A cold gust of wind swirled across the lake causing the blowing
snow to dance in long sheets of fog-like ice crystals. They
seemed to come from nowhere and then disappear into the flat
surface of the frozen lake.
It was a pleasant change from the news of the failing economy
and stories of corrupt politicians.The Alaskan wilderness
is my therapy. It gives me a break from all of the bad news
that the Media shoves in our faces every minute of every day.
I don't know what I would do if I couldn't get away from it
all. Bad news, struggling to keep your head above water, and
stress, are the silent killers. It's the kind of a thing that
builds up inside and torments everyone of us. It's the kind
of a thing that causes normal folks to die long before their
time. It's the kind of thing that caused a man in L.A. to
destroy his family and himself. We have lived in a different
kind of world since 911. Lin and I were in the Caribou Hills
in moose camp when the jets hit the Fair Trades Buildings.I
watched the end of the American way of life.I told Lin that
nothing would ever be the same in our Country again.
The life we lead of the "old America", was changed
forever.I knew that the easy way of life was over. I can't
explain the feeling of horror of that day, but I knew it was
changed forever. I knew I was never going to go to sleep at
night knowing all was well.
For me it would be a life without much peace and not a lot
of hope for the old days.
I grew up in the mountains. We were insulated from a lot of
the hassles that most folks had to live with.My life had always
been very slow paced and kicked back. I was never in much
of a hurry to go anywhere or keep any kind of a schedule.
Life was simple.I guess I was lucky. I was able to live the
back-country life style. The only problem with that is I still
can remember what it was like to live that way. Maybe that's
the reason it hurts to miss something like that more than
someone who never experienced it.
Today my old fishing partner, Sid, and I drove his Argo track
rig several miles back into the bush to a frozen lake to do
some serious ice fishing.Both of us couldn't wait to get out
there. I guess we are like a couple of kids going to the Saturday
Both of us are over the 65 year mark but you probably wouldn't
know it by being around us.We get around like a couple of
20 year olds. Not much slows us down.
As for all of the 30 year old couch potatoes sitting around
on their over-stuffed butts eating corn chips, drinking soda
pop and watching the tube...you are already dead..you just
haven't fallen over yet! No, we haven't lived without some
defects. Sid had a cancerous kidney removed last year and
a knee replaced.A few weeks later we were pulling salmon nets
at fish camp on the Cook Inlet.I killed the biggest moose
of my life 3 weeks after cancer surgery, with 39 staples in
my guts.I also have three nice stents in my old ticker. Has
it stopped me from enjoying the outdoors?I don't think so!
My little wife is recovering from 4 more fused vertebra's
in her back. For a total of 7 fused. Will it stop her from
shooting her moose this fall?I very much doubt it.
I often hammer on the younger generation in hopes they will
get out there and live a life of adventure, instead of wasting
their young years doing nothing. Too soon we get old and these
old bodies began to fail. Then we can do nothing. Today, however,
it was about drilling the holes in the ice with my power auger.
The ice was 30 inches thick. I don't drill those holes by
hand anymore. We had our propane heater set up in front of
us, so getting cold wasn't much of a problem. Fishing this
time of the year is slow because the fish are not active in
the winter. It wasn't for the fish that we came, it was just
a bonus, or rather a good excuse for being out there. I only
wanted one big silver salmon. Sid wanted two, and the rest
would be released.We only take enough for one meal. It gives
us an excuse to come back and we don't really like to eat
fish that has been frozen in the freezer. Why eat frozen fish
when you can eat fresh fish. Good idea, isn't it! The only
thing out there was an eagle, who steals one of our fish if
we leave it on the ice. There were moose, wolf and rabbit
tracks everywhere. Other than that, there was no sound except
for the wind blowing the snow crystals across the frozen lake.
Neither of us talk much when we are out there. I guess we
both are caught up in the solitude of the wilderness, and
words seem out of place. I'll be going out there again in
a couple of days. My Grand Nephew, Tyler, and his little son,Bradley,
will be going with me. It will be Bradley's first fishing
trip with me in the back woods. It is time for him to experience
the solitude of the frozen wilderness. Until then I'll keep
the fire burning in the fireplace, and watch the snow falling
down around my mountain.
George"Bubba"Hunt walking "The Wilderness Trail".
The Wilderness Trail can be purchased