In July it will be 11 years since I moved here from Wisconsin. Coming to Alaska was a very good move for me, and one I wished I had made a whole lot sooner in life then I did. Besides the hunting and fishing here there are a lot of other things in Alaska that become very important to me.
I just love the long days in the summer as it gives me all the more reason to stay up and do things instead of going to bed. For me darkness triggers something in my brain that tells me it is time to head to bed. However when it is still bright out I feel like that rabbit on TV that just keeps going and going and going....
Another thing I enjoy about Alaska are the many friends that I have met from all over the world. You may find that there are many people out there regardless of age that have the same interests as you. Some may not get around as good or as fast as you but still have the same burning desires to be out in the wilderness as you. In some cases they may even surprise you in how fast they can cover ground while hunting.
One of these guys that never ceased to amaze me through the years was Ted Knight. Ted was already 74 years old when I met him and even took me on my first ever Caribou hunting trip. Ted and I went on many hunting and fishing adventures through the past eleven years despite Ted being 34 years older then me.
One thing that was consistent with Ted was that he was also your friend. He never forgot that part of his relationship with you. Ted generally greeted me the same way each day “Hello Kid.” Even if Ted was having a bad day you count always be assured of him being your friend and he consistently treated you like one. No matter what type of adventure I wanted to go on he was interested in going. Not till his failing eyesight got to be a problem in the last few years did Ted ever think about not going on an outdoors adventure despite being over 80 years old. From the biggest to the smallest adventure Ted was ready to go. We dug clams together, ice fished, dip netted salmon, caught hooligan, flounder, went king salmon fishing, halibut fishing, caught rainbows, and dollies, pinks, and he never seem to tire of the Alaska outdoors. His enthusiasm and love for the outdoors was a constant inspiration to me.
He was perhaps the best camper I ever hunted with, a true professional and he taught me many things about camping and surviving in even the most extreme situations. We shared many stories of hunting and fishing adventures over a cup of tea or in one of our fishing shacks. Often times my visits to his home were filled with questions about new drilling practices on the North Slope. We both shared one thing in common we both worked in the oil fields of North Dakota. Ted lived in the Watford City area and I lived in the Williston area.
On the morning of Monday April 10th Ted had a stroke and died at the age of 85 while I was working on the North Slope.... I returned home at 4 pm on the 14th and after a brief meeting with Ted’s wife Della and the family went home changed clothes and drove to the funeral home where I conducted the funeral service at 6 pm that evening. That was without a doubt the hardest thing I ever endured having to say good-bye to my special friend while standing in front of a room full of Ted’s family and friends.
We shared many of our hunting and fishing adventures besides just every day situations we all shared with Ted through out the years. I have to tell you this one hurt, this death created a hole in my heart that will take a long time to heal. I feel empty inside over losing such a good friend and I only knew him for the final 11 years of his life.
On my last visit to see Ted and Della just before returning to work on the Slope they gave me a bag of potatoes from his well house and I can still see him standing in the door way of his home barking out instructions for us as we left: “Watch out for the ice, Drive carefully! You too buddy, you too
See you next week!
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