Goat (Hurricane) Hunt update.
Well gang, the round of beers will have to wait until possibly next week. Headed out late after work on Friday. Thank God I had the foresight to rent one of those Eagle River yurts on Friday night because I only made it 2 miles before it started to get dark. During the night the winds picked up to 50-60mph gusts, and the rain was coming down in buckets. No way my Kelty would have stayed dry in that kind of storm. The yurt almost got blown away while I was in it ! Next morning, I threw on the pack and headed for Icicle Creek. Almost there I ran into 2 wide-eyed hikers who expressed their concern about all the fresh bear tracks and scat on the trail. He said there was some griz scat a 1/2 mile down the trail that was still steaming. He said that the front foot of the griz track was 9" wide ! They were more than happy to make it out of there.
Mind you, as I entered to where I was gonna set up base camp, the winds were still blowing in around 40kts, and the rain was coming in sideways. I set up a quick camp, and head for Icicle Creek just a coupla hundred yards down the trail. The creek was impassable. It definitely was in flood stage. I headed for the base of the mountain on the left side of the canyon. I climbed about 500 feet looking for a place to get in above the falls. Couldn't find anything. Back down to a new rockslide..climbed that...nothing. Climbed a third slide...nothing. (Carnivore....you and I need to talk really bad and find out exactly that slide was). By this time, I was drenced all the way through. I couldn't even look up to see the other side of the canyon because the rain was blowing hard right into my eyes. THe winds were HORRIBLE ! Everything I stepped on was slippery. I was slipping all over the place. THe rocks, the roots, the logs, everything was extremely slippery to the point that I figured it would be safest for me to head down back to camp.Got to camp and decided that if I stayed overnight until Sunday, I wouldn't have much hunting time on Sunday. And even then, I figured Sunday would be more of the same. So, I decided to hand in my MAN CARD and pack up and head out of there. Good thing I did. The Eagle river crested so much that at least 1/2 the trail out of there was completely under water. I had to side hill it out of there for the most part. I even slipped into the river at one point. Crunched the knee. Fell on many roots and rocks along the trail with everything being so wet. I did see one monster billy about 500 yards away on the opposite canyon with absolutely no access. Even if he did fall to the valley floor, there was no way of getting him with the river being so high.
So looks like my next chance at buying you guys a round of beer will be this weekend.
Sorry guys, I hope you're still thirsty next week.
I was thinking of you Friday night and Saturday morning, Johnny. My wife made a remark about how nasty it was out, so I told her about you being just up the valley from us where I'm sure it was even worse. Glad to hear that you had the yurt that first night and that you had the sense to get out of there yesterday instead of inviting more punishment on yourself. It turned out to be an OK day today, but a decision made in the interest of safety is always the right one. That billy will be there next week. Go get him then!
Matt, an answer to your yurt inquiry...
Even with the best planning and gear, mother nature still holds a trump card on most any outdoor endeavor, especially in the mountains of Alaska. These are the occasions that challenge us mentally, physically, and emotionally at the time, but that make the best campfire stories in the future...
Sorry to hear that you had no success. Hang in there, you still have a month. I'm telling ya', spend a bit more time finding your way up in there. There is a route that is pretty easy. Hint, don't head straight up to the canyon. You aren't near the creek where you work your way up in there. I've killed goats on both sides of the creek. It can be done, just be persistent. As for all of the bear sign, that is just par for the course and makes hunting there that much more interesting and fun.
Good luck if you get out there again
Good decision on backing out!
Gotta give in for safety sake and I think I'd a done the same. My moose hunt was cancelled this weekend due to a nasty bug I picked up at school about midweek. I've got to say that it was a nasty one here and it sounds like you had it much worse! Use the comming days to revamp your plan in order to make an approach on that white-back you saw out there. Better weather will be mean a funner hunt and a more pleasant pack out!
Like you need more gear...
We have hiking crampons for the super-slick stuff. They're great for the snowfields and snotmoss in the blowing rain up high.
The difference between 'hiking' crampons and mountaineering crampons is mostly that the hiking models have toe-piks that go down, not forward. Can't climb an ice wall with 'em, but you're less likely to put 'em through the back of your own leg. I think they also attach more quickly and easily.
Good on you for knowing the limits to your hunt. Now go back and get a goat!