Often times those out of state phone calls go something like this: What time of the month should I take my vacation in Alaska? For all around summer fishing the best time is July. What should I bring along for clothes and gear? Bring the least you can get by with so you have more room to take fish back with you. What will the temperature be like up there? Some where's between 65 and 80 degrees on the Kenai Peninsula. Does it still freeze at night up there? Normally it does not freeze here in July. Are there any other tourists up there at this time of the year? Yes there will be plenty of other tourist here in July. How long is it light out up there? Oh something like 20 to 22 hours of day light in the summer. Will I see any moose this year? Yes you will see some moose. How about bears, think I can spot some bears? If you work at it by glassing for them you should be able to find some bears.
Each year there are many questions asked by our relatives and friends who are coming to see Alaska for the first time. And year after year we basically answer many of the same questions over and over again. These people often times are so in awe at the pristine beauty of Alaska once they get here that they sometimes fail to ask any more questions. They simply take in all that Alaska has to offer with a smile on their face and a distant look of happiness. These are the easy ones to deal with and in most cases they become very pleasant people to be around.
However there are also a few extreme characters out there that fully expect you to show them every bird, animal and fish the state has all within three blocks of your home. Everything they saw in that Alaska wildlife video they think we have roaming the outskirts of Kenai and Soldotna! The same type of individual also wants you to take him on a musk ox, moose caribou, deer, and sheep, hunting trip in the same area. What do you mean it cost $1250.00 to fly in there to hunt? I only paid $400.00 to fly over 5000 miles!! How many of these goats can we shoot for $1250, we ought to be able to shoot the whole herd for that kind of money! We can only shoot one goat a year in some places and only one every four years in other places. How much does that cost you per lb then? We are not buying the goat meat; we are simply paying a bush pilot to fly us into a remote area to make it easier for us to have a successful hunt. We can walk in too but by the time we get there the season in this area will be over.
Do you think we can pack out a whole moose all by ourselves from this area? Your guest points at a remote spot on a map barely assessable by foot and about thirty miles from the nearest road. No that would be impossible without the help of either a plane or horses. What? How much can you carry on your pack? I could maybe carry 50 to 60 lb comfortably but not for thirty miles. I have carried as much as 130 lb but only for 2 1/2 miles. Besides that a moose is so big we would have to make many trips to get an animal out that is that big. By the time we got it out the meat would be spoiled and we would be wore out.
The questions go on and on each year and the flow of first time Alaska visitors never seem to stop. In reality we are the lucky ones we live here and know from first hand experience the answers to all their questions. We also know that there is no greater place in the world for living off the land then Alaska. In the past few days I was able to get 20 of my personal use salmon from the Kenai River. Twenty salmon will go along ways in feeding ones family even if he ended up not getting any more. I'm also planning to go catch a few rainbows and kokanee to once again get our freezer stocked back up for winter. I know that by fall I can have a couple hundred lb of mixed fish in my freezer without even having to work at it very hard.
This fall I was lucky to draw a goat tag, sheep tag, and trophy moose if I can be as lucky hunting as I was in drawing these we will have a very big variety of meat this year too. I'm also hoping to be able to flag down a bear too on one of these hunts. If not I'm sure the rest of my family will not be too disappointed in not having any bear meat. Bear meat is not my favorite meat and I'm quite sure it never will be. Edible, not really sure that word applies to bear meat, but certainly not my first choice of food for the table. Maybe that is why many of us here in Alaska have relatives in Texas so we have some place we can send our bear meat! You know they have this mesquite stuff, hot peppers, and lots of sand. The kind you can use to bury stuff in...... See you next week!
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