Shphtr and I just got back a couple days ago from our Wrangell sheep adventure. I'm currently writing this from billeting at Eielson AFB. I head back to Little Rock AFB tomorrow. After all the trouble I had getting a partner, I was truly blessed to be able to go with Shphtr. His knowledge and experience proved invaluable, and his stories definitely helped pass the weather days (of which there were several).
Anyway, still no luck getting me a ram, but it was a good hunt. Here are some details. No pictures yet because my wife didn't trust me with the digital camera. Had to use that old thing called film...
We flew into Blue Lake on 9 Aug. and hiked south in the rain through Cooper Pass. Made it to the top of the pass and set up camp for the night and to wait out the rain. Next day I set off alone to check a few areas while Shphtr held down the fort. Didn't see any sheep in the areas I checked, but got back to camp and there were 4 half to 3/4 curl rams hanging out above camp. Try as I might I couldn't make them grow, but it was good to see rams.
Next day was a weather day. We were out of the tent for a total of maybe 3 or 4 hours. That night it snowed about 4 inches.
Following morning was foggy, but cleared and snow melted by around 11. We were glassing a 3/4 curl ram when I noticed a really pretty griz coming up the valley at a trot. We watched as the bear ran straight up the mtn at the ram (and 3 others hiding behind rocks). The bear got within 20' or so of the rams and went on the offensive. Couldn't have missed by much, but the rams took off. At this point we expected the bear to come down (and into rifle range), but he took off after the rams again! They got away again, so the bear laid down for a nap. We planned to wait until he woke up and came back down, and then ambush him at the bottom. But when he finally woke up, he went over the mountain, never to be seen again.
Our next action came a few days later when we decided to check out another drainage. Got up early and made the trek down there. Noticed 5 rams up on the ridge above us, one of which was really wide and massive and worth a closer look. So after a painful hour straight up, we got a quick look. Still couldn't tell for sure if he was legal (my best guess was he was a big 7/8 curl), but I headed up after him just in case. Got to the top and got within 50 yards of his 4 pals, but Mr. Big was nowhere to be seen. After checking high and low, left and right I figured he must have slipped over into the really steep rocky stuff where I dared not follow. Skunked again!
After that we decided to head back down to the lake and hunt from there. Met up with two other guys camped there as well who hadn't had any luck either, but found a nice set of drops. I did see one other 3/4 curl ram about 2 miles and 3 ridges away, but no other rams.
After that, no more ram or bear sightings, and some crazy weather including hail. Flew back to Glenallen on the 18th, only to realize I lost the truck key out in the bush Well, Jim stuck around long enough to get that mess straightened out with a local locksmith, and made it back to Fairbanks that evening to a shower, shave and much needed steak and beer.
So overall, a good hunt. Victories: great scenery, great partner, no major injuries, in and out on time, learned a lot, saw a lot of sheep and a bear. Failures: no ram!!!
So until next time...