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Thread: The Great Alaskan Adventure part 1

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default The Great Alaskan Adventure part 1

    First, I want to thank God for the experience and good fortune that I was able to experience with my daughter in the great state of Alaska. There is nothing that can compare to closeness that develops between a father and a now 15 year old daughter, who, by the way, turned 15 on this trip. You will have to forgive me if this goes too long but I hope that you enjoy this limited recreation of events that transpired but I can assure you that I donít possess the words to describe the beauty or the emotions that were experienced by us. Second, many thanks need to go to the members of Outdoors forum that made this trip possible and without their help the success would not have come to a reality.
    Our adventure began on 6/4/10 with a 6am fight from Jacksonville NC to Atlanta then a 1 Ĺ hour delay before the next leg to Portland. The next leg required switching from Delta to Alaskan airlines with an additional 1 Ĺ hour delay which really was welcome to allow the stretching of legs as well as the back. We arrived at 3:20 pm local time. The HORROR of every hunter began! We stood there watching the carousel continually spin to a point of being empty and none of our bags were there. Going to the help desk turned into a rise in the blood pressure that would have had me on medication, and Iím still not sure why they call it the help desk. They couldnít locate our bags and all I could be told was that they should be on the on the last flight of the evening that was something like 10pm. Oh, I forgot to share one tidbit of info that is every travelers nightmare. Alaskan airlines, as well as many others Iím sure, allowed a 350 lbs guy to buy only one ticket thus taking up not only his entire seat, but half of my poor daughters as well, who like a championed grinned and bared it. I really wish they would come up with a regulation requiring people to pass through something like the carry-on baggage rack, that you must fit in or buy an additional ticket.
    We had a little shopping to do for some last minute items at Sportmanís Warehouse. Besides, we donít have anything like that where I live and Iím like a kid in a candy store and can always find something that I canít live without. So having procured a few things it was off to my storage unit that I rented last year. I had crunched the numbers and it was way cheaper to get a temperature controlled unit than paying for the excess baggage and weight for every trip to Alaska. As we completed that I get the phone call tell me that they have 2 of our bags but the other 3 were still in airline limbo. I had a room reserved at the North Star Inn on Elmendorf AFB. Itís been a long day and we waited for 2 Ĺ hours for the bags to get to the room just after midnight.
    The next morning Iím informed the remaining bags will be on the 10:30am flight. I canít believe the issues, Alaskan is blaming Delta and Delta is blaming Alaskan for the foul ups. I learn that in the realm of flying that whoever is the last carrier that you fly with is the responsible party, just a small bit of info to future traveling hunters. Thank goodness, so with that good news it was off to Ihop for some pancakes. We get to the airport to retrieve the bags to learn that only 2 are there and 1 is still missing, luckily itís the fishing poles that wonít be needed till the second part of our trip. We need to get back to the storage unit to do some final sorting and make arrangements to meet 6XLeech and his daughter back at airport so we can drop off the rental car. On the way back to the airport, I get another call telling me that my fishing poles have arrived, Fantastic! We get there pick up the poles and I meet Dwight, aka 6XLeech, and his daughter Megan for the first time. This is a prime example of why itís a great idea to get to where you are going a day or two ahead of time. Between the 4 of us, our gear fills the back of his pickup and itís off to Homer. We made the decision to stop at Rabbit creek to make sure that all the rifles were still on a good zero. Everyone shot well and I would have to say any bear with in 200 yards has a good chance of ending up in the freezer. Getting more acquainted along the way and enjoying the scenery along the way time passes quickly and itís like old friends getting back together. We saw a couple of moose along the way and also take time to stop at Anchor Point to watch and see how a few fishermen are doing. We got into Homer about 7:30pm and stop by Homer Ocean Charters to say hi and check in with them and get our bearings. Itís back to check in to the hotel, ďA Fishermanís ResortĒ, that has great large spacious rooms. With hunger pains in our bellies we decide that a good meal is in order so dinner at the ďLands EndĒ, with waterfront dining that is 4 star and a million dollar view to boot. After dinner itís back to the room for organizing and get to bed at 11pm and alarms set for 6am.


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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default next day

    6/6/10 Ė I woke up at 5am with excitement in the air unable to get back to sleep I decide I might as well get an early start on loading up. There is a slight overcast and the air a little heavy from an earlier rain but the temperature feels good. We have to be at the office at 7:30 am for paperwork and getting our gear loaded on the boat. First impressions are that these folks have their stuff wired and itís not their first rodeo. We meet the captain Rick and the first mate Nick, yah, I knowÖwith their help we got loaded in short order and itís was off to the fuel station to get the boat topped off. The girls decide to share a state room and Dwight and I get our own private rooms with private heads. As we are getting underway Captain Rick gives us our orientation speech of the boat and what to expect from them and our trip. We were quite impressed with their philosophy and attitude. A small example is we were told that if at 3am someone was hunger, to wake him up without hesitation and food would be made to our request! We steam slowly enjoying the sights to a protective cove due to the winds picking up and the open ocean is at 13í seas.
    After a couple of hours we arrived at our anchor point Dwight and I head out with Nick in the skiff to scout for a couple of hours while the girls take a nap. We got back about 4 pm having seen a little bear sign along with approx. 20 eagles sitting at the entrance of a creek and multiple otters and seals both with pups in tow. We collect up the girls and headed back out for the evenings hunt with about a 20 minute skiff ride. Low tide was at 4 pm so we had a long walk across the tidal flats stopping once along the way for a rest. The plan was for Dwight and Megan to head to the left and cross a small creek and for Samantha and I to head to the right putting a half mile or more between the hunting parties. We slowly worked our way along the tree line stopping every so often, sitting for a while and glassing. At one point we came to a depression, a small wash that had some old blinds that we climbed down into putting our heads at ground level. After about 45 minutes, 8:45 pm or so, I spotted a bear that had snuck up on us out of the wood line at about 70 yards. With our heads at ground level and tall grass all around and me being a rookie black bear hunter, it was a little difficult to judge the bear but I was able to determine that it was alone. Whispering to Sam to take it, she took her time and squeezed off a round hitting home with her Savage 270 with 130 grain Speers that I had reloaded for her. The bear started spinning and biting and I shouted at Sam to put another round in the bear but she told me that she need help and could keep the bear in the cross hairs due to the grass and moving target. With a rapid shot I tried to anchor the bear but missed and it disappeared from our sight. The level of excitement was immeasurable!! Having waited 15 minutes which seemed like an eternity to Sam who wanted to make sure that her bear didnít get away, we went looking. We spotted it right off and discovered that it had only gone about 20 yards. One shot and one kill. My Daughter had taken her first bear and my chest felt like it was going to explode!!! You couldnít have slapped the grin off either of our faces with a dirty mop. The bear was a small bear and had I been a better judge of things and been able to see it a little better I might have told her to hold off but I felt that a small bear was better than no bear and success for her was more important than trophy hunting. That will come on our next adventure. We called the boat for pick up and were back to the boat in short order. We had dinner at 10:30 consisting of salad, green beans, grilled pork chops an inch thick. We got the bear hung and after getting things started, Samantha and Megan jumped right in skinning the bear while two approving fathers watched with immense satisfaction and pride. Itís not too often that you will find two teenage girls willing to tackle such a project. It was about 1 am that we finally hit the rack.


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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default day 2

    6/7/10 - There was no wind in the cove that the captain had parked us in and the water was like glass but I didnít sleep all that well and got up at 7 am. With everyone still in bed, I enjoyed the beauty of the morning over a cup of blueberry tea and reflecting on the previous days events. After everyone got up and had the breakfast of their choice we moved for a couple of hours and did some fishing. Everyone was catching rock fish of various sizes but I was determined to start fishing for my record book halibut. I didnít have any luck but did end up catching a rather large Irish Lord, what an ugly, mean looking thing. We had lunch consisting of brauts and soup, then time enough for a nap. While I was down someone had spotted a bear on the beach and Megan and her dad lit out after it. They got to within 389 yards before in was lost to the tree line. What an exciting thing to watch unfold from the sky box point of view. We spent the rest of the evening glassing for bears with no more to be had. At 11:30pm the captain parked us in the cove of some small village that looked like something out of a story book or post card that is a prime example of nostalgia.


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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default day 3

    6/8/10 Ė Woke up at 6:45 am and had some tea. A bunch of chatter came over the radio from a22 foot boat with 7 people on board that ran out of fuel. Our captain being a follower of the unwritten rule of the sea decides that he would lend a helping hand and put us on a course to intercept them. In short order he located them and sent over 15 gallons of fuel. It seems that no good deed goes undone and a short time later I spotted a nice size bear on the beach and suggested that Megan take another go at it. Her and her dad did the quick shuffle and went after it, with everyone on the main boat watching through binos. They hit the beach and stealthily closed the gap to 75 yards as the bear was cresting the ridge to the tree line. With the bear in the cross hairs, she slowly squeezed the trigger of her Benelli R1 270 only to hear it go click !!! The rifle had malfunctioned and the bear disappeared. The excitement continued for the next Ĺ mile or so as the bear played a game of hide and seek or cat and mouse if you prefer, along the ridgeline above the beach. With a Monday night armchair QB enthusiasm sitting on the bow of the boat, captain Rick and I shouted for Megan to shoot countless times unaware and oblivious to different angles and distances. Megan had handled herself extremely well choosing not to take risky shots and showed great sportsmanship in her actions and attitude. She had been well taught by her father and it showed even in the aftermath of two stalks gone awry and definitely something to be proud of!!
    We continued to watch for bears as we slowly traveled to our next fishing hole. Dwight broke the ice and caught the first halibut. The girls werenít quite ready to fish and I was having a hard time catching on. Samantha caught her first halibut, man she loves this life. I finally broke the ice and caught about a 43 pounder, what fun! Dwight landed his second nice one of the day and was done. I was still trying to figure out the biting habits of these giant flounder when the girlfriend of the first mate, who by the way had never really had a pole in her hands before, had her pole about bend to the water. I had to help her hold the rod and Iím facing her thinking to myself that she needs to help hold this rod when the color of the fish showed up and I hear everyone oooing and aaahing. When all is said and done we have a 130 pounder on board that is as tall as my daughter and weighs more. Next we move to another secluded bay and make plans for the evening hunt. Dwight and Megan head out first to a cove on the left and then when Rick gets back with the skiff I headed off to the cove on the right. I am instantly in awe as to the beauty of the area. The whole area looked promising. I was able to watch most of it, so I would sit for about 45 minutes and then get up and walk around a point and glass and watch the rest of the cove for about 15 minutes. On the third trip back to my original spot a 105 yards away lying down eating grass is a bear. I got into position using my pack as a rest and tried to evaluate the quality of the bear. He got up and I made the decision that he was a decent animal with a good hide and decided to take him. Iíll admit that I had too much gun for the situation, a 338 cal. with a 225 grain Barnes TSX but itís what I had from last years moose hunt. It was a perfect shot spinning him around and he never moved again and no meat was lost. I thanked God for his gift of such a fine animal and made the call for pick up at about 8:40 pm. I might make note here that communication was only used for safety and pickup calls and was not used in the taking or locating of any game. My daughter rode with Rick to come pick me up and I only had to move the bear about 5 yards to load in the raft, talk about the easiest transportation of getting game out of the field ever! We got back to the boat and started the skinning process with my daughters help. Megan and Dwight returned not having any luck that evening. We had a great dinner of noodles and chicken and ended up in the rack at 12:30 am.


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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default day 3

    more pics


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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default day 3

    more pics


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    Default day 4

    6/9/10 Ė I got up a little early with the crew but was moving a little slow and had some cereal for breakfast and it was off to a fishing hole. The wind had picked up and the seas were no longer the calm blanket of beauty. It wasnít really all that bad but poor Samantha got sea sick. The fishing wasnít the greatest and again I was having trouble hooking halibut. Dwight on the other hand landed 2 nice ones in short order and retired to the cabin while I struggled. After a while we headed back to a nice bay where the waters were calm making Sam much happier. Samantha and I watched movies while waiting to hear the crack of a rifle ring through the mountains but unfortunately it never came and they returned at 11:00 pm having not seen anything. Dinner was rice, salad and fresh halibut. They made the comment about not planning on losing any weight on this trip and they meant it.


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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default day 5

    6/10/10 Ė Itís Thursday morning and the weather is cool but it warmed up to 60 degrees. The wind had brought the seas up to about 4í swells so I gave Sam a pill so we didnít have a repeat of the previous day illness and she slept for most of the morning. The current was moving pretty fast and were using 2 pound weights and skipping them along the bottom. I had figured out these giant flounder and started catching them left and right to the point of getting tired. Most were smaller so back into the deep blue sea they went. I did manage to find a 31 pounder to add to the freezer. With Sam, Dwight and Megan a little green under the gills and predictions for seas to continue to grow the captain decided that it might be a good idea to pull into Seldovia for a little bit and let everyone stretch their legs. What a beautiful little village. The only way to get there, as with many of Alaskaís towns or villages, is by boat or plane and were youíll pay a little over $7.00 for a gallon of milk. The village has the look and feel of a mix between local culture and an old Russian settlement complete with the turn of the century Russian Orthodox church on top of the hill. Upon returning to the boat a discussion is conduct as to what the weather is going to bring and we decide that the best course of action is to high tail it back to Homer and hunt the local coves. Dwight and Megan got dropped off and we went back to port for a burger at one of the local shops on the spit. For those of you not familiar with Homer ďThe SpitĒ is a term used to describe a piece of land that is very narrow and juts out into the bay for a mile or so. Captain Rick gave Samantha and I the grand tour of Homer to include running up the hill to a breath taking view of the sound. Good fortune continued to elude Dwight and Megan and they returned without see anything but it sure wasnít for a lack of trying or effort!!


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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default Day 6

    6/11/10 Ė With the weather coming in harder the decision was made to just skip the morning hunt and try to get on the road a little early. It ended up taking longer to get organized than we had planned. We had to wait on the taxidermist to get the bears sealed and I made the mistake of promising Samantha a rug back in North Carolina if she got a bear. I tried to suggest that a shoulder mount might be nicer due to the fact the bear was smaller in size but she wasnít having any of that. I think that we ended up on the road heading back to Anchorage about noon. The drive back was uneventful although Sam did win our moose counting contest having guessed 3. We stopped at Indian Valley Meats to have the fish and the bear processed for pick up on the 21st of the month. Dwight had been kind enough to offer put us up for the night and his gracious wife fixed some king salmon for dinner that was fabulous! After a wonderful breakfast it was off to pick up the camper for the second part of our adventure.
    Many have heard of hunting partner nightmares and itís always a gamble taking on a new one. Some may remember my advertising this trip on the forum and looking for others to join us to maintain a family atmosphere that was void of an environment not suitable for a young girl. 6XLeech had answered the call and was a true blessing. In the planning stages, communication, I believe was one of the main keys to our success. Over many e-mail and several phone calls we grew to a comfort level that was very positive and along with Dwightís research and attention to detail made sure that success of the adventure was inevitable. His daughter and Samantha hit it off like old school buddies to the point that when it was time to continue our adventure Samantha want to stay longer as to spend more time with Megan. Two teenage girls locked up in close quarters for several days can be adventure in itself. Neither one of the girls ever complained once about anything, and both conducted themselves better and safer than many experienced hunter I have seen. I mean it when I say, that without reservation, I wouldnít think twice about hunting with either of them ever. Oh that does include Dwight as well. He is a true sportsman and a pleasure to be around and a man to emulate. A man could count himself lucky to have him as a friend.
    This concludes part one of our adventure and I will post part 2 in the fishing section when my hands stop hurting. I hope that you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed sharing it.

    Semper Fi and God Bless.


  10. #10
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default extra pics



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    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Sounds like you guys had a ball.

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    Member junkak's Avatar
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    Great story. Thanks for taking the time to write it out.

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    tboehm,
    Awesome adventure. You are a lucky and blessed man.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Great story, pics and family outing. Semper Fi
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Default Nice Post and Pics Too

    Wow, Good Job Dad,
    Thanks for all the pics, what an area to hunt in, eh? My son and I were in the same area and I think spotted you guys leaving a cove one morning, We also were just stunned by the beauty of that country.

    Congrats to your girl on her "Just Right" Bear. Must have been awesome to be right there with her on that day.

    Nice Fish also, Really cool that the Alaskans took care of you guys so well

    Yep, We also agree, God was Pouring Down Blessing during those days out there!
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  16. #16
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Great account! Sounds like you had some great "Daddy/Daughter" time. Next time, perhaps you will eat a bit better. Well done, Dad.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

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    Great job Dad, enjoyed reading about your Alaskan adventure.

    Steve

  18. #18

    Default Awesome!!

    Great father/daughter story! Having four daughters myself, I really related to that! Thanks for sharing!

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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Great story, great pics, great comments!
    Its refreshing to read a story that's not about trophies, it's about the adventure and friendship - you did very well describing both!
    Congrats to you and your daughter!
    Thanks for taking the time to share!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

  20. #20
    Member Marc Taylor's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Congratulations on a great trip, Tom! Glad things got better after we visited. Stop in again when you can and remember to keep that wonderful daughter away from Marines!

    Taylor

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