Sunday, July 15, 2012

Kevin, Oysters and Bear Shit


I've been flying around with my boss lately to the Noatak, Canning, Koyukuk...It never ceases to amaze me how he can land and take off on a strip that's maybe 200 feet long. 



 View from the Noatak River.

The Stinson. 
 A couple days ago we were eating oysters with the Coldfoot trooper when my boss says, "We should get Nat flying in the Stinson so she can do beer and oyster runs for us to town." I love this job.

Flying over the Brooks range and about to enter the clouds of doom. 
Kevin. The oversize load driver that picked me up. 
 I went on a quick 3-day trip up north that turned a bit more epic than I would have liked. Kevin was the kind gentleman truck driver that picked me up hitchhiking.


They say that when the fireweed stops blooming then summer's over. Looks like I still have a couple weeks.


I went up a drainage about 8 miles, then climbed up and over a pass that was still snow-logged. As much as I love them, Keen sandals were not the ideal footwear on this trip...





It seemed like the bear, that left these piles of shit everywhere, was following exactly the same path I was taking. I had my bear spray and gun at the hip. 

Right before it started pouring rain. 
 I dropped my pack around 6 pm and raced up to some glaciers up the valley. Two hours up on a 6,000' scree slope and it started pouring. It was 40 degrees out, windy and dumping rain.
 I was only wearing my bugshirt, bra and pants at this point. All my warm clothing was 4 miles downstream by my pack. I was pretty miserable. It was type 2 fun at this point.


At least I got to the glaciers right?
 It took me an hour of jogging over scree and tundra tussocks along with some sketchy glacier river crossings to get back to my pack and set up camp. I've never had to strip before getting into a sleeping bag before, but there's a first time for everything, and it was a good lesson learned.

Next day I hiked 15 miles through a drainage, camped the night, and got picked up the next morning by a city council member from Dutch Harbor that decided to try his luck at goldmining up North. He had a big take-out box of lemongrass chicken, which he gifted me after looking at the sad state of my drenched clothing.

Lesson learned.

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