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Thread: Visiting an old friend this fall

  1. #1
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Default Visiting an old friend this fall

    I know it's still winter but I'm getting anxious for September in a way I haven't for some time. I am long overdue a serious float trip and I've begun my planning. 2015 is the year I'm going back to a river I floated before (and it almost hurts to say) over 20 years ago. Although many of my memories are still vivid, I dug out my photo album from that trip and the images came flooding back. Such a beautiful river and country and I've wanted to go back ever since. I didn't take a bull then but had three chances at paddle bulls. I was with 3 non-res buddies and we agreed to a two moose limit. I wanted one of them to connect on a 50"+ and I chose to hold off until the last two days to give them first crack at any bigger bulls. Of course, we saw no moose the last two days. Our group took a wolf and a black bear and let several young caribou walk. We did see a 3 big bull moose but the wind was always wrong. I even saw my first wolverine as it came barreling out of a willow stand and shot by me at a sprint. It was a great trip. Anyway, I'm sure much has changed and it will be as if I'd never been there in the first place, which is great in its own way.

    This will be a species-of-opportunity hunt with the emphasis on moose and I'm recalling lessons learned for the '93 trip. Partner and I are both residents and I have significant river experience although I haven't been on the water in several years.
    1. Spend an extra day hunting at the put in--we floated out of great caribou country that first day
    2. Make camp well before dark
    3. Call before bed and again in the AM
    4. Linger later in the morning before breaking camp
    5. Call more while floating and LISTEN MORE i.e. talk less!
    6. The dutch oven is worth the weight premium. More campfire peach cobbler!
    7. Bring fishing gear this time
    8. A drift anchor for the lower river's upriver winds
    9. Waterproof the maps this time (Doh!)
    10. Slingshot for grouse
    11. 9 days total this time instead of 7 (2 extra days to linger at "The Spot")
    12. A shakedown trip or two (on the Chulitna, most likely) this summer with my partner who's an otherwise experienced Alaskan hunter but a rafting newb
    13. Take more pictures and take pictures EVERY DAY!!!

    I've got a reasonable quote from a reputable air taxi and bringing my boat is not a problem. I'm confident their rate is competitive, but will be shopping around anyway.

    Going to sell my old Jag and my Koffler sled and a bunch of other stuff to generate the funds to buy a new tricked out Jag (and maybe a PR-49). I've done too many trips in the past on a shoestring budget, and going cheap has almost always cost me one way or another. Not repeating that this time--starting the planning early, making lists, testing gear--doing this right.

    Barring a 100 year flood situation or some grievous injury, the trip is on. The only variables will be the weather on flying days.

    I'm rereading my Massey and Bartlett books and even giving Jetmar a perusal. Picked up a used copy of Strahan's compendium off of Amazon (tried buying it at the AOD store first) and look forward to reading that too.

    It feels good to be excited again.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  2. #2
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    I know what you mean. I go south for a public land elk hunt every year. Except for my family, I live for those 10 October days. Area isn't particularly successful, we connect with game occasionally but that's just a bonus.

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    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    Take an aluminum Dutch oven. Or better yet, both a 10" which will nest inside a 12". They are much lighter and easier to clean. You'll never miss cast iron on the river.

  4. #4

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    Hey brother, nostalgia is a mysterious experience. I hope you find it with your return. Hopefully the years has been kind to your destination in terms of moose and low human presence. If I could offer you two nuggets of wisdom:

    1. Try to avoid letting your last experience shape your expectations for the next experience. Undoubtedly they will differ wildly. I've gone back to visit nostalgic corridors hoping for the same level of spiritual reward. It rarely peaks at the same level twice in the same area at different times.

    2. Expect to see more groups than you did in '93. Hunt slower than everyone else that you encounter.

    Good luck, my friend. You must be proud to be this far in the planning.

    Larry

  5. #5
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Birdstrike--Thanks for the suggestion. I hadn't considered aluminum.

    Larry--I fully realize there are no secret rivers and never expect to have a place to myself.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  6. #6
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    I offered to do this exact same thing a couple of years ago with an old hunting partner. But he's moved on, and it was clear that whatever I wanted to recapture has long flown the coop. But I like your idea, and you really made me think about some things, just by the way you described the whole thing. If you should want or need anything I might be able to provide, by all means get in touch. There would of course be no charge. I don't think you need a hunt planner. But if you think I could be of use, don't hesitate. Heck, I probably even have some gear you could borrow if needed.

    I wish the best to you on this adventure. One way or another, you'll have some memories for those coming campfires and "remember when" sessions.

    Best of luck-

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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    Erik you have a long bunch of months of anticipation coming with a trip like this coming up, sounds great and I hope it's even better than you remember.

    But, now you've got me thinking about moose......curses.....

  8. #8
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Mike,
    Many thanks for the offer. I might need to pick your brain on an item or two.

    To follow up on Birdstrike's suggestion on an aluminum dutch oven...I was in SW today and checked them out. A bit pricey but WOW are they light. The 10" nested in the 12" weighs less (heft method) than my cast iron 10" oven. Going to bite the bullet and get a pair.

    Ritz cracker crusted grayling, baked grouse with wild berry compote, and (hopefully) neck-meat stew will be featured entree's this fall, and of course...peach cobbler.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    Yummy! I doubt you'll have any left overs. I just wash them in the river and place them back on the coals for a few minutes to bake them dry and kill any river water bacteria.

  10. #10
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    You had me at Cobbler...

    This is fresh Apples, dried cherries with Granola and brown sugar sprinkled on top.

    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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  11. #11
    Member alaskankid13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    You had me at Cobbler...

    This is fresh Apples, dried cherries with Granola and brown sugar sprinkled on top.

    You always open my eyes to the options available to cooking on the float!

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