Well, I’ve seen the seasons come and go now. It’s certainly seems so soon to see fall here, nearing winter it seems. How did these past 4 1/2 months go by so fast? I’m finishing my Alaska trip by heading to Russian Mission and then up the Yukon River 18 miles via boat. The temperature at night has been in the 30’s. Althiugh, the cold is outweighed by the excitement of a once in a lifetime moose hunt! The scouting report has come back sounding pretty well. And it seems the fish and bear population is high, so I’ll continue to be on high alert. I won’t have cell service or Internet for the next 10 days, along with many other things such as bathrooms, showers, etc. but that’s a given… Camping in the Alaska bush during hunting season is a dream come true! I’ve found myself grinning at times, lost in the thought that I’m actually doing this! I’m like a little boy again, waiting for Christmas morning! My beard and hair has grown considerably since I first spent time with Corey and Laura on the bear hunt. I believe my knowledge and understanding of Alaska has grown even greater. Our hunt will be an interesting experience. The only food I’m bringing are the 21st century’s version of an MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) freeze dried food, light in weight and easy to prepare. We aren’t even taking a cooler on this trip. My pack is stuffed with warm clothes, a sleeping bag, some camping gear, my camo and my bow. The “bear” essentials 😉
I’m hoping the next post I make I’ll have pictures of several hundreds of pounds of all natural, organic, free range moose meat! There I go grinning again… I can’t explain how excited I am! This is the final test for me. I’ve been in the wilderness of Alaska for about 125 days now and what a way to end the Alaska journey. Living in the middle of no where, with no electronics, no chainsaw, no camp stove, no guns, (except Corey’s and his dad’s) living off MREs and bow hunting for moose?! Are you kidding? Here we go baby!! One of the best parts about it all… I won’t be alone… Hopefully 😉 I am prepared to sleep overnight in the bush with no shelter, praying I don’t have to use my emergency survival gear and my skills. Although, there is a part of me who wants to see if everything I’ve learned will keep me alive. I’m pretty confident at this point that I can handle “most” situations, not all I’m sure, but I know I’ve pushed myself farther than I’ve ever pushed myself before. Emotionally, physically and mentally.
Being Alaskan is tough, no doubt. It takes a unique person to “weather ” the weather here. If you don’t like the outdoors and extreme environments, Alaska’s not for you. I think there’s a certain breed of human that visits Alaska and decides not to return to the lower 48. Alaska is certainly vast and beautiful and it can be brutal at times. I’m still wondering how Alaskans deal with actual winter here? Rarely any sunlight and bitter cold? Doesn’t sound fun to me. Although, I’m sure if I wasn’t living in a tent in the woods, it wouldn’t seem as threatening. I suppose they’ve figured out how to be prepared for winter. You find ways to adapt to your environment I guess. It takes some stacking of wood, picking of wild berries, smoking of fish and some preparing of wild meat to get you in a decent place. All that is hard work. I think it’s called “The Alaskan “gem” (no, not gym) you don’t have to spend your money on a gym membership sweating with strangers, just live. You’ll see a 12-15 hour work day is very common, especially because it’s truly the land of the midnight sun. Long hard days call for physical strength. Injuries seem like a daily practice living in the wild. I’ve had an injury since 4th of July that hasn’t healed yet and my feet, hands, back and head have taken a beating. I’ve ached in places I didn’t know I could ache. And when it comes to the decision of “wanting to” or “not wanting to” go to the gym… There’s no option. You “HAVE” to. Or you starve, you freeze or you die. Sleep seems like one of the most valuable pieces of life. I’ve spent at least 75 nights sleeping on the ground. Just the thought of a bed, with clean sheets and warm blankets takes me to a happy place. I’ll never look at my time in bed, under a roof, the same again. I’ve lost 15 pounds since I left and I think it’s partially due to shivering all night trying to stay warm. I’m not complaining at all. I’m so thankful for this experience. I’m a changed man for sure!
It’s difficult to explain how this Alaska experience has shaped me. It’s one of those things you have to experience for yourself. I honestly wish everyone could get a taste. There’s nothing like being in nature surrounded by nothing man made. Connected to Mother Nature and all her simple beauties. The smells of the trees and wild flowers,the sights of flourishing ground cover and vast treeless mountains, the sounds of birds or a crackling fire and the chill of an early morning sunrise. The taste of real glacier water, fresh salmon and Halibut, moose, caribou and bear, wild berries and clean air. These are the priceless luxuries the outdoors offer you … for free. Get out there and enjoy it! It was given to us to use. There’s nothing quite like it. Being in our “natural” environment connected to something much bigger than the Internet.
Much love to you all! Here’s to another great adventure!
I’ll see you a little farther up the creek!