Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Pain of Loss

The Pain of Loss
Most of you who read my stories know that I am not a blogger for such as a blogger is.Instead I write stories about my life in Alaska. Not stories that I make up, but real life stories of every day adventures and the life that we live here in Alaska.Some folks question where I come up with this stuff and if I have checked out the sources.Well, there are no sources, just my life adventures. You can choose to believe my stories or not, that is certainly up to you.No, I can not spell very well and I can not type worth a snot, but I do manage to get the job done with these two fingers. This is one of those stories that I would just as soon not write, but it has hurt me and my friends next door very badly, and I guess I just need to try to blow off some steam to someone. You are it!
Today started at 02:30 AM.My friends next door have three of the greatest kids that I have ever known. I have watched them grow up and they have considered us to be old Grampa Bubba and Gramma Lin.The family have two carillian ?? bear dogs that they raised from puppies. One is Dolly and the other is Striker, her three year old pup.Those two dogs have chased the big brown bears out of our yards many times over the last few years.I have written old stories: Bad Boy Grizzly, Here We Go Again, etc. in old posts about the problems we have had with the brown bears.Our town has had many bear problems again this year. Three weeks ago the police had to kill a 1200 pound, 10 feet brown bear down town. Also, there is another giant bear ripping up stuff behind the hospital and knocking over fences, as we speak.The fact is, we have far too many bears here on the Kenai Peninsula. The local Fish&Game officials have failed miserably to control the bear population.I am in the process of going to war with those greenie officials to get them to reduce the population of bears before they kill or hurt anyone else.Our moose herds are almost wiped out due to wolves and those starving bears.This is the time of year that the salmon are gone from the Kenai River. The frosty nights have destroyed the remaining berry crops and the bears are out trying to find something to eat before they hibernate for the winter.This is the time the big brown bears come into our subdivision 4 miles up river from town.We live just across the road from the Kenai Wilderness Reserve, which is stocked full of those hungry bears.Since we live with the bears, we always try to keep our yards free of garbage or anything the bears might want to eat.I even have an electric fence at the bottom of my stairs to keep the bears off of my porch.Otherwise I will have big nose-smears on my sliding glass doors in my kitchen.Dealing with those bears is just one of the things we do if we are going to live in a wild place like this. We certainly don't have a grudge against those bears. Actually we kind of like to see them wandering around the yard once in a while.What I'm saying is we have learned to co-exist fairly well over the years.However, once in a while we do have bad experiences with them. Today was one of days to have a bad conflict with them.Early this morning two very large bears came up from the brushy river bottoms and entered my neighbors yard.The two dogs came out of the "doggy door" and made an attempt to herd them back out of the yard.These are the same two dogs that I watched stand between a cow moose with two little calves, and a brown bear who was trying to kill them.They fought the bear for hours until the moose left the safety of the yard. Then the bear killed the cow and one of the calves.These two dogs have done many very heroic deeds to protect the kids and the property from the bears.Today Dolly and Striker once again tried to protect the yard from the bears. I don't know what actually happened, but Striker never came back up the hill. It looked like they had cornered him in the heavy brush and killed him. Then they carried him off into the dense brush and probably ate him.I understand that my neighbor noticed that Dolly had been barking an aggressive bark, and then she began to bark like she was afraid. I'm sure she had watched the bears kill her pup, and carry him off into the brush.We looked for several hours in the brush until it was just too dangerous to proceed farther into the tangled willows.After we gave up searching, we returned to their house to find all three kids waiting to see if we had found Striker.When they saw that we did not have Striker, the look on their faces broke my heart.They had counted on us to bring him back and we had failed them.It was hard to tell them that Striker had died trying to protect them.It will take a long time for them to cope with the loss of their dog.I'm having a hard time of it myself.George"Bubba"Hunt, walking "The Wilderness Trail".

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Alaskan Pioneer

I stood on a ridge overlooking the Gakona River. Before me was the most beautiful valley I had ever seen.
It was September 18, 2011. The end of moose season was only a couple of days away.We had just spent three weeks camped out near Paxon Lake, in the vast interior of Alaska.
We harvested a nice caribou bull and had enough meat for our freezer.Most of the time we had spent picking blue berries, and catching arctic grayling from a small lake.The hills were covered in the ripe blue berries.Miles and miles of berries, and we picked a ton of the little tasty things. I have never eaten so many blue berry pancakes and muffins.
I am a lot smarter than most old smelly moose hunters, because I take my Owner(wife) on all of my mountain trips.She is a great cook who knows how to cook great camp meals and keep me in line.
The only problem with her is she has to wash her hair every other day and take a shower several times a week.I can't seem to make her understand that moose hunters never take baths or wash their hair. So far she refuses to hear any of that "old moose hunter" stuff.All of that is good but she keeps me hauling water. She can go through 40 gallons of water in a couple of days, and it doesn't seem to bother her much.We found a spring 30 miles north near mile 204 of the highway. A three inch pipe flowed out of the mountain. It took only about five seconds to fill each of the 5 gallon water bottles of the best water we ever tasted. I always have 8-10 bottles in camp.Our hunting neighbor made water runs every couple of days, and took our empty bottles to fill for us.
Fall has always been my favorite season.
Fall is harvest time.
Fall is when the colors of the mountains and valleys turn to red and gold.
Fall is when we finish the summer projects and prepare for the long frozen darkness of the Alaskan winter.
I live for Fall. I already have plans for next fall. I know where I'm going to camp and who will be going with me.
My little Hon is going to have to get used to sleeping in a tent with no running water.We will be 17 miles back in the bush on a trail consisting of dozens of bogs and mostly swamps covered in water and neck deep mud. Those swamps are little more than lakes covered in peat moss mixed with a little mud. They can not be waded because they are deeper than your head.My Mudd Ox amphibian. has tracks and will float when it gets deep, and goes through bad swamps with ease.The only bad thing is if I break down or sink, it will be very interesting for several days, because no one will be able to come and rescue me. I always take enough tools to repair whatever breaks down.
Most folks like the safety of the big city crowds. They feel secure with a lot of folks around.They seem to thrive in their own little neighborhood where everything is the same about everyday.They don't want anything to change and they are satisfied in the same old routine each day.They seldom move to another town, let alone another state. I guess life consists of their own ideas of stability and security.I have said before and I will say it again, "A rut is a grave with both ends kicked out"!
Freedom to me is a big valley with a river that flows out of a gorgeous glacier.
A place where the hand of man has not tarnished the wilderness. A place where the bears, moose, and caribou roam undisturbed by the honking horns and noise of rush-hour traffic.A place where the work of the Creator hasn't been destroyed by human lack of respect for nature. Alaska is the last stronghold of the free innocents of a new born caribou.
Alaska is still pristine and as wild as the earth before mankind began to scar the land.
Alaska is home and we will protect it with our lives. I would never even think about living somewhere else. It's the last place where the pioneer spirit can still be a way of life.
You may get the idea that I'm some "greenie-envirnonmentalist". No, I'm not one of those misguided, poorly informed, bleeding heart individuals who think it is a sin to eat turkey for thanksgiving!Instead, I am a long time Alaskan who believes in keeping our beautiful state pristine, and depends on harvesting wild game to feed my family.Big, big difference!!
Most Americans live in the lower 48 states. Kool!! I can't think of a better place for them.:}
We are a different bunch up here. We see all of the mistakes that were made by other generations, and we are determined not to make those same mistakes.While I'm on my soap box,...
The temperature has dropped below freezing already tonight, so I had better get out and get the wood in for the fireplace.
I can already taste the hot chocolate and smell the wood burning.
I see the sun creeping up the hillsides of the Kenai Mountain Range. The snow is beginning to turn pink in the alpine glow.
I look forward to seeing the northern lights and hearing the songs of the wolf pack.Just another typical Alaskan night.
George"Bubba"Hunt, walking "The Wilderness Trail"