to moose camp we went

A very fun trip. As usual, many stories were shared over many beers.

Me at first crossing

Me at first crossing

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.

Still me at first crossing

Still me at first crossing

Brown & Carm at second crossing

Brown & Carm at second crossing

F-I-L at second crossing

F-I-L at second crossing

Me at second crossing

Me at second crossing

TW landed on riverbed to BS

TW landed on riverbed to BS

His nice Piper PA-12 - at heart it's a three place Super Cub

His nice Piper PA-12 – at heart it’s a three place Super Cub

Me at the Narrows

Me at the Narrows

Brown & Carm crossing above the Narrows

Brown & Carm crossing above the Narrows

F-I-L thought he broke an axle

F-I-L thought he broke an axle

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.

Winching F-I-L up bank & out of river

Winching F-I-L up bank & out of river

After driving up river about a mile, the grinding sound disappeared. We all assumed a rock had caught somewhere, and finally fell out.

F-I-L's cabin

F-I-L’s cabin

I helped F-I-L jack up his cabin in four areas and place more cribbing under the main beams.

The frame for Dad's cook tent at his camp

The frame for Dad’s cook tent at his camp

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.

Rainy & misty flight out

Rainy & misty flight out

This crick is the highest salmon run on this river

This crick is as high as salmon run on this river

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.

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a relaxing, sunny hike

Another excellent hike up Mt. Baldy tonight with dog.

After my trip to Boston, I need to enjoy the great outdoors as much as possible. Those ant farms big cities are claustrophobic.

A whupped, yet happy, Piper

A whupped, yet happy, Piper

When my ex-girlfriend and daughters return home from Boston, I pray they’re craving the great outdoors too.

I plan to go flying tomorrow morning, provided fog isn’t lying around like this morning.

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first batch of 2014

The Raspberries are much darker red, or purpler, in person.

Our daughters will have homemade Raspberry jam again soon, as the next (and a much larger) crop will be ready in a few days.

sweet, sweet, sweet

sweet, sweet, sweet

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new tires

The hunting camp buggy gots new tires.

While it’s not a high-speed sporty rig like a Commander or Rhino, the 2″ lift kit and taller tires will cruise over most large rocks on the riverbed. The lugs will also help crawl thru the beaver swamps.

Zee Mule in front of father-in-laws house in Tok

Zee Mule in front of father-in-laws house in Tok

A couple more inches of ground clearance

A couple more inches of ground clearance

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fishin in jammies

Is it a cardinal rule that you must let your ex-girlfriend catch a fish before you? Regardless…I didn’t. But I did wait til 10:30 PM to catch it.

No Pike

No Pike

Nice Pike

Nice Pike

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risk

Every person and critter has a unique perspective of risk. I understand and live with both financial risk and health risk in my business. My bids need to match conditions of the construction project to make money – or my wallet thins. My crew & I lessen the potential of fuel or fuel vapors leaking when hot tapping an active jet fuel pipeline – or else. All my activities and hobbies are low risk – including flying our planes.

I am very glad other folks accept risks that I will not. Otherwise the grander luxuries, enriched life, and genuine art would be much less grand, enriching, or realistic.

While this National Geographic photographer was pursuing art and storytelling, he’s crossed way over my personal boundary of acceptable risk.

Photo swiped from Paul Nicklen's website: http://www.paulnicklen.com/

Photo swiped from Paul Nicklen’s website: http://www.paulnicklen.com/

Another photo from Paul Nicklen’s website.

Another photo from Paul Nicklen’s website.

The story he tells of the Leopard Seal mothering him is worth the time to watch.

http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_nicklen_tales_of_ice_bound_wonderlands#t-126155

For a different and more lucid explanation of risk, see CaveGirl MBA http://cavegirlmba.com/2013/11/22/the-mba-alphabet-r-like-risk/

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moose hunting area

Yesterday, a friend and I flew up Matanuska River valley up to Chickaloon River to check out his moose hunting area. We were blessed with calm winds and warm temps.

Flying out of the sun helped the Red Baron in WWI. As in WWI, keeping yourself between the sun and your (photography) target creates the best shots. A good photo is rare when taken into the sun through the cub’s windscreen.

Leaving Palmer and flying up Matanuska River valley

Leaving Palmer and flying up Matanuska River valley

Passing King Mountain

Passing King Mountain

Approaching Chickaloon River confluence with the Matanuska

Approaching Chickaloon River confluence with the Matanuska

Returning to Merrill Field over the Palmer Hay Flats and Wasilla horse properties

Returning to Merrill Field over the Palmer Hay Flats and Wasilla horse properties

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