Friday, September 18, 2009

Interesting Day - The Almost Moose Hunt

Those of you on Facebook have probably already heard about our almost moose hunt. For those of you who haven't or want a longer more detailed story, sit back, grab a drink and let the good times roll. Eric and I were all set to leave for our moose hunting trip yesterday. We got all of our equipment down to the lake (we were taking a float plane). Before I continue, I need to tell you that this was my first experience in a float plane so naturally I was a little nervous. These planes seat 4 people! We got everything loaded and the pilot takes off. We are only flying about 500 ft above the ground. You can see everything and it looks so awesome. Well about 12 miles into our 40ish mile flight we hear a POP and then the engine goes quite. Good thing we were above a pretty good sized pond. Eric taps the back of my seat and tells me to brace myself. The pilot set us down on the lake like it was a natural landing. As we landed we could see oil in the pond draining from the engine. Luckily he was talking with the owner of the plane/company (Renfro's Alaskan Adventures) and he just happened to be flying in that same area. He double check to see if he would be able to land in that area on tundra tires (big, fat tires, not regular tires). He was able to, but he had to land about 1 mile from where we were at. That meant hiking across uneven tundra! This was were the fun really started. For those of you that don't know what tundra is like, it is rather spongy and there can be little creeks running through it. Some of these creeks are really shallow and others can be really deep (keep this in mind!) We came across one of these creeks about 1/4 mile into the hike. Eric was walking a little ways to my left and Chip (the pilot) was walking a little ways to my right. We all were trying to find the best place to cross. I was watching Eric and it looked like he was having a hard time finding a spot so I kept looking for my own. I found a spot that looked good. I took the first couple of steps just fine and then with the third step I almost disappeared. I'm not lying. Before I knew it I was up to my chest in this little creek and for the life of my I COULD NOT, I repeat COULD NOT find the bottom of this creek. I was in waist waders thinking I would be okay, but my momentum kept me going forward and I ended up filling my waders!!!!!! Eric had already crossed by then and came running to me and Chip was still searching for a crossing and came to help also. Luckily Eric was able to help pull me out since I wasn't able to find any footing to move myself forward. After I got out we still had to go about 3/4 mile and I think I was a good 5-10 lbs heavier. Not good especially when walking on the spongy/uneven tundra. By this time we could hear the "rescue" plane coming so we started hurrying as fast as we could. Chip (who was only wearing hip boots) was still trying to find his way across. Eric and I got to the rescue plane (which was on tundra tires so it could land pretty much anywhere) and I was loaded up immediately (it was a Cub 2-seater; me and the pilot). This was my first time in a plane this tiny also! We got back to Bethel in about 10 minutes and I was unloaded so he could turn around and go get Eric. We were in a time crunch because the sun light was fading fast.

So now we sit and wait to see what actually happened to the plane to see if it is an easy fix or if it was a major fix. We may or may not get out moose hunting.

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