Huntin’

For many years my families tradition was to get a moose (or perhaps two) every fall. It wasn’t so much a matter of sport as it was filling the freezer. When they went out to eat they got chicken…because it was exotic. About the time I started walking upright and remembering things they inexplicably stopped doing this. This was sad. Fortunately, things have again changed and we have begun again.

I am a dedicated carnivore. I enjoy shooting guns. I love adventuring in the woods. I am fascinated by butchering and firmly believe that it is of the utmost importance to understand where food comes from. I like to get my hands bloody. I don’t have the desire to pull the trigger. If I was the only one left I’d do it to fill the freezer but I would take no pleasure in it. For the moment I am content to leave the trigger to the elder generation and help with everything else.

The family is fortunate to have numerous talents and resources to make fun hunting possible. For example:

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We have boats
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And Planes

Hunting season usually goes something like this…

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We have stuff…
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That we carry into camp…
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We search around in lovely places…
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To look for signs of tasty animals (but these are the wrong ones…)
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We then carry stuff, including said tasty animals if we should be so lucky as to find one, back out…
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And head back home…

There is a lot of carrying involved so my generation is always welcome. Hunting for me is basically like camping except that I carry more stuff. We didn’t catch anything this year but it sure was fun.

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Wow, don’t know what I did here but it sure looks cool!
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Schemes

A quintessential part of youth is the harebrained scheme. I can make a sushi roller out of bunch of chopsticks right? One gradually grows out of such things but I have come to realize that at some point one may also grow back into them!?!

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Shelby to Shore

The picture seems innocent enough right? I was dropping the APs (Aged Parents) off at the cabin and lent them my packraft to get to shore. But there’s two of them and only one raft so…

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One down but what now? 

When they asked about using the raft I jokingly suggested that they should just use a fishing rod to retrieve the raft after the first one paddled to shore. I thought that this sounded like a six year old’s idea. See the fishing rod now?

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Proof of Concept

Not so harebrained after all, eh? Apparently not though next time a little more line wouldn’t be…uh…out of line.

After such an unorthodox experiment they decided to use a manufacturer recommended technique when I came to pick them up.

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Sheesh, grownups…

 

The State of Grace [Ridge]

The following is the state of the Grace Ridge Trail:

Grace Ridge is the best trail in the bay (*editor* I’d better nit pick and say that the trail isn’t actually IN the bay, it’s in the bay area…wouldn’t want to confuse anyone). Naturally I’d only done it once before because who wants too much of a good thing right?

In preparation for the trip I did an aerial survey for greater perspective. The aerial shots are interspersed throughout the post to give the reader the same perspective.

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Aw crap…can’t see the mountain!?!

I live in Alaska so the day of the trip turned out to be rainy. In fact, I couldn’t even see the damn mountain from the end of the Spit. I am an Alaskan and didn’t want to lose my Alaska cred so I hopped on the boat and went anyway.

Kayak Beach Trail Head
Kayak Beach Trail Head

The “front” Grace Ridge trail head is Kayak Beach. My hiking companion and I were dropped of after a fun filled IFR (that’s Instrument Flight Rules for the non-flying crowd) trip with Bay Excursions.

Ghost Forest?
Ghost Forest?

We didn’t have to reach the peak to hike into the clouds, we pretty much hit ’em as soon as we got into the trees.

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Peeka…

Grace Ridge offers exceptional 360 views to the determined hiker who makes it above the tree line.

BOO! (kind of)
BOO! (kind of)

After a quick snack, and thorough viewing of the fog, at the first scenic viewpoint above the tree line we continued on…somewhere. For some reason it reminded me of the Scottish Highlands even though I have never been there.

I'm probably making it obvious that I haven't been to Scotland...
I’m probably making it obvious that I haven’t been to Scotland…

Every so often the clouds around us, which were moving pretty fast, would clear so that we could have some idea of where we were going.

Looking back on it.
Looking back on it.

Progress was gradually made and the near view was quite edifying even sans everything more than a mile away (you know, the amazing bay, volcanoes, islands, etc).

LEAP!
LEAP!

I hereby christen thee Leap Creek.

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Can you spot Leap Creek?

I mentioned flying and greater perspective. Here is some.

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A pretty picture of the Homer Spit.

The beginning of the final ascent.

SEE *wagging finger*
SEE *wagging finger*

Much more interesting through a quick hole in the clouds.

ROUS recreating?
ROUS recreating?

Speaking of holes, whatever dug this one (a Marmot?) must have been pretty bad ass. Those are not small rocks.

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Ah but we have come so far…

We finally reached the point where it felt like we had gone somewhere. Good times.

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Climbing in the airplane is easier…

Did I say final ascent before? Here’s another final ascent. I guess that they all are in their own way…

*insert* breathtaking view here...
*insert* breathtaking view here…

The “view” from the top. This is where the trail starts to run along the ridge and the highest point of the day. You can sort of see the Herring Islands from here.

Real Rest of Ridge
Real Rest of Ridge

Here’s a bit more perspective and an eagle eye view of the “ridgy” bit of Grace Ridge.

It would be embarrassing to take a wrong turn here...
It would be embarrassing to take a wrong turn here…

Here it is from the ground. How about them panoramic views eh? I’m talking to you Alife.

My kingdom for manual focus.
My kingdom for manual focus.

If you can’t see far look near. The veracity and variety of the vegetation on top of the mountain is exceptional. It is just in miniature.

Gorgeous Little Things
Gorgeous Little Things

Lots of lovely little plants.

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Yup…thems plants alright

Yup, thems plants alright (*Editor* this is awesome because I came up with this sentence and the picture caption totally independently so it must be true and I’m gonna say it twice).

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More “ridgy” ness.

Side view from on high.

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To the left we have….

A moment of clarity let us look down the left side of the knife edge ridge into Sadie Cove. Don’t trip.

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The astute woodsman could look at the picture here and deduce that precipitation had recently occurred. Other clues? It was raining and I was wet (but I was still trying to be an astute woods man because, you know, that sounds good). It later occurred to me that I was not in the woods at the time but in not recognizing that I proved myself to be total crap as a woodsman, ah well.

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Likely Lichen?

At this point we had an enjoyable discussion about cheap beer and the theory of the inverse parabolic curve of awesomeness there of. Conclusion, the bottom of the curve is a can of sadness, but I digress…

I'm not gonna lie, I really have no idea what sort of life form this is, Lichen or otherwise.
I’m not gonna lie, I really have no idea what sort of life form this is, Lichen or otherwise. Either way, it kinda makes my eyes hurt…

More fauna? It sure doesn’t look like flora so I guess it must be. About this point there was also an amusing  miss communication (*editor* and misspelling apparently) about half and half mixed with beer. Once clarified a unanimous conclusion was reached that it was in fact a bad idea.

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Trail…? What trail?

We interrupt this discussion to traverse some of the craggier rock faces. You can’t see it but it is a LONG way down if you slip.

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You have a nice backend Sadie…and Tutka.

The last bit of ridge coincided with a nice clear patch which made is picture possible. At last we could see where we were going.

Lovely orbs of death? I'm not actually sure.
Lovely orbs of death? I’m not actually sure.

One benefit of lowering elevation was lovely Salmon Berries and even a few Blueberries. These are the only berries I photographed but did not eat them. It can be traumatic to do both simultaneously.

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Its…ALIVE!

Nature is really a marvel. Life is everywhere.

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Help me out here Alfie

More manly flower pictures. I’m not sure what these are though. Bonus points for proper identification.

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This really deserves a cool caption…bummer.

Despite being pretty wet and not being able to see 100 yards ahead on myself at some points one has to admit that rain makes stuff beautiful. Take that you preppy little Sun.

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Captions are dumb and I’m tired of coming up with them so I’m not going to make anymore.

However fascinating the flowers may be over the course of a long day on the trail the mind wonders to prevent  boredom (see Beer discussion). Apparently the trail crews felt the same way.

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After This.

South Grace trail head, the “destination” despite that getting there is more than half the fun.

We got to the trailed head 15 minutes early to find a waiting boat. A dry pair of socks later we were headed back to the Spit. A good time was had by all.

The moral of the story is, Go Rain or Shine. Rain is beautiful and rewarding.

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*Note*: This post is long and tiresome much like the hike. The pictures are not all perfect but they make up a long journey. Think about it.

A Quickie

A fortuitous free ferry.
A fortuitous free ferry.

I have a lot to post from the summer and fall but time is tight and work is joyless. What is one to do?

Hop on a Friday evening trip out to the cabin...
Hop on a Friday evening trip out to the cabin…

Of course the tide is never quite as one would want it so special equipment is required.

Why the paddles?
Why the paddles?
Just put your lips together...and blow...
Just put your lips together…and blow…

So I packrafted over to the cabin from the Saddle Trail head. Take that tides. Truly, the packraft is the gentlemen’s method of transportation. No coincidence that Awesome and Amphibious both begin with A.

Getting there actually was half the fun.
Getting there actually was half the fun.

Relaxation ensued and apparently nothing photo worthy happened. Actually, I watched black bears and got hit by a bat but Ye Olde iPhone just doesn’t cut it. Luckily, on the way home I got to see some bigger wildlife.

Loon.
Loon.

For example, while I was floating around waiting to be picked up I got checked out by a loon (it is a big bird so I naturally I did take a picture). Without a doubt the best wildlife encounter of the summer. It is a singular experience to watch a big, sharp bird make multiple passes under (the water that is) and around one when one is in a somewhat frail inflatable craft. It is kind of like watching bears on the beach.

My pants?
My pants?

I was so excited that I documented the moment by taking a picture of my pants (in my defense it is a unique picture right?).

BIG Wildlife
BIG Wildlife

Not to be outdone the whales made an appearance on the way back home to remind one what really big wildlife looks like (i’m not gonna lie, the girls in the skiff were almost as interesting as the whale).

Yup, good way to spend a weekend.

ZOOOOOM!

ZOO...
ZOO…

Zoom out that is…

OOOM!
OOOM!
Damn! I like hangin' at the bar!
Damn! I like hangin’ at the bar!

At least once a year one really must chase the wily razor clam. And you don’t need no stinkin’ boat to go claming, I mean really?!?

One Clam...
One Clam…
..leads to many.
..leads to many.

The moral of the story, look what a Tri Pacer can do. She didn’t even break a sweat.

This is really what a '50's Piper Ad should have looked like...
This is really what a ’50’s Piper Ad should have looked like…

(Disclaimer: Everything is better with Xtratufs : )

Midnight Packraft

I have a large backlog of stuff to post because I have been busy doing things that are post worthy. The following was a quick overnight trip to the lake at the base of the Woz Glacier. Twas the night after Solstice (I was going to say “It was” but the spell checker thought that “Twas” twas a better idea and I thought that was funny) but it felt like a Solstice celebration to me. The trip was 19 hours chocks to chocks so here’s 19 pictures of it…

Our Ride(s)
Our Ride(s)
Launch!
Launch!
Whitewater...Notable for future drinking.
Whitewater…Notable for future drinking
Glacier Bound
Glacier Bound
Good Night Sun
There Goes the Sun
Amphibious Assault -- Onward on Foot
Amphibious Assault — Onward on Foot
Where we came from...it looks nice, we should go back sometime...
Where we came from…it looks nice, we should go back sometime…
Hmmm...well, I suppose not today.
Hmmm…well, I suppose not today.
My companion trying a different route. My but we are insignificant.
My companion trying a different route. My but we are insignificant.
Wading More Water
Wading More Water
Gravel Glacier!?!
Gravel Glacier!?!
Ah Ha, there is some ice after all.
Ah Ha, there is some ice after all.
Further Investigation
Further Investigation
Up Top Yo!
Up Top Yo!
Time to head back, now where did I leave my ride?
Time to head back, now where did I leave my ride?
River Ride Out
River Ride Out
Yay! At least I took one quality photo.
Yay! At least I took one quality photo.
Midnight on the Lake
Midnight on the Lake
And to Bed
And to Bed

aka Lily