If you’ve spent much time in interior Alaska, you’re aware that the seasons go from full on summer to full on winter in a matter of only a few weeks. On one of the last weekends before the snow hit, my buddy JR and I took my boat out on the river for one last hurrah.
I had just fixed my jet unit after battering it while I was hauling my moose out of the bush, so I just couldn’t stand putting it away without one last good trip. This time we were in pursuit of the late-running coho salmon, or silvers as we call them.
Over the years I’ve gone through enough knives to outfit a steakhouse, but most of them have been just another knife. That all changed the first time I used a Havalon. My buddy Steve let me use his to cape my Dall sheep, and I couldn’t believe how fast I was able to get it done. I was sold on it right then and there as a caping knife, but Havalon knives are much more than that.
After having a compound bow that did little more than take up closet space for several years, I got back into shooting traditional bows last year. I don’t have anything against compounds, but they aren’t for me. Traditional bows have a certain nostalgic appeal, and with all of the practice it took to improve my shooting with them, I’ve developed a certain attachment.
As most of you can probably relate, work too often gets in the way of the hunting I would much rather be doing, and from the day I got back from my Chugach goat hunt, it was 60- to 70-hour work weeks with little hope of escape. All summer I had been looking forward to hunting the late bow season for moose, during which my dad and I took a nice meat bull last year. It wasn’t looking like I would get much time to hunt it this year, but I was finally able to sneak away the last three days of September. After throwing some gear together, I headed up to dump my boat in the river.
After taking my goat on our second day in the mountains, we quickly realized what a lucky break we’d gotten. From the time we crawled into the tent, and for several days after that, the wind and rain became so bad we were stuck. The few times we did try to get out and glass, the wind would almost knock us down onto the ice. It would have been bad if we were on dry ground, but this was downright dangerous.
Moving around on ice littered with crevasses and holes into which a man could easily disappear was pretty frightening, especially since we could barely walk or stand up! We later found out that this huge storm had brought 100 mph winds to Anchorage, and I think we got every bit of that.