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.
Life in the tent got old and uncomfortable pretty quickly. Even with a foam sleeping pad, the snow/ice under the tent was beginning to melt from my body heat, turning a flat surface into a terribly uncomfortable bed. The last two nights in the tent were so bad, I had to take pain medication just to fall asleep. I’m no newbie when it comes to sleeping in uncomfortable spots, but this was ridiculous. There wasn’t a position I could lay in that wasn’t painful. To further scare us, the rain began to turn to snow. Every morning the snow was lower on the mountains and all the way down to the glacier farther up the canyon. After a few days, the wind let up somewhat, but when the planes came to pick us up, they were unable to land since it was still gusting up above the glacier. With our spirits bashed, we decided we might as well go out hunting since it was at least tolerable.
We decided to head back up to where I’d killed my goat to see if there were any others around. Plus, it was the only place we could physically get to due to the glacier’s topography and the weather. Fortunately, shortly after we took off, the sun came back out. We climbed around the end of the knob from which we’d spotted my goat, and as Steve pulled up his bino, he excitedly whispered “Bear!” We pulled out the spotting scope and saw what looked to be a really big grizzly sleeping on the remains of my goat carcass. Again, the wind was perfect, and with the bear about 700 yards away, it required a stalk virtually identical to mine, just lower in elevation. This time I took my turn behind the scope and watched as Steve crept up and was able to put down the bear with two solid shots. It was a beautiful toklat-colored grizzly that squared seven feet even. Although he didn’t get a goat, it was Steve’s first mountain grizzly, and he was just as happy with it.
We quickly got the bear skinned and back to camp, and although we thought we would have to wait till winter and walk out, the Super Cubs came in the next morning and carried us off. If I were to say this hunt was a lot of fun, it would be an outright lie. It was miserable. However, it was a very memorable trip, and, really, a hunt of a lifetime. All things considered, we were very lucky to take a nice goat and grizzly in the two days we were able to hunt.