Hi everyone. I've been reading this forum for a couple of weeks, and am finally registered to post. I'm a hard-core outdoorsman from Minnesota who has been dreaming about coming to Alaska for 47 years. Well, things are lining up with work and kids and aging parents, etc., so it looks like I will get my chance this summer. I'll be coming up with my truck and camper in late May or early June, and will be staying through late August. I have about a bazillion questions and plan to be spending a lot of time on here gaining wisdom. Not sure the best way to go about this, but I'm guessing I'll post some questions in different areas where it applies and will see what happens.
The big three that I want to experience are hunting, fishing, and scenery. I'm a do-it-yourself guy on a budget (this will cost me 5 grand or more by the time I am done) - so I'm unable to hire guides, do fly-in trips, etc. I'm used to working hard to accomplish what I need to do. Please don't get the impression that I find a guide useless or too expensive, because I am one back here in Minnesota. I just really enjoy the challenge of figuring things out on my own - it's what I've always done.
For hunting, I'd like to try for a coastal black bear in June. I'll bring my bow and my rifle just in case close range becomes impossible. I was really thinking about spending a bunch of time on the Kenai Penninsula, but the more I read on here, the more I am getting the impression that the area becomes a zoo in summer. That is not what I am all about as I much prefer solitude.
Does a guy sort of "loose the crowd" if he heads down toward Valdez, Cordova, or Wrangell instead of going to Kenai, Seward and Homer?
I keep wondering about dragging up my boat (I have an 19 foot with a 115 Yamaha), or canoe (I have an 18 foot Wenonah in Kevlar). My primary purpose would be to access the ocean for bear, but also do some salmon, trout, and halibut fishing. I'm a fishing guide here in Minnesota, so I'm totally stoked to experience new things up there!
I'm wondering about the alaskan highway and what that will do to my boat and trailer? I'm not excited at the thought of dinging up my boat, flat tires, changing trailer bearings, etc. but willing to consider it if you all think it's worth it.
I'm an experienced wilderness canoeist, but I have little experience dealing with the tide, so I'm wondering about the usefulness of having a canoe? I read about people kayaking in the ocean all the time, so it makes me wonder, why not a canoe, if a guy does his best to pick good days (I realize that weather changes there rapidly. It does here too. I've been stranded on shore to wait storms out many times). I won't lie, I'm sort of dreaming about slipping along the shoreline on a calm day, trying to sneak up on a bear.
I'm also wondering if a guy can use the canoe to access some of the salmon streams to get away from the crowds in summer (if I have to combat fish, I won't fish). Realizing every year is probably different, in general, are there some places that are gentle enough to float with a canoe? I'm not afraid to scratch it up, but I don't need any holes! I also don't need to be flying by at mach 10!
During my stay, I've got a general plan of being from Valdez to Kodiak Island. I'd like to hunt a Caribou in August and it seems like the road system up by Fairbanks is probably my best option. I know, a lot of work to get away from the crowd, but I'm not your average guy. A lot of desire here...
IF i did hire a guide, it would be to hunt mountain goat. But I would be pretty happy to just hunt some sitka blacktail too.
Well, that's probably enough for now. I realize I've asked alot, but this gives you more of an idea of the big picture, and what I want to do. I appreciate any advice you guys can give, and thanks in advance for your helpfulness.