A very fun trip. As usual, many stories were shared over many beers.
We drove to moose camp this July fifth – me to work at our new camp, father-in-law to lift and work on his cabin, and Brown & Carm to continue interior work on Brown’s new cabin.
I also wanted to bring our Kawaski Mule up there and leave it, so I can fly in and get up to the pass easier. The pass has the best probability of finding caribou. And my daughters love caribou steak over steak from moose or any other critter. I’m partial to the caribou pepper sticks from Delta Meats.
The trip is about 30 miles to the lake. With 20 of that in, or along the river, and 10 along the trail. Brown and I were both stuck in the mud once. The mud loaded up our tires and the driving tires just slipped. Just a short tug from the winch popped us out.
The river level wasn’t too high. Some of the river crossings seemed a little carved out and banks were definitely steeper. Maybe the river bed will smooth out as summer continues. A track hoe, loader, and deuce-n-a half drove up the river to their mine a week or so before us. So they had cleared trees and made a new trail around where the river carved into the trail. Definitely made a couple spots easier for us – or we would’ve had to fall trees and make new trail.
I heard early July is about the earliest driving in is practical. In mid-June the snow has not completely melted and trail is very soft. This is the earliest I’ve driven up the river. All other years I drive up at moose season, which used to start in August, now in September.
My F-I-L and several others drive up the river each July 4th weekend and spend a few weeks working on cabins or camps. It’s really their excuse to get away from it all. I’d join ‘em if’n I were retired.
There are several river crossings on this epic journey, I only photo’ed at few, and Brown shot a couple x’ings with his iPhone.
We all heard a grinding noise from his truck on his third attempt to climb out of the river, so he shut it down so we could winch him out, and prevent damage to his gears. We took the left rear axle out, and it was fine. So took the left rear axle out, and it was OK too. We could not locate the noise source, so F-I-L decided to drive slowly to his cabin, instead of leaving his truck on the river 12 miles away.
After driving up river about a mile, the grinding sound disappeared. We all assumed a rock had caught somewhere, and finally fell out.
I helped F-I-L jack up his cabin in four areas and place more cribbing under the main beams.
So much for the theory of porcupines not eating treated wood. The porkys do not eat the green pressure treated wood tho. Just the brown (painted?) treated wood.
I had to get up to Fairbanks on Friday 11th to watch my daughter’s figure skating competition. And without a working winch, I wasn’t sure I’d make it out the river in time – driving by myself, as F-I-L and Brown were staying another week.
So a friend/guide of my F-I-L’s flew up in his Super Cub, then flew me forty miles out to his house. I’m sure he hesitated before flying up the river to get me that morning, as the clouds were low and a steady rain was falling. It’s not so much that he doubted he’d make it up the river, but the worry, at least for me in these instances, is the clouds would drop lower and then be stuck up there for awhile.
I’m now planning my return trip to retrieve our deuce. Brown is thinking of making a weekend run up the river with a load of cabin materials. I’d like to ride with him up the river, help him unload, and then drive out when he leaves. Or pay someone to fly me up to the miner’s strip, and drive out.
And I have parts for my winch to ease that anxiety.
Good trip with fun folks.