetime...None of which in recent memory are comparable to what hit this State last Fall.

    We where, once again, on the Goodnews when the largest of these storms hit. And I witnessed other rafting groups being hauled out of the field by lodge boats, air taxis, and saw a few Coast Guard choppers working the drainage as well. I found a number of washed out and abandoned camps, spoke to some folks who simply stayed in their rafts for DAYS until they got to the haul out, due to the inability to find dry ground to camp on.

    And yes, we got hit hard to.



    For those that don't know, if you see this:



    The Sh*t is about to hit the fan.

    I snapped that shot as the guests "oohed" and "ahhhed" over how "cool" it looked....
    Although they weren't aware of it, I knew that the amount of water vapor required for a sundog that large meant a monster storm was bearing down.....And given the streaks in the vapor, it was hauling arse right at us.....

    The Goodnews, on the area we where in that day, is not known for it's highbanks. After witnessing that sundog, I knew we'd be lucky to not get washed out of whatever camp we chose that evening. As such I pushed further than usual in an attempt to at least mitigate the coming carnage by being as high and as far off the edge of the river as we could realistically get.

    I had a place in mind, and we got there about an hour before dark. It's off the main channel, sits about 3'-4' above the river (high ground for that area), and allowed us to set up camp 200' from the rivers edge. By now the rain had been coming down in sheets since noon, the wind was steadily rising (the same wind would later hit Anchorage and cause widespread damage and massive power outages. As well as cause major flooding in Seward, Willow, and other communities), as was the river.

    It didn't take much to realize that we where in for it.

    After camp was up, and the rafts had been hauled over to the tents, tied off TO the tents, as well as staking down the stern tie up lines. We set up watches among the guides, drove a water gauging stick at the waterline, and prepared as best we could for the potential of getting flooded out by morning.

    At about midnight it was obvious that things where not going to be comfortable for much longer. The gauge was underwater, the river was 20' from the tents, and the wind was shrieking. No one was sleeping through these conditions, and all where aware that we where going to get wet. The nearest alternative was a landmark known as Red Bluff, approximately 1/2 a day downriver, and that would be our destination come daylight.

    At 2 a.m. it began.

    All I can say is, Arctic Oven will forever have my business. The tents NEVER failed. Period.


    Even when daylight showed us this.





    We struck camp, loaded the remaining gear into the rafts, and headed for Red Bluff. As we floated we watched trees rolling downriver, and what is normally a small meandering stream took on the look of the Yukon. It wasn't until days later, on the flight out that I saw how extensively the flooding had affected the drainage, but from the air there wasn't a patch of dry ground to be seen.

    Through it all the clients remained in good spirits, and the "Man I can't WAIT to tell this story" line was repeated about every 15 minutes. We made Red Bluff by lunch, hauled everything up 50' onto the tundra, and.....The f**king sun came out...For about 5 minutes anyway. Over the next day we watched the river eat away at the surrounding countryside, had a few lodge guides stop by in their jetboats and state that we where the ONLY group they where aware of that hadn't called for an evac, and basically just dried out gear, ate, and fished for silvers in the sloughs above camp.

    We made it out on our scheduled pick-up time and day, and flew into Dillingham where we began to hear about how things where going for everyone else in the State. All in all, not a bad trip. The clients where safe, happy, and have already committed for a return trip. Alaska Tent and Tarp loved the pictures, as well as my suggestion that maybe waterproof zippers might be in order (in that photo the interior of the tent is dry, save for maybe 2" of water that came in through the zippers), and I've been once again reminded that Alaska will forever keep you on your toes....And may very well require you to grow webbing between them as well.

    I know I'll likely catch some grief over that photo, and honestly, I could care a less. I know what happened, it was unavoidable, and it was overcome with not damage, injury, or bad attitudes. That's a win, in any emergency situation.

    Here's to a drier 2013, and a warmer Summer Solstice.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    It appears that you made the most of the crummy weather. How is that "stranger" doing? Here's to a better, weather season.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch It View Post
    That one pic looks like you guys camped at Crosswinds on Moraine.....or are my eyes deceiving me. Either way that place can get naaaaasty even on a good year.

    Nice pics, don't often see that many of Dollies, was that last float the Togiak?

    And "strictly a bear viewing gig".........on Moraine Cr.?........c'mon now.

    Thanks for the writeups and pics.
    Close Man...Spectacle, up on top.

    Didn't get any Togiak trips last year, that was Goodnews.

    Hey, the Guests where viewing bears from the safety of a fence....Don't mean the guides didn't take turns testing the waters....
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    Quote Originally Posted by spoiled one View Post
    It appears that you made the most of the crummy weather. How is that "stranger" doing? Here's to a better, weather season.
    He's doin' great. It was a blast running the rivers with him, as always.

    Amen on the better weather.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Great post Hippie, thanks.

    (+36F. and feeling like it wants to rain here this afternoon...)
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
    The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It
    #Resist

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    Great post and pictures! Thanks for sharing! I also learned something about the sun and vapors to be aware of! Appreciate that too!

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    Great share and read, thanks for posting.
    http://www.myfishingpictures.com/watermark.php?file=133776
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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Nice tent shot Hippie!!!
    Those sure were some powerful storms that rolled through in September.
    Seemed like every 3 or 4 days a new one came through.
    Luckily I was nice and dry in my tent trailer in Cooper Landing.
    During the worst of things movies were watched and rum and cokes were consumed.

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    Member kenaibow fan's Avatar
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    Love the pic of the pic of the sun dog, hard to actually get a gauge for how big it really was but it looks bigger then any one I can remember seeing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenaibow fan View Post
    Love the pic of the pic of the sun dog, hard to actually get a gauge for how big it really was but it looks bigger then any one I can remember seeing.
    I know man, I wish that there had been something in the photo for perspective. Suffice it to say I've never seen a sundog like that one. And I hope to never see one that large ever again.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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