After reading so many great stories I wanted to add something to this great site. I tried to keep it short, but that didn't seem to work out well. Hope you enjoy it. I know a few of you have been on this river before. Please keep the name to yourself even if you do recognize it.
This story begins as many Alaskan adventures do. It was fall of 2011 and the family was gathering for our annual Thanksgiving holiday at my parents house. The turkey was in the oven, sides were prepared, pies were baked, and we were outside shooting clays off the end of the driveway. During the last 4-5 years, my dad had decided that he wanted to try some sort of new adventure almost every year. He wasn’t getting any younger and wanted to spend time doing things he had thought about for a long time but never pursued.
One of the first big adventures was a trip to Alaska for a whirlwind fishing trip. We had flown to Homer and spent three days on a long range charter catching huge halibut, ling cod and tons of rock fish. I think we had just shy of 1,000lbs of fillet on the dock after that trip.
Next up was learning how to hunt elk. We headed up to Idaho to visit a cousin and spend our first season chasing these ghosts through the mountains. Maybe we were just lucky but we managed to fill 4 of the 5 tags we had. We were hooked on elk hunting!
Fast forward now a few years and here we are looking for another great adventure. We knew Alaska had great potential and we all loved hunting. So, it was a natural choice to decide that an Alaskan hunting trip sounded like a great idea.
I had spent a couple years on fishing boats in AK and was also really into boating rivers. I had dreamed of floating down one of Alaska’s beautiful rivers since I started boating in the mid 90’s. Hmmm, maybe I could combine a hunting trip with a river trip??
After a great meal and a few beers we started talking about this great Alaskan hunting adventure. But what were we going to hunt? Moose! Why not go after the largest big game animal in North America? We had been successful with elk, so why not a moose hunt? Maybe it was the beers, or the tequila, but that night we planned our trip, bagged our giant moose, and already had the antlers on the wall by the time we headed to bed.
In the morning, reality set in and we all were scratching our heads trying to come up with a plan on how to enact our dream hunt. I was elected lead planner and so began the real journey towards our great Alaskan adventure.
Over the next couple months I scoured the interwebs for every YouTube video, forum post, and magazine article I could find on hunting moose in Alaska. I was excited! But also very overwhelmed at the prospect of what it was going to take to plan a successful trip to the Great White North. Having spent some time up there I was aware of the difficulties in travel and logistics. So, I enlisted the help of a hunt planner, Mike Strahan. What a great choice this would soon prove to be!
Mike was a tremendous help and after many, many hours on the phone with him we had come up with a game plan. My Dad had decided that he wanted a chance at both moose and caribou. I wanted to do this hunt on a river. So, Mike helped us decide on a river that would fit our experience level and give us an opportunity at both animals.
I won’t bore you with the planning and logistics, but anyone who has planned, or attempted to plan a trip of this magnitude understands how much effort goes into a trip like this. Our family thought we were crazy! At the Thanksgiving table in 2012 I tried to explain to everyone that this really wasn’t that big of a deal, but all they heard was, Alaska, river with no guide, moose, bears, grizzly bears! “Are you really that crazy? What if you all die up there? Why don’t you go with a guide? Please, think this through!”
Well, we already had the trip planned, deposits were made and we were going moose hunting. Mom did request that we all make sure we had enough life insurance just in case we were eaten by a bear.
Time flew by and before we were truly ready it was time to get on the plane and fly north. I hadn’t been able to get all of gear sent up early so we had 8 checked bags between the three of us for the trip. Wish I would have taken some photos at the airport. And here is where the daily journal begins: