I took my 10 year old daughter up to the Denali Highway for some camping
and bear hunting a few days ago and we had a very exciting time.
By the end of the first we day had seen 12 moose and some small game.
Nothing else. When we returned to my truck I found that I had a flat
tire. I decided to wait until morning to change the tire and evaluate
whether we stay or not. When I got up and changed the tire, my spare
(original 8 yr old tire) was a bit low and I decided to try to limp it
back to Cantwell with as much air as I could put in it with my little
ATV pump. On the way back I pulled into The Gracious House at mile 82
and Butch took great care of us. He could have easily taken advantage of
my lack of planning out in the middle of nowhere, but he didn't. He
fixed my tire and aired my spare for a cost I doubt I could have found
in Los Anchorage. With my faith renewed in my ability to get home, I
asked my daughter what she wanted to do, and to my surprise and delight,
she wanted to finish our trip. So we headed back to camp and unloaded
the ATV and went back to hunting.
We put another 15 miles on the trails and hiked to the top of a mountain
to look for caribou sheds. By 9 p.m. we returned to camp with no sheds,
but we saw 5 caribou for the day, and not a single moose!
As the day was winding down, I set up the tent and we were getting ready
for bed. I was brushing my teeth and walking toward my truck after
looking for the object that had flattened my tire. My daughter was
walking toward the other side of the truck after emptying her bladder
when a cow moose came trotting towards camp not 30 ft from where my
daughter had just been. The cows head was raised high, eyes as big as
saucers, and I think you could have fit a softball in her nostrils. She
had a calf in tow and she was the definition of aggitated. I told my
daughter to get in the truck and I pulled my pistol and that's when I
saw the blonde fur trailing along behind the moose. I started for my
back seat to get my rifle and the griz stood up in the bushes and looked
at us. It dropped back down, trotted back in the direction it had come
from and stood again. I raised my gun with adrenaline pumping and the
scope cover was still on. The bear started running again and after I
removed my blinder, brought my gun to my shoulder and bleated, it
stopped and stood again and Barnes Triple Shock did fly.
By now my daughter is standing on top of my truck as wide eyed as that
mother moose, smiling and clapping.
As you can see, my fist grizzly bear is by no means a record. Fur and
Feathers said it's likely a 2 year old, maybe 3. But the hide is
incredible and the event that unfolded right in front of my daughters
eyes was an experience that she and I will never forget. Most nights I
go to sleep dreaming about successful hunts as I'm sure many hunters do,
but I could not have asked for a better hunt to share with my child
(Well, maybe a 9 footer).