Celebrating in Alaska

Well, I apologize for not posting in such a long time. My phone ended up taking a swim in the lake and I had no phone for at least 10 days. It has been some of the best times here in Alaska and without a phone I relied upon my friends to take and send pics. Still waiting for some… 

4 of my friends from growing up showed up to celebrate our friend Brandon Hoglunds life on Aug 20th. We had an amazing 5 days! Hiked to the Harding ice fields above Exit Glacier. We had so many laughs, I’ve never laughed so much in 5 days. One friend flew up early and while boating we found a picnic table floating so we figured out a way to drag it back to camp. It took several tries to figure out how to get it to ride and quite a bit of time motoring at such a slow pace. But, we added it to th camp and it’s been a great addition! We also added a couple signs to the island. Since I’d taken over the island and it still hadn’t been named, we figured an adequate name would be one to represent our friend “Hoggie”. So we named it Hoggie Island. We took several days burning the wood to make the signs and then we nailed them to the trees near camp. We had so many signs of Brandon’s presence that we had to leave some signs of him… We love him and miss him dearly. It’s been a year since he left us here on Earth and it’s still hard to imagine that he’s not coming back. He was with us though. His mom gave us a necklace with his ashes and we each took turns wearing him next to our heart. Here’s 2 of the many stories that proved he was with us… 

Hiking to the top of Exit glacier is no easy task. By the time you get about a half mile away and reach the emergency shelter, each step takes focus and energy from deep within. Resting often is a common thing. I happened to be wearing Hoggie at this point and when I was about 1/4 mile or more from the end something came over me. Instantly I had an urge to run. So I did. I ran like I hadn’t taken a step. It’s truly unexplainable. I ran and ran and people literally stepped out of the way. Hoggie being around my neck, reached the top first. Seemed fitting since he was a Marathon runner, not just any marathon runner. Completed the Boston marathon and had won more races than I even know. Running was his life and to find myself running, finishing the hike in full stride… Brought on a whole new dimension of emotions. There’s no question in my mind where the energy came from, the desire to push myself beyond what I thought I was capable of doing… That’s Hoggie. “Nothing’s impossible.”

The next story took us by surprise. So, I lost my phone right… I keep an old iPhone with me for these purposes. So I figured I’d activate the old phone, but it wasn’t that easy being in the middle of no where. I took a couple friends to the Lodge at the other end of Lake where I could get wifi and Internet. As I turned my phone on… No kidding… My phone starts dialing “Brandon Hoglund.” For real! I show my 2 friends and we all just stare at each other in silence. So we go through my 2013 call log (which wasn’t much of a log) no missed calls, no incoming or outgoing calls from Brandon. Mostly all work calls. I wasn’t even in my phone app when it started calling. So… You be the judge. There were 2 other witnesses and we have no explanation other than… That’s the truth! 

As my childhood friends left, I picked up 2 of my college friends and their sons. One of the boys, Oliver, is my Godson. We’ve done a Godfather camping trip every year for the last few years, but missed last year due to my work/travel schedule. So we really made up for it this year. The boys learned how to fell trees, haul them on the boat and cut into smaller pieces and chopped. The boys learned how to use the hatchet to chop the pieces we chopped into smaller pieces and they literally chopped wood for 4 hours. They loved it! I guess you throw a boy into the woods without technology and they fall into their element. Being one with the outdoors… There’s nothing like it. The next day we went to the Russian river and after hiking a few miles in we found a stream full of bright red sokeye salmon! I actually caught two with my “bear” hands. Speaking of bear hands… As we were about to leave I was looking into the forest and to my surprise I see a large brown object running through the woods. “There’s a bear!” I yell as my friends think I’m playing a trick on them. And then another bear runs behind it, followed by the largest of the three, mama. The three bears run into the pooled up water below the falls where the fish are trying desperately to jump to the higher waters. I think the Cubs (almost fully grown) thought it was a game. They seemed to enjoy playing in the frigid water. Mom caught a fish and gave it to one of the Cubs, who took it to land to eat. The Bears were super close but they didn’t care about us, they had one thing on their mind… Fish. Although, I must say, they’re aren’t as good at catching fish as I thought. I might’ve out-fished them 😉 

I must say, what a way to end my 6 weeks on Hoggie island. The greatest friends I have in my life. Thank you to you all for making the trip and creating wonderful memories that will last a lifetime! I decided it was time to see family and be with my niece who’s experiencing some medical issues. I made the long drive home and once again surprised everyone! I fly back to AK on the 14th and will spend a few weeks with Corey Tolliver outside Bethel hunting moose! Looking forward to that trip! Thank you all for reading my posts. Here’s a few pictures for now. I’ll post more pics soon! 

See you a little farther up the creek! Say goodbye to my little little friend… Devlin On top of the world! 

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