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#1864833 - 03/01/10 10:28 PM Great Alaskan Adventure ; Combined
Okiekajun Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: Golden Meadow, Louisiana
Wednesday, Feb 10th 2010
Cloudy, 10 above

8:00 AM , Curly, my appointed bush pilot, calls and says “hop on a plane”. Curly says he’ll probably be at Aniak waiting for me. If I don’t see him, I should walk down the airstrip to Inland Charters and see Steve, he‘ll take care of me.

11:30 AM, One last peek at T-man, then depart Anchorage headed to Aniak. The security screening for a village flight is intense. The check-in lady asks me if I have any guns or knives in my carry-on, I say “no” she doesn’t bother looking. She didn’t notice the bag of onions I was "smuggling" under my jacket.(to keep from freezing on the trip)

1:00 PM, I have arrived in Aniak, a small village in interior Alaska. The flight was smooth but the skies cloudy. I could only catch glimpses of the Alaska Range, but they were beautiful glimpses. Solid white slopes all the way to the top with very little rocks showing, ravines were deep and I could imagine the waters that would roar through them during spring thaws. After leaving Anchorage I saw absolutely zero signs of humans until near Aniak, then I saw a few snowmobile trails along rivers.


As I stood in the “terminal” (a single room pre-fab building) waiting for my bags and trying to decide if anybody in the room was “Curly‘, a short, grizzled guy comes in and starts looking around. He walks up and asks me “are you the Okie?” and I say “only if you’re the Curly.” (Curly is Curly Warren owner and operator of Stoney River Lodge, a fly in wilderness lodge that offers world class hunts and fishing trips.) We laugh and shake hands and he tells me he’s got an old truck outside. I grab my duffel from the baggage claim area (a hole in the wall cut at floor level, with somebody outside shoving bags in) and Curly grabs my backpack. As we head to the truck, he says he likes the way I pack. I’m hoping he’s not making fun of me, but he’s not…he says I seem to have the right amount of gear, not like a lot of his clients. He drives me along some semblance of a road, past some small and cold looking homes, on our way to the river. We stop in someone’s yard and he asks if I can make it down the hill with my gear, he says there is a red plane down there on the river, and asks if I’ll be able to find it, and then he laughs and says “it’s the only one down there“. I walk, slide, and fall down the steep river bank with my gear to get to the plane (it looks vintage 40’s and tiny). I snap some pictures and take a good look at my first bush plane. It sure does seem small, and I’m pretty sure the wings are not metal or solid, but hollow and covered with fabric. It really seems small when I remember that we have over a hundred air miles to Ken’s cabin. I tell myself the bright side is, I don’t figure Curly got to be his age if he isn’t a good pilot. ( Ken later tells me that Curly is actually 24, his many near death experiences have prematurely aged him.) While I’m taking in the scenery, Curly hops down the steep icy river bank like a mountain goat.

Alaska bush lesson number one: Out here there’s a whole different definition of senior citizen.






The flight to the area of Ken's line "flew" by. Curly and I had some good talks and he really seemed to enjoy taking the time and patience to answer my questions and educate a hillbilly coonass. We spotted marten, moose, fox, wolverine, and wolf tracks as we traveled along. Occassionaly Curly would make some type of stunt plane manuever to "get a better look". I was getting a better look at the inside of my stomach each time we'd drop fifty feet sideways like a stone, but I was too excited to care. What an experience. I'd never been in a small plane like that and I was amazed at the mobility and power of it. (I later learned that Curly had the skill and experience to be able to safely fly like that, but that's a story for another day.)








3:00 PM, As we fly low over a straight shot in the river I notice snow machine trails. Then, further up river, I catch sight of the living legend… Ken “white one-seven” Deardorff. He’s waiting on the river with his Elan and a sled. This is the first sign of human life we’ve encountered since shortly after Aniak.

Curly waggles the wings as he passes over and makes a steep descending bank. By this time, my stomach no longer leaps into my throat, and I‘ve really started to enjoy this mode of transportation. True to form, Curly lays those plane skies down so gently that you could literally hear us skiing along and not even feel that we had touched down.

Ken starts busting my chops immediately upon exiting the plane. I can already tell we’ll get along great. We fill a few gas cans from the airplane wing, then all three of us head up to cabin to have a warm drink.

Curly and Ken talk about different bush happenings while I stand around soaking it all in and laughing at their stories. The cabin seems very small from the outside, with a very low ceiling. You duck to get into the door, the top of which is maybe 4 feet from ground. If you don't want a headache, don’t stand up until you’re in the middle of room(unless you’re Curly, or woodelf, in that case you‘re safe). Curly looks around and just starts laughing saying “well Jon at least there's two bunks”. Ken immediately says “yeah but we’re only gonna use one”. This guy thinks he's a comedian.

The cabin is not what I had in mind, it’s actually much more roomy and comfortable then what I had expected. It’s low roof means it’s easier to heat. And the arraignment of each bunk, shelf, and fixture is laid out for maximum room and ease of use. Various jars, boxes, and containers line every available shelf, nook, and cranny. These I see are mostly labeled and contain items essential to our survival. For safety reasons I immediately commit to memory the location of the snickers bar container (which happens to be the right foot of a white bunny boot hanging from a nail near my bunk)

I later found out that Ken built this cabin nearly thirty years ago using cut logs and lumber rough cut out spruce trees from the surrounding area. Anything and every thing, aside from the lumber, was hauled in by boat or plane. There is no electric other than a small generator Ken fires up a few nights per week to charge the satellite phone. He also takes advantage of the generator run time to screw in a single 75 watt bulb and catch up on skinning.


Curly leaves after coffee and Ken and I listen to him take off, I ask where the {edit-urinal} is and he points to a melted hole in the snow about fifteen feet from the cabin. As I’m taking a leak I hear what sounds like a small dog, growling and woofing at me, I look up to see a marten about head high in a tree not more than twenty feet away. Unbelievable! I look at his pale white face, orange upper body turning to dark chocolate legs and belly. They’re significantly larger than I had thought. And man are they fast. Like a cat on meth. He’s eyeballing me and trying to make out what I am. Apparently I’ve interrupted his dinner consisting of the beaver bait pile right outside the door of the cabin. Trying not to pee on myself, I zip up and slip back to the door to get Ken’s attention. He comes out and we both get to watch the little guys’ antics for several minutes. Ken says he’s not afraid of us because he’s never seen a person before. That amazes me and makes me realize just how remote we are. He’s not joking around. That animal really never has seen a person before, as a matter of fact the majority of the trap line has only ever been seen by two or three white people. EVER. Simply amazing.



We load up the sled in anticipation of the next day. I fill bait buckets for wolverine and marten with some ripe smelling moose scraps and rotted salmon. Ken spends the time laughing at me and getting traps and equipment loaded on the sled.

We spend the evening talking and laughing, probably more laughing than talking. Ken’s a funny SOB, and you better be on your toes if you want to beat him to a pun or joke.

For dinner Ken whips up some moose marinated in soy sauce and served over rice, complete with homemade rolls he had baked on the top of the wood stove barrel. Delicious, and not what I expected here. Dinner is eaten lit by a candle or your headlamp, this evening we ate early enough so that we got to have the light from the setting sun filter in the window over the table.



After just settling in for a good sleep (in separate bunks) we are both awakened by some noises on the roof. Ken jumps out of his bed and goes to check it out. I pulled my sleeping bag over my head in case it was a bear. Turns out it was a marten on the roof trying to steal our bait sack of spruce grouse. Ken said he was about three feet from his face when he shined the light on him. The little guy wasn’t too spooked, he walked around on the roof and hopped into a nearby tree while I took pictures of him.





Back to bed…man this is going to be a heck of a trip.



Edited by white17 (03/02/10 09:52 PM)
_________________________
Alaskan certified...
Taught the traditional Alaskan "bush" life by the legendary white17.
Taught the modern Alaskan "bush" life by Hupurest and Alaskan.

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#1864848 - 03/01/10 10:34 PM Re: Great Alaskan Adventure Day 1 [Re: Okiekajun]
michael_obrien
Unregistered

Wow, bring on day 2~

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#1864856 - 03/01/10 10:36 PM Re: Great Alaskan Adventure Day 1 [Re: ]
Bruce T Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: Northern Maine
Great pictures and story.Keep her coming.
_________________________


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#1864875 - 03/01/10 10:43 PM Re: Great Alaskan Adventure Day 1 [Re: Okiekajun]
ADC
Unregistered

SOOO Looking forward to day two! You're a lucky okie!

~ADC~

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#1864878 - 03/01/10 10:44 PM Re: Great Alaskan Adventure Day 1 [Re: Bruce T]
Cattrax Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/28/06
Loc: Wy
It was good reading over on the wilderness board, glad you have such a great time up there, wish I could have had the money to out bid you on that trip! LOL

Thanks for sharing the trip with us all!




Edited by tmrschessie (11/12/12 08:48 AM)
Edit Reason: non working link
_________________________
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."
-- Thomas Jefferson





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#1864887 - 03/01/10 10:45 PM Re: Great Alaskan Adventure Day 1 [Re: ]
Okiekajun Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: Golden Meadow, Louisiana
Thanks Guys.

I'm going to try and do one journal day each evening until complete.
_________________________
Alaskan certified...
Taught the traditional Alaskan "bush" life by the legendary white17.
Taught the modern Alaskan "bush" life by Hupurest and Alaskan.

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#1864921 - 03/01/10 10:58 PM Re: Great Alaskan Adventure Day 1 [Re: Okiekajun]
Nutoy Offline


Registered: 12/22/06
Loc: East Tx
Good to see you made it back to civilization,,, with all you're apendages. smile
I was reading the daily updates Barb was posting. Sweeet trip.
This is going to be one for the archives for sure.

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#1864944 - 03/01/10 11:08 PM Re: Great Alaskan Adventure Day 1 [Re: Nutoy]
Okiekajun Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: Golden Meadow, Louisiana
Thanks Uncle Andy!

After looking the terrain over, I'm pretty sure we could import some of those oversized tree climbing mink and they'd do well around T-bend.
_________________________
Alaskan certified...
Taught the traditional Alaskan "bush" life by the legendary white17.
Taught the modern Alaskan "bush" life by Hupurest and Alaskan.

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#1864966 - 03/01/10 11:20 PM Re: Great Alaskan Adventure Day 1 [Re: Okiekajun]
Tim Wilcox Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Silver Springs, NY
I loved reading the daily updates from Ol Blister, glad to hear you had a great time and looking forward to reading each day adventure !!!
_________________________

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#1864969 - 03/01/10 11:21 PM Re: Great Alaskan Adventure Day 1 [Re: Okiekajun]
GritGuy Offline


Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Magna, Utah
Very thought full of you to keep such a great record for the rest of us to enjoy with you, thanks. And pictures as well !!

Will be waiting for the rest of the adventures to unfold,

I'm already a little nervous for you after reading about the other fellers sleeping desires LOL!!
_________________________


Sorry if my opinions or replies offend you, they are not meant to !

www.wasatchwild.com

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#1864970 - 03/01/10 11:22 PM Re: Great Alaskan Adventure Day 1 [Re: Okiekajun]
Nutoy Offline


Registered: 12/22/06
Loc: East Tx
I bet they'd do well if they could survive on limb rats and coons. They'd probably go bald after the first summer and then they'd be like the rest of the southern fur,,, worthless.

Soooo, you meet the imfamous Hup and Amy Sue?
Did you learn how to call a moose? smile

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#1864972 - 03/01/10 11:23 PM Re: Great Alaskan Adventure Day 1 [Re: Okiekajun]
nelacres Offline
"The Farmer"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Derby, Vermont 45 for now
This will be classic T-man material Okie I am looking forward to reading it all.
_________________________

Nelly

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#1864975 - 03/01/10 11:24 PM Re: Great Alaskan Adventure Day 1 [Re: Nutoy]
don Wolf Offline


Registered: 12/22/06
Loc: evansville Indiana age67
Hate to be stupid , but what does Elan mean?

He’s waiting on the river with his Elan and a sled. This is the first sign of human life we’ve encountered since shortly after Aniak.

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#1864981 - 03/01/10 11:28 PM Re: Great Alaskan Adventure Day 1 [Re: don Wolf]
nelacres Offline
"The Farmer"

Registered: 12/23/06
Loc: Derby, Vermont 45 for now
Elan is a type of snow machine, a small lite weight that can travel real well in the back country, the sled is hooked to the back of the machine to haul supplies.
_________________________

Nelly

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#1864983 - 03/01/10 11:29 PM Re: Great Alaskan Adventure Day 1 [Re: don Wolf]
white17 Online   content

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"

Registered: 03/17/07
Loc: McGrath, AK
Elan is a French word meaning distinctive style or flair. But in this case it is a 1980 model Ski-doo snowmachine.
_________________________
Mean As Nails

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#1864985 - 03/01/10 11:30 PM Re: Great Alaskan Adventure Day 1 [Re: don Wolf]
Bearpaw Offline
"Threadkiller"

Registered: 04/19/07
Loc: southern idaho
An Elan is an old antiquated snowmobile that is slow but virtually indestructable. Just like White17.

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#1864987 - 03/01/10 11:32 PM Re: Great Alaskan Adventure Day 1 [Re: white17]
Okiekajun Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/24/06
Loc: Golden Meadow, Louisiana
Originally Posted By: white17
Elan is a French word meaning distinctive style or flair. But in this case it is a 1980 model Ski-doo snowmachine.


I didn't realize that was type of snowmachine you had, I was describing your flair.
_________________________
Alaskan certified...
Taught the traditional Alaskan "bush" life by the legendary white17.
Taught the modern Alaskan "bush" life by Hupurest and Alaskan.

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#1864993 - 03/01/10 11:38 PM Re: Great Alaskan Adventure Day 1 [Re: Okiekajun]
Cattrax Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/28/06
Loc: Wy
And here I thought it was that Ken is so old he had an Elan pulling his sled kind of like Paul Bunyan had an Ox! laugh
_________________________
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."
-- Thomas Jefferson





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#1865008 - 03/01/10 11:49 PM Re: Great Alaskan Adventure Day 1 [Re: Nutoy]
Hupurest
Unregistered

Originally Posted By: Nutoy


Soooo, you meet the imfamous Hup and Amy Sue?
Did you learn how to call a moose? smile


Next year, we are auctioning off a week with Alaskan and I......
There surely won't be any chipping four foot holes in ice for beaver where we trap.

Oh, and the successful bidder will be required to pay in only $2 bills...cash money

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#1865018 - 03/02/10 12:01 AM Re: Great Alaskan Adventure Day 1 [Re: ]
Cattrax Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/28/06
Loc: Wy
Originally Posted By: Hupurest
Originally Posted By: Nutoy


Soooo, you meet the imfamous Hup and Amy Sue?
Did you learn how to call a moose? smile


Next year, we are auctioning off a week with Alaskan and I......
There surely won't be any chipping four foot holes in ice for beaver where we trap.

Oh, and the successful bidder will be required to pay in only $2 bills...cash money



And here I thought I was getting a special deal on that trip Hup!!!
_________________________
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."
-- Thomas Jefferson





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