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Monday, October 21, 2019

Boat Camping

Our elk hunt is based on a 50 foot seiner.  The boat is our base camp - there is beer and extra gear on board.  This allows us to traipse about looking for elk - camping as we go - and then return to the boat for re supply, or, if we are lucky to put elk meat on the deck.  On the boat we eat pre prepared meals made by various elk party members and they tend to be delicious - far better food than I generally eat at home.  On shore we cook our meals on the wood stove, and they tend to be a bit more rudimentary but still filling.  And no freeze dried junk either.

On the recent hunt we spent 2 nights ashore and 3 1/2 nights on the boat (we got home late at night on Thursday).  We went ashore on south Afognak the first morning with food for 3 nights (and we could have stretched it to 4).  It was supposed to be super windy and we knew that the boat would not be able to make it around to north Afognak for a couple of days at least.  So we camped and hunted.  Hunkered down in the trees on the windy days that did indeed keep the boat on the south side.

And then when it did calm down there was the boat on the north side ready to pick us, and the elk we had harvested, up.  It worked out perfectly!

shore food on the wood stove

Poisonous mushroom

Afognak seemed to have a lot of mushrooms this year

Philip and Jason

Shore camp in the spruce trees

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Succesful Elk Hunt

Elk crew at start of trip - hitting the beach

We are back from our Afognak elk hunt and it was a success.  We hiked something like 30 miles, camped a couple nights on shore, harvested 3 elk, and all returned in one piece.  We had amazing meals on the boat (better than I usually have at home), and we camped in luxury with a wood stove on shore.  While we were away there was a big storm, but we barely noticed the high winds in our camp tucked away in the spruce trees.

On this trip we noticed a lot of mushrooms - mostly highly poisonous - but also angel wings and king boletes.  Some of the mushrooms were bright yellow or red with white dots.  It was seriously beautiful walking through the spruce forest with all the yellow devils club leaves and green moss.

We harvested 2 of the elk in a high bowl late in the day and had to stash have the meat in a tent behind an electrified fence.  The fence was to keep the bears away.  When we returned the next day it was snowing.  My first snow of the year!

Anyway, we are in the process of cutting up and packaging all the meat now.  Filling up the freezer with delicious meat.  More to come in further posts.  Patrick

The Columbia wheelhouse

Jason hits the alpine

The elk I harvested

The 'meat tent' where we stashed what we could not carry with the first load

Brooks found King Bolete mushrooms

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Off to Hunt Elk

It's October and today we leave on our18th annual elk hunt.  18 years wow!  These are some photos from last year's hunt.  Last year we had no issues finding elk, but such is not always the case.  I have my fingers crossed that we will find a herd.  I also hope the weather cooperates and that we get to spend some glorious days on shore hunting, hiking and exploring.  And best of all camping in the teepee around a wood stove.  It's the 2019 Afognak elk hunt!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019


Some more pictures from afternoon dog walks in the park.  After a rainless August ,and still mostly dry early September, we finally got some moisture and the mushrooms sprouted like crazy.  In Abercrombie the angel wing mushrooms are at their peak and it is super easy to harvest enough for dinner in a just a few minutes.

Back home I have been sautéing them in butter with garlic.  Angel wings have a super light flavor and almost taste like sea food.  I think they would be perfect with scallops, but I have just been eating them all by themselves as a side dish.  Patrick

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Nora Hike

Sunday afternoon Nora convinced me to hike up to the saddle behind the North Sister.  It seems like just yesterday that Nora and I did the same hike at the end of July just before we started on the 'Adjust your Altitude' Challenge (click here for post).  Looking back at the pictures from that hike in July it looks so GREEN!  Wow.  I remember that that was at the beginning of a long and hot dry spell - we did not get any rain for almost a month.

These days Kodiak is all brown and yellow.  The sun is low in the sky and the sunlight rakes at a low angle across the landscape.  Pretty soon it ought to snow.  Nora even got cold hands on our hike and donned gloves.  My favorite time of the year!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

More from the Refugium

It has been a week since we got back from our hunting trip to the south end of Kodiak.  Where we were hunting was the part of Kodiak that did not get glaciated during the last glacial epoch.  It may not have been glaciated but 20,000 years ago it looked a lot different than it does today.  There would have been glaciers all around, and the ice would have blocked up all the rivers creating huge lakes.  Basically it was one big lake with lots of little islands where the mountains are today.  Some of what today are big and deep lakes would have had glaciers in them too.

Anyway, it is a very interesting place with it's own unique vegetation and landscape.  Very different from the rest of Kodiak.  Patrick

Spawned out red salmon

We moved camp in our river rafts

Rafts built for river rafting do not like windy conditions on lakes!

Camp in the rain

Friday, October 4, 2019

Long Blueberry Season

Abercrombie Park still has blueberries!
Some pictures from yesterday's dog walk in the park.  What's amazing is that there is still worthwhile blueberry picking to be had in the park.  I picked my first blueberries in the park this summer on June 29th - albeit they were a little on the tart side - and here it is 3 months later and there are still blueberries on the bushes.  And the berries are HUGE.  It seems they have just gotten bigger and bigger as the season has progressed.  I already have something like 10 gallons of berries in my freezer but maybe it is time for one last berry-picking session for the season.  Patrick