Hunting means a lot more than harvesting an animal. It means getting out, sleeping on the ground, seeing the country, no cell phone noise, and so on. So you go to seek out an animal but you see much more than that. I don’t hunt for trophies or see hunting that way. It’s food. It means not buying protein at the store. Straight from the land and I know where it comes from. Alaska provides enough for a person to essentially live a subsistence lifestyle.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge …Gail Norton, Secretary of Interior, called it, “a flat white nothingness;” Alaska Senator Ted Stevens described it as “empty… ugly…a barren…frozen wasteland.” As we glass for moose and caribou, a pack of ten wolves comes into view. Sitting behind the spotting scope in this photo I see them barking and playing off on the distant bluff. Yes, they are way out of photo range but still fun to watch this small pack with 4 pups. Just south of here on our first look we saw a large boar grizzly bear lumbering through the willows on a gravel bar of the Sagavanirktok River
This is a glimpse of the Dalton Hwy and pipeline along the Sag River. More photos of the road trip here.
Pump Station 3. This is one of eleven stations that move crude from Alaska’s North Slope 800 miles to the Port of Valdez. Read more about the pipeline here. Not a pretty picture but interesting to see the interface between industry and the tundra.
Here the pipeline arises out of the ground several miles from pump station three. We were scouting some bull caribou in this area.
If you saw the previous post you saw this muskox. We saw it daily on our trip about 100 yards off the road. These are the animals noted on our first day 10 wolves, 1 muskox, dozens of caribou, 3 cow and 1 bull moose, gyrafalcon,peregrine falcon, northern harriers, short-eared owls, American tree sparrow, redpolls, and ravens. That’s a pretty cool list. (Edit:I just remembered all the shrikes…I saw one pull on the tail feathers of a narrowly escaping tree sparrow.)
The third morning we spotted a bull moose early on. We watched him, tried to call him in, but finally settled in Luke sitting and watching near where we had last seen the bull. A goshawk hunted along side us the entire day.
I don’t hunt for trophies or see hunting that way. It’s food. It means not buying protein at the store. Straight from the land and I know where it comes from. Alaska provides enough for a person to essentially live a subsistence lifestyle.
I wish I had a picture of this moose while it was wandering around but we didn’t exactly want to blow the shot with a photo shoot. He was big boy. Lots of food for the three of us.
The next morning we went back to get the rest of the moose. We worked until midnight butchering and carrying one load out. The next day was clear and crisp. nicest day of the trip. Are you still here or was Luke’s glory shot enough?
The celebratory dinner. Fresh moose and red wine. What a fun day. BTW- our tent, the Arctic Oven, is a double walled tent with a small stove in it. Very comfy. Wimpy and not ashamed we are.
We slept in and packed up the next morning for the long drive home. The adventure didn’t end there.
….we saw this flock of sheep, all ewes and lambs, at the base of Atigun pass. You can see them also in a little movie I made.
Look out Montana, we got big sky country too!
This stretch of the hwy above is known as Beaver Slide. Only certain sections of the road are paved and the parts that are not are pretty greasy when it rains. The Slide is scary when its wet or icy. You can see the dust plumes from the trucks climbing the hill.
Here is another shot of the Yukon River bridge. Not sure why I needed to put a picture of a bridge in here but I can say the Yukon has a special place in my heart as I paddled its entire length about 15 years ago and have harvest many, many pounds of King Salmon from its waters. Delicious.
The mighty Yukon River.
This is about halfway between the Yukon and Fairbanks. Nice fall.
Making burger for the winter cache. No processed factory meat for me this year.
That about wraps it up. A great trip in every way. Wildlife, great weather, and good company. Now its back to the grind (work). Cheers and thanks for reading to the end.
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