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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Last Day of The Season, First Day of My Spring

When planning the move back to the Bush I thought long and hard about the sacrifices I would make and the struggles I could be facing. Little did I know how many struggles and how many sacrifices I would make. More importantly, though, I had no idea of the blessing I would find in the Lower Yukon.
My Sunday, the 4th day of Spring, started off pretty well: I slept in, had a big breakfast, headed to church, and returned home for chores, Facebook, and homework. I got a call, just when I was getting in the groove, from a new friend and local of Mountain Village interrupting my lazy sunny day.

A group of friends wanted to go manaqing (ice fishing for pike) and wanted me to join. I wanted to, but had a ton of chores and little projects to do though, so I said "no thanks." I went back to my tinkering around the house and soon enough, my heart got the best of me. I forgot the number one rule of living in the Bush: never say no when invited out with a local. 

I was a little tired, you see, because Saturday was spent moose hunting and I felt a bit deflated. This day was the final day of moose season and I hadn't yet caught anything... Against my responsible, better judgment, I grabbed a gun, gear, and bottle of water and raced out the door to go play in the wilderness I call my back yard. Filling up the snogo and punching it for the edge of town I caught up to the group and joined them on what would be an 80 mile journey through God's Country to Mt. Kuselvak. 

Somewhere along the way I must have lost my inhibitions about the cost of gas, dropped the thoughts of homework out of an open pocket, and thrown my cares off to the side of that trail because I had a blast! The ride was amazing and the company was fantastic. 

Arriving at the fishing hole, I didn't even get a hook wet before being asked to join a wolf hunt. As if there was a choice, I quickly asked around for gas, if needed, and set out with a new friend and his brother. We rode several miles East and around the mountain spotting wolf, fox, hare, and lynx tracks, but saw no game. Finally I spotted a fox and my companions a hare or two. Focusing on wolves we rode on and on to no avail... We did spot a moose though...

After shooting it, I made quick work of it's tender young body (less than 30 minutes) with my new friend's help, and sent for a sled to pull it home with. Leaving our cleaned meat in the snow on this perfect Spring day we set out to play. 

We climbed the lower peaks of the mountain and cruised through the shadowed valleys below. It was breathtaking, adrenaline pumping, and humbling all at once. What a beautiful way to start my spring, what a beautiful way to end my first winter in Mountain Village.