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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Off to Chase Reindeer

Today Ray, Mike and I are off to the south end of Kodiak to chase reindeer and maybe, hopefully, bring a couple home.  I've done this trip a few times, and have posted a few photos from past trips for your enjoyment.

We plan on floating a river and exploring the countryside from camps along the way.  It is a truly beautiful place.  Just to be out there in the Fall is its own reward.

This area of Kodiak is part of the glacial refugium - the only part of Kodiak that was not covered by glaciers during the last glaciation.  But most of it was mountain tops or large 'pro glacial' lakes.  There was very little flat, dry-land that was not covered by glaciers.

During the last glaciation 18,000 or so years ago glacial ice in Shelikof Strait blocked the rivers flowing off of Kodiak and created the large lakes.  Today the ancient lake beds are the flat plains seen in the photos shown on this post.  Patrick

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Michael and Ryan at the start of the day

Earlier this week I returned to the Kashevaroff Site with Michael O and Ryan C to finish backfilling the site. When I was last at the site everything was lush and green.  Now everything is yellow and most of the leaves have fallen off of the trees. It was sort of weird to be be able to see into the trees.

Ryan went to into the bushes to go to the bathroom and found a sow and cubs just lying there staring at him.  We could see her move occasionally.  She did not run off and clearly could have cared less about us.

The day's backfilling represents the end of the excavation.  We have been digging at the site for 4 years and now it is all over.  Who knows what next year year will bring?

Today the ipod mix had a hard bite to it.  This morning on the way to drop Nora and Stuey off at St Mary's the ipod came up with 'Mrs Robinson' by Simon and Garfunkel.  I almost coughed up my coffee when out of nowhere Stuey asked, 'Daddy, who is Mrs Robinson? Is she a nun?'  Later in the day it played 'Cecelia' also by Simon and Garfunkel, 'She Talks to Angels' by the Black Crowes, and 'Idiot Wind' by Bob Dylan.  Still it left me in an upbeat mood at the end with 'Solsbury Hill' by Peter Gabriel.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Great Outdoors

On Sunday I went for another 'therapy hike' with Philip T.  There is nothing quite like hiking in the great outdoors for helping to put things into perspective.  The outdoors is so big and I am such a small part of it.

Philip and I hiked up the ridge on the left in the top photo, around the bowl in the back, and then back down the ridge on the right.  It was a long hike, and there was some serious bushwhacking involved.

At one point we were sliding down a slope and Philip stopped and remarked, 'right here it smells like fall'. And he's right.  Somehow, despite the warm weather, it is now fall.  How did everything know to turn yellow?  Right now it is far warmer and sunnier than it is in March when things are starting to get green.  Ah life cycles - so complicated.

Today on the drive home from work the ipod mix put up 'I can see clearly now' by Jimmy Cliff.  I certainly hope the ipod mix has it right!


Monday, September 19, 2016

Mountain Biking With Nora and Leo

On Saturday after my hike with Michael I took Nora and Leo mountain biking in Swampy Acres.  It is a 40 minute or so loop on an old military road.  It is just challenging enough for the kids to be fun, but not so difficult that they are forced to walk their bikes.  Perfect place to learn to mountain bike.

Right now the Fall colors are stunning.  The fireweed is brown and the cottonwood leaves are turning yellow.  It is sort of weird how the landscape is so far into fall, and yet, it hasn't been cold.


Getting a drink and eating a snack

Downhill thru the alders

The Buskin River is eating into the trail

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hiking without Rifles

'I still haven't found what I'm looking for' by U2 playing on the radio and a full moon

Yesterday morning as I drove out the road to go hiking with a friend I plugged in the ipod and got an interesting mix of songs to say the least.  'Tangled up in Blues' by Bob Dylan, followed by "I still haven't found what I'm looking for' U2, 'November Rain' GNR, and then to add the ironic touch 'It's a big old Goofy World' by John Prine.  Do these devices sense our mood when in 'mix' mode?  Needless to say, the mix of songs did put me in a particular frame of mind for the hike.  It was also good to know that I am not the first, nor will I be the last to be in this predicament. 

Since the end of the last blog, I've been doing a lot of therapeutic hiking with friends.   Friends who mostly listen but who also counsel. On Thursday I hiked the Monashka Mountain - Reservoir Ridge loop with Lisa and Gregg, on Saturday I hiked the Red Cloud Canyon - Blueberry Bowl - Bear mountain loop to Golf Course with Michael B, and today I hiked the Erskine Bowl - Deer Mountain loop with Philip T.  All spectacular hikes (photos here just from the second hike).

Generally at this time of the year when I go hiking it is with a gun and the intent is to harvest a deer.  But as Gregg tongue-in-cheek put it on the first day - 'no guns on this hike'.

It has always been my belief that when you are hunting you are so much more aware and see so much more into the landscape.  You are looking for deer, and are observing the terrain closely - looking for sunny spots in the lee, areas of good browse, which direction is the wind blowing.

But I must admit I have really enjoyed just hiking and not paying particular interest in anything.  Just ambling along, chatting away across the alpine tundra, and soaking in the scenery.  It is a completely different experience, and one that I have been surprised to find holds merit in its own right.  I think there are more 'hikes without rifles' in my future.

And today on the car ride home the ipod mix picked out 'Angie' by the Rolling Stones.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Last Post on Old Blog

A picture of the pack from the first month of the blog

Stuey's first Christmas Card

This blog is over 10 years old, there have been over 2600 posts, and it ends today.

When it began the family or 'pack' only included Zoya, Me, Roxy dog and a one-year-old Nora.  Jake dog came and went during the life of the blog, and we added Stuey, Tank, and Sheba.

Whenever I see a blog end abruptly I always wonder what happened.  Did people get bored of blogging, did someone get injured, marital problems?  Well our blog is ending because Zoya is leaving me - the pack of animals this blog was all about will no longer be whole.  And yes it is a complete surprise for me too - I even had a few more posts about our Labor Day weekend trip to Afognak to put on here. 

I did not have an inkling that this was going to happen.  The 'I'm leaving you' was completely out of the blue - like a bad joke.  Perhaps if you look back through the summer blog archives you will see some hints of impending disaster. I certainly did not.

It just goes to show that life is a fickle journey.  One moment you are in bright sunshine and all is well, and then the clouds come over the sun and it starts to rain.  But nothing lasts forever, and the sun will shine again.

Anyway, I plan on starting a new blog  - A Smaller Pack - and it will document the adventures of the new family pack.  Me, Nora, Stuey, Tank, Sheba, and Bruno.  This will be the first post there and the last one here (unless Zoya has a post to add).

I promise no complaining and regrets will be on it.  It will be all about 'tending' my new 'garden', and creating happiness with what I am lucky to still have.  And I do have a lot to be thankful for.

Here is the link,



My 30th Reunion (fogged in in Kodiak)

This summer on Afognak