I went hunting over weekend with some friends and am just now recovering to my full,
functional self. In retrospect, I probably should have asked more questions of my companions before we left, but was more concerned about keeping warm wherever we were going than in the actual destination (which ended up just about 75 south of Prudhoe Bay on the Dalton Highway).
We were successful – I got some great photos. Stefan “caught” his first caribou. We all stayed warm. We had a blast. I got my ass kicked.
The three of us – Stefan, Ian, and I – covered nearly 900 miles by car, 10 miles by foot over relatively flat, but rugged terrain. We sampled a variety of frozen foods: reindeer sausages, cheese, apricots, cashews and loads of granola/Clif bars. I disc
overed I have a love that matches no other for the truck stop at Coldfoot (who knew?) and that Stephen Colbert’s new audiobook is absolutely hilarious.
I will add photos soon, but for now, here is a summary of our “quick” jaunt up to the Slope. (Note that times are a rough estimate, we didn’t look at a watch often):
.: rise and shine, finish packing bags
3 a.m. pick up the boys, load the truck and begin our 450-mile drive due north to the North Slope.
.: arrive at spot – approx. 76 miles from the arctic ocean. Do a little scouting, make a little dinner.
.: Darkness means bedtime. Temps. drop to about 10-15 degrees
. Wake up with the sun, breakfast, packing up, etc.
. Begin our five-mile hike with sleds and in giant moon boots across snowy willow and tussock.
.: See caribou that comes close enough to shoot. No shot. Set up camp and realize we are out of fuel. Eat frozen sausages and for dinner. A granola bar for desert. Ration water.
7:30: in bed
.: rise and shine – well, no shine, the sun isn’t up yet and everyone was just excited. It’s cold. Eat frozen sausages and cheese for breakfast.
9 a.m. Spot a caribou. Chase him. He runs away.
10:30 a.m. Spot a herd close to campsite. Boys lie in wait for a half hour. Stefan shoots three times. Dead cow. Rejoice.
.: Butcher cow, pack sleds.
. Begin long sludge back home – with much heavier sleds. Oh, and it is snowing.
. Arrive at truck just as sun is setting and the temperatures begin to fall dramatically. Load truck with frozen fingers.
.: Begin drive home.
. Stop in Coldfoot, the only truck stop on the North Slope. Drink lots of water, we are parched and joke about how our tongues have been expanding due to lack of hydration. Order cheeseburgers just minutes before kitchen closes.
.: Arrive back in . Drop off Men and Meat. Head home.
7 a.m.: Sadie heads straight to bowl of food and eats like a ravenous tiger. We both crawl into bed and I sleep until 11 a.m. Sadie won’t wake up until Friday.