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Go North, young man (or not so young man)

Ghillieman

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Jan 26, 2022
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123
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Florida
After drying out some gear that ended up a bit waterlogged from the previous nights misadventure, we headed up to the top of a terrible road to do some high alpine hiking.

View from the drive up
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The view from where we parked the trucks
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After an abnormally nice day up in the high country we decided to risk camping down near where we spent the previous night. Thankfully we found a spot a few feet higher up and had an uneventful night.
FANTASTIC PICS!
 

Big Fin

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Dec 27, 2000
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15,677
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Bozeman, MT
One of the best HT threads ever.
^^^Yes, X2

Remarkable adventure with the pics and storytelling doing justice to such an amazing place. I cancelled a Brooks Range hunt about 20 years ago. Dumbest thing I ever did. It still lingers on my list of landscapes I hope to explore before I'm in a rocking chair.

Thanks for sharing here @theat.
 

theat

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Joined
Aug 28, 2010
Messages
796
Location
NW Montana
Glad you all are enjoying the pics.

The next couple of days were mostly taken up with butchering the first caribou and packing it and whatever other gear we no longer needed 6 miles up and over a small mountain.
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The first trip was the worst since we had to hike from camp to the caribou, then took a direct route from there. This added a couple miles and lots of unpleasant tundra walking. For the rest of the pack outs we stayed on the ridgeline as much as possible. This added some elevation gain and loss, but eliminated the majority of the tussock terrain. On the far side of the mountain there is a lake about a mile wide and my truck was on the other side. On the last day, we would have to load up and inflate our rafts for one last paddle across the lake.
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Once we made it over the mountain, we found a secluded spot to re-setup the bear fence to protect the caribou meat and gear we brought over.
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theat

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Joined
Aug 28, 2010
Messages
796
Location
NW Montana
For our last full day, I floated across the river with one of the two guys that still had an unfilled tag. We saw a bunch of bulls throughout the day but they were all about 4-5 miles in the wrong direction. We made the hard decision to leave those ones be and not add a ton of work to the last day pack out. That decision was reinforced when we got word though the inReach that the other tag holder had shot a bull that morning a few miles closer to the truck.
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While we were out hunting the other three members of our group had packed up camp, floated another 1.5 miles down river, hiked a couple miles towards the truck, and set camp back up at a suitable spot we had found while shuttling meat the previous day. Some other hunters had used this spot in previous years and left a bunch of trash behind. Some of it looked like it may have been a stash left behind that a bear found, but some was definitely just garbage. A lot of it was Canadian brand MRE's and other Canadian brand foods. This was the third trash cashe that we had found on this trip. We burned what we could and packed out the rest. Always disappoints me how much trash I find left behind by hunters. Just another easily avoidable negative critique of the hunting community.

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theat

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Joined
Aug 28, 2010
Messages
796
Location
NW Montana
Our last day was mostly just hard work. We packed up everything that was left as well as the last of the second caribou and started our slog up and over the mountain to our cashe.
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Thankfully nothing had messed with anything at the cashe. It had been cloudy and cold the previous two days so the meat and hides were still in great shape.
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It took a couple heavy trips to get everything down to the lake, but we made quick work of it. The mile paddle across the lake was a fitting and much easier way to end the trip.
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I have an aversion to cold arctic water so no end of the trip jump into a freezing lake for me, but a few of the group went for a soak.
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The drive back south started pretty rough. It rained for the whole part through the mountains and the road was in pretty bad shape. In a couple spots going over the pass, the ruts were so deep that I was hitting the mud between the ruts with the front of the truck.
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The road muck up there rivaled Breaks gumbo. Took a run through a car wash and two more trips to the diy car wash to get most of the mud out of the interior of the wheels that was causing a bad vibration.
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After a couple days rest and resupplying in Fairbanks, I picked up my new BIL at the Fairbanks airport and headed our for a packraft moose hunt...
 

npaden

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Feb 3, 2011
Messages
4,153
Location
Lubbock, Texas
Amazing, amazing adventure and it seems like you are still getting started on it!

That country is HUGE! Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing.
 
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theat

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Joined
Aug 28, 2010
Messages
796
Location
NW Montana
Awesome thread. I'm a bit envious. Looks like you found a spot where you could keep the sheds and dead heads.

Yes, the last third of the trip took place on regular old BLM and AK state lands where picking up deadheads and sheds is legal. Had to bring the sheep head into the AK Fish and Wildlife office to get plugged to be able to transport it out of state. Also had to get paperwork for all of them to bring them back through Canada.
 

elkrchr

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Jun 26, 2010
Messages
1,181
Location
Three Forks, MT
What an amazing adventure. Thank you for sharing the story with us and kudu's on the amazing photos! Good luck on the moose hunt.
 

Akcabin

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Joined
Jul 11, 2021
Messages
336
Real nice n welcome to ak. Hey the weather is what it is. The mountain tundra looks fantastic this time of year and everything is moving, eating.
Yeppers walking across the wetter muskkeg can take a toll on the body. Should be plenty of berries or maybe too late. Amazing how fast caribou move, they may not be running but it's like they never stop walking.
The moose hunting is always great. Lot of flooding going on so water will be moving fast n deep. And you will be exposed to more sweepers, trees n brush hanging out over the water, that you have to avoid at all costs. Have a saw ready n your load even n low. A good pole to push off can be handy. And moose are heavy making steering difficult. Try to have a plan.
If you harvest one trying to keep them dry can be hard work. But worth the effort though.
Great luck n safe journeys
 

BlueT

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Joined
Jun 6, 2021
Messages
14
Location
MT
That looks and sounds like such a fantastic adventure, I really enjoyed reading it. Your pictures are so amazing too.
 

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