OK I just heard from Okie. He has been sent to his room for several days so he asked me to post the following. I can't post his pix with it so I'll have to edit it and slip in some of mine. His don't show the truth anyway. Here ya go. Ken.Day 8
Wednesday February 17th 2010
Cloudy, Snow/Ice flurries, 22 above
Ken thinks I‘ve brought this heat wave up from Louisiana. I‘m beginning to think he may be right. We decide if the heat continues the next few days, we will try out a new hide preservative on the wolverine pelt and then pack it in snow. Hopefully it will cool back down soon. I’m happy we haven’t had and -50 degree weather, but I didn’t come up here to wear short sleeve shirts and work on my tan.
After breakfast this morning, we decide to check the entire northern line and then make sets in the locations we had found during our prospecting walk of the creek. Before leaving I bring in the “camp raider” to let him warm up while we’re gone. Now that his reign of mischief is over, it’s time he donated his fur coat.
The first two marten sets are empty. The lack of fresh sign since our first visit here continues to baffle us both. Between sets I ride along thinking over the lack of production here. I can understand if our presence has spooked off the “unknown canine”, but it makes no sense as to why the wolverine, fox, and even marten, sign has stopped. On the other lines our snow machine trails, even our foot trails, seem to attract the critters like magnets. I’m not losing faith in the area, I’m just extremely surprised it has produced so little for the early sign present.
Just when I’m thinking that we may have to wait for a weather change to see activity in this area, we ride up to marten number nine, another beautifully furred male, caught in a 120 leaning pole can.
With hopes a little higher, we check the last of the sets before moving over to lay out the creek line. Ken stops short looking at a leaning pole that should contain, at least, a number one jump trap and a spruce chicken wing. Neither are visible. The set is about twenty yards from the snow machine trail so I walk over to have a look. The inch or so of fresh snow hides some of the story, but the evidence left shows that we had in fact made a marten catch, only to have it stolen. As Ken and I search the area we see that it appears an otter has made off with our marten. The otter has come on a straight line (odd for an otter) from the creek to the set, spent a considerable time under the hanging marten, then made off with the marten and the trap. The otters trail takes off back to the creek and we are unable to locate any sign of the catch or trap. Ken suspects the otter may have heard the foot caught marten, come over to investigate, got a hold of the marten, and pulled the marten and trap free, making off with the whole rig. Potential marten number ten is lost. I’m pretty disgusted at losing the marten, real disgusted at losing the trap, and even more disgusted that the smart-alecky otter didn’t continue down to the gulo gauntlet and get caught there. Ken tells me "crap happens" and luckily for me the trap replacement value is fairly low. (In fact, I don't even bring it up :/) He’s only gonna charge me twenty bucks per year for the trap’s “sentimental” value. Unfortunately for me that particular trap has been on his line since the great depression. Man I really hate that otter.
While I’m still trying to figure out how to calculate depreciation of an eighty year old trap, Ken drives the snow machine and sled onto the creek and we make off for the tracked up creek intersection where we’ll set up. He yells back to me that if we break through I should just throw myself towards the bank and not worry about him or the sled. I think he realized his words were pointless when he saw I had already assumed the position of an Olympic high jumper, and was just waiting for an excuse to show off my panic and fleeing skills. I comforted him by saying that I’d do my best to salvage the lost marten and ax if he did go through.
We made what I thought were some guaranteed killer sets on the creek.
220 over hole
330 set where otter was resting after coming out of the hole.
Wolverine bucket set that really was stinky !
Okie taking pix when he should have been setting traps
We left the line and made it back to the cabin for some afternoon skinning. We spent the evening listening to John Prine on Ken’s Ipod. I skinned marten while Ken did his “Martha Stewart meets American Idol” impression. Not only can the man carry a tune, but he can bake some killer homemade rolls in an impromptu oven he constructs on the stove top. The only draw back to these skinning conditions is the frequent cuts I make to my fingers, distracted either from watching the chef at work, or laughing at his effortless lyrics changes he makes while he sings along. I’m pretty sure ol’George Jones never heard his songs sung quite like that!
Smoked sausage with grilled onions, hash browns, and homemade rolls for dinner.
I learned that “he didn’t stop loving her today” after all.
Taught the traditional Alaskan "bush" life by the legendary white17.
Taught the modern Alaskan "bush" life by Hupurest and Alaskan.