Salmon fishing, fossil hunting and claim-jumping

Alaskan lake

Dan Billman took us all salmon fishing

Tuesday, July 13, 1982—finished Cat, trouble getting dump truck running. Got five loads hauled and two buildings moved. Dan, Patti, and Jason Sylvia and I went to Kianna Creek in Dan’s 185 Cessna. Dan got one large king salmon and Sylvia caught one large, and one small king salmon—about 100 pounds of fish.

Saturday, July 24, 1982—sent in an order for snowmobile parts and chain saw sharpener. Spread and smoothed the gravel at Dan’s and moved an outhouse for him.

Sunday, July 25, 1982—dug drainage ditch at Dan’s and moved the generator building and leveled the pad for the wind generator. There was a light earthquake tremor at 8:00 p.m. tonight. Mostly a nice day, one light shower.

Monday, July 26, 1982—some folks from Minnesota came up to visit. Worked at Dan’s straightening log buildings, moved the generator. Dan took us all salmon fishing. Flew us out to this good spot. We only got one red salmon—got home at 12:30 in the morning.

Tuesday, July 27, 1982—got gear ready to prospect—Dan and Bob and I flew to Coghill Lake. Saw many Dall sheep, salmon, seals, and boats fishing. Located a quartz outcrop on College Fjord and another on Coghill River—yet another above the glacier. We saw two black bear catching salmon.

Wednesday, July 28, 1982—slept late, visited with Bob and Kahren Rudbeck and took them hiking up Slide Mountain looking for fossils—found a few and a wolverine skull. Nice day, beautiful view, good time.

Thursday, July 29, 1982—went to Dan’s. A couple of people had over-staked our claims (claim jumpers). We called a trooper, and then told them to pull their stakes and flagging and to get off our claims. Went to Glennallen and filed amended claim forms.

Friday, July 30, 1982—Sylvia is canning the 12 salmon that Darrel brought last night. Went to the dump, got a bee sting. Bob and Kahren left for Soldotna at 2:00 p.m. Rained after they left.

Prospecting at Coghill and bear at Coswell

Outline of the state of AlaskaMonday, June 7, 1982—go like hell getting the rest of the gear ready to go to Coghill Lake. Windy here. Watching the weather, hope it will let us get there. Dan with his 185 Cessna will fly his brother Denny and me to prospect in the Coghill River and Lake Area.

Tuesday, June 8, 1982—up early, left Snowshoe Lake late, got to Coghill Lake and made camp. It rained with some fog. It was a great trip over the glaciers to Prince William Sound. We saw five black bears near where we camped, one was a monster! When we landed the plane there, we found a rubber raft that a bear had bit and put holes in it, leaked the air all out. We saw lots of ducks and swans and lots of beavers. We prospected most of the night. It got real late.

Wednesday, June 9, 1982—we prospected several creeks and got a small amount of gold. It will take a more expensive effort to see if this is worthwhile. We saw another black bear from the air. It’s still raining. The first night, Dan tied the plane up along the shore. He slept in the plane and Denny and I each had tarps. We crawled in our sleeping bags and wrapped up in our tarps. These were really tall trees and it was rainy. In the morning we discovered that where Denny had chosen to sleep, the darned water had run in underneath his tarp and he and everything in there was wet. Dan tried to start a fire but we couldn’t get the wood to burn—it was all too wet. Dan would drain off AV gas and we’d try to pour that on the wood to get it to burn, but it just wouldn’t burn. After a few failures like this, we got in the plane and flew over to near Coswell Lake and we got ourselves in to a forester cabin over there. There was dry wood and we got a fire going and got dry. Then we went out and got more wood and brought it is so it would dry out overnight from the heat from the stove. Denny, he chose to sleep up in the loft. This cabin was an A-frame and there were bunks on each side of the a-frame against the outside of the roof.

Thursday, June 10, 1982—I woke up looking a big black bear square in the eyes at two feet with the window between us. He was reared up with paws on the window and was looking at me. When I saw him, I yelled, “Bear! Get the hell outta here!” Dan, he heard that and he happened to be faced towards the side of the A-frame. He rose up so quickly, he hit his head on the A-frame. Then he had to flop around in the bunk and in the sleeping bag to get rolled over so he could see something. His brother Denny, up in the loft, slammed the door shut and stood on it so the bear wouldn’t get up there at him. (These two guys were thinking the bear was in the cabin.) But when they looked around, they saw there was no bear inside. We got all dressed and went out and we could see where the bears claws had gripped the edge of the porch (this is an overhanging lip over the porch) and the bear made a leap off of the porch and it was about 3.5 feet to the ground—he landed on all four feet, 18 feet—six big steps from the porch. You could see where he went running out through the grass and brush and stuff.

So we had breakfast and then Denny and I took guns and went out looking for the bear. A bear that time of year would make awfully good eating. We walked around and we saw paths that the bear had made walking through the grass and stuff. It was trying to rain all the time, but it was easy to track him. But we couldn’t get up to him. Finally later in the day we decided we would go to Whittier and out over Portage Pass in Anchorage. Dan is a pilot and he knows the ways and just how and where to go safely.