Early ’84, trapping and pickin’

man with gray beard playing guitar

Henry Johnson from Nelchina Lodge

Sunday, January 1, 1984—snowing, 5° to 0°. Zoe, James, and Becky visited. Sally came over and we all went to KROA.

Monday, January 2, 1984—some sun, nice day, 4° to 20°. Loaded the snowgo and went to Dinty Bush’s then left to run the trapline. Saw marten track at Blue Lake and the track of a traveling Wolf family near ravine on the trapline.

Wednesday, January 4, 1984—snow last night, and today strong winds, 10° to 20°. I sewed griz rip in my sleeping bag, mixed marten bait, chinked some more in cabin.

Thursday, January 5, 1984—cloudy, 0° to 23°. Nothing on the line, made two marten sets. Saw tracks of two fox. A lot of people are staking at Loon Lake subdivision. Visited KROA, and Henry and Sally—Jim and Mary were there.

Saturday, January 7, 1984—sunny, -10° to -5°. Went to Glennallen. Couldn’t get wolf urine. Sewed lure, bait bags at Patti Billman’s (Dan is in Hawaii). Helped Allen Farmer butcher a road kill moose.

Thursday, January 12, 1984—warm and windy, light snow, 34°. Loaded snowgo and went to Dinty Bush’s, then left for the cabin. Made rat sets on Rat Lake. Saw marten, fox and lynx tracks. Nothing in traps. Emergency repair trap sled.

Friday, January 13, 1984—warm today and cloudy. Made fox set for this lake. Checked marten set and made another marten set. Explored for, and cut some new trail. Nailed some more mink and marten boxes.

Sunday, January 15, 1984—beautiful day. Remade all sets plus three new fox/coyote sets. Got a cross fox, marten and two rats. Left one rat set, skinned fox.

Monday, January 23, 1984—bright sun, -30° to -20°. Walked to wood lot, four trees blown down.

Tuesday, January 24, 1984—bright sun, clear sky and cold. -40° to -30°. Trimmed the four downed trees in the wood lot, cut into logs and piled them.

Wednesday, January 25, 1984—sunny and clear, -49° to -35°. Cut trap trail south, then west to next ridge.

Monday, January 30, 1984—cloudy, 10° to 18°. Ground 88 packages of moose meat at Allen F.’s. Visited with Sally, Darrel, Tom, Jim, and Mary for a while. Harry Billum was killed this day. I will miss him, he was a fine trapper.

Friday, February 3, 1984—it was -5° all day with light snow. Eight inches of snow on the trail to cabin. Made one fox set and one snare for lynx—remade most of the rest. Trouble getting up hill at Blue Lake. Got one marten south of cabin.

Saturday, February 4, 1984—0° to 16°. Cloudy, three inches of snow last night, sunshine this afternoon. Put up radio antenna, works well. Skinned marten and cleaned snow off roof again.

Sunday, February 5, 1984—partly cloudy, nice day, -5° to 7°. Made marten set and put up pole for another. Checked snowgo, cleaned snow off outhouse, and set snare for wolf.

Monday, February 6, 1984—bright sun, -5° to 4°. Chris R. flew Dan B. to Hole Lake and we visited for a while in the afternoon. I’ll get an early start tomorrow to go out. Put one conibear on pole and made another marten box set farther on trail.

Tuesday, February 7, 1984—sunny day, -10° to -7°. Up early, remade most sets on way out to road. Had to leave small sled half way out. Much deeper snow and many drifts, stuck in snow many times. Flat tire on truck. Stopped and visited Cora at Junction and KROA.

Wednesday, February 8, 1984—sunny day, -16° to -4°. Cleaned snow from cabin and woodshed roofs and bedded the dogs. Visited Henry and Sally, Sam, and Jim and Mary. Put belt on Patti Billman’s spinning wheel.

Thursday, February 9, 1984—beautiful day, -20° to -5°. Went to see Jim and Mary Odden. We each got a nice pile of wood out to their place and then home with ours after a nice Mexican supper. Lots of neighbors were at the supper and “pickin” after.

 

 

Advertisements

Sylvia returns, Norman insulates the remote cabin

a pile of firewood

Plenty of firewood

Sunday, November 1, 1981—Sylvia called. It’s been a while since we talked over the phone.

Monday, November 2, 1981—Sylvia called to give me her plane arrival time.

Tuesday, November 3, 1981—went to Anchorage to pick up Sylvia. James went along and Jeff stopped at the lodge to visit.

Wednesday, November 4, 1981—we got some shopping done before we went out to Nelchina. The road was slippery all the way home.

Friday, November 6, 1981—cut up stove wood, built two dog houses, Rusty and I took the pickup to the wood lot and got one load. It’s a nice day this morning, -5°.

Saturday, November 7, 1981—cut and hauled a load of wood, split and stacked it, some other chores too. Of course, I’ve got the dogs to take care of every day. Went to Tolsona Lodge for the Polack party. They Monday,

November 16, 1981—it was -25°. Got up early and loaded the gear and the snowmobile on the truck and drove to the Eleven-Mile Trail on the Lake Louise Road. Jackie and Ken came twice and Jackie drove their truck back to her home.

We unloaded my truck and trailer at Jan’s on Lake Louise Road. Ken and I then drove the snow machines and sleds to the end of the seismic trail, which was about six miles. Then we broke out our own trail to my cabin. We hung up a few times, especially on one steep hill. It was a heck of a time to get up to the top of that. It was getting towards dark and I felt the pressure of finding the cabin. I go in the general direction that I think the cabin is. Ken was breaking trail for me and I was pulling a real heavy load on my sled behind the machine. We broke out into a more open place and I recognized it and knew exactly where the cabin was. I tried to holler at Ken to catch his attention. He got to be about a hundred yards away from me before he stopped and I waved him over and pointed towards where the cabin would be and he started breaking trail in that direction. We got there just as it was getting dark.

Sure glad to have plenty of wood split an the cabin up. We were so grateful to have hot water to make coffee, get warm and I had Chili to thaw out so we could have something to eat. We were very hungry. We ate the first batch of chili. I could tell Ken was really hungry yet and I could use some more. The next package of chili filled us up. He thought it was a really nice cabin. The evening temperature was running -12° to -15°. Did a few things in the cabin and built a trap carrier for the snow machine. Today was a pretty day and it also had kind of a rainbow in the sky. Very unusual.

Tuesday, November 17, 1981—it was -10°. After breakfast, we got ready and I went with Ken halfway to the end of the seismic trail to make sure he got headed out on the trail with no problems. We said our good-byes and he went out to the road. His wife was to pick him up and take him home. I headed back to the cabin. When I got to the upper end of Blue Lake, I set two marten traps and I got a ptarmigan for supper.

Wednesday, November 18, 1981—Rested all day.

Thursday, November 19, 1981—it was -18° when I woke up and it was cloudy with some ice fog. I found I was really stiff and sore today. I got a slow start. I got out on the trapline and made an otter set and some fox and marten sets south and west of Blue Lake. Saw a few ptarmigan tracks and rabbit tracks but no spruce hens. Nothing much near here, only moose and caribou tracks and some marten and fox. Went hunting for bait, didn’t get anything. Ice fog setting in this evening and it’s -15° tonight. I could see the seismic trail from a high hill west of Blue Lake. I must tell Ken that would make a landmark to follow. Not enough snow for good snowmobiling, it’s really rough.

Friday, November 20, 1981—it was -20°. Slept late, need the rest. Lots of frost in the snowmobile gas, I suppose because of the foggy nights. Broke another trap trail to the north, then east, then south, then back home. Set four marten and otter. No fox bait with me. Saw fox and marten tracks and some caribou, otter and moose. Saw a beautiful small lake today. It was really nice out there. It’s -15° at dark. Fixed supper, read and rested. The Coleman lantern lights the cabin in the evening and I cook on the airtight stove. (A type of wood burning stove.) It’s a medium sized airtight. It’s a really nice stove for a remote cabin like this. I’ve got a big firewood pile that I put up last spring just before snow left. I’ll do that again this coming spring so that I’ll have dry wood to use through the winter.

Saturday, November 21, 1981—it got warmer. I made a short trail. There are no fresh tracks of any kind, so I put up insulation in the ceiling of the cabin. It only took 2 ½ hours, but it sure made a difference in the wood it takes to keep the cabin warm. I sharpened my knives here at the cabin too. It’s -10° this evening.

Sunday, November 22, 1981—it was -10° in the morning and 0° at noon. Very bright and sunny, no wind. Measured the ice on the cabin lake. It’s 13 inches with 4 inches of snow on top. I made two sets on the ridge back of the cabin. No new game or fur tracks anywhere. It was really nice all day, but it looks like snow clouds 20-30 miles to the north by east, I can see some really nice peaks from in the higher ridges. This country right through here has little high places. When you get up on them, it’s about 2700 elevation and often times, you get a real nice view. It helps keep track of where you are in the country too, once you learn what it looks like. The cabin stays lots warmer now and heats with less wood since I insulated the ceiling. It’s -10° this evening.

Monday, November 23, 1981—it’s 5° above zero with a light dust of snow falling overnight. It was 8° at noon. I ran both lines today—no fur. Did see a cow and calf moose though. It seems to be much warmer. There is a lot of overflow and water that comes up through the ice and soaks the snow. Plan to go out to the road tomorrow.

 

Hung the snowmobile up on a spruce

1970s Skidoo

Norman flew over the windshield

Tuesday, November 13, 1979—serviced the snowmobile track and found the track adjusting bolt is lost. I have no replacement, so I drove over a 110 miles to Wasilla to get it and a spare belt and some material for the cabin and trapping license. Roads were icy and foggy. Got home late.

Wednesday, November 14, 1979—got up early and worked on the snowmobile, got trap gear ready, cut up some wood and Henry and I checked part of the trapline. Didn’t find anything in any of the traps. Helped Tim haul logs with my snowmobile and sled. It was a beautiful sunset. It’s dark enough here now that we need lights on the snowmobile after 4:00 p.m.

Thursday, November 15, 1979—while pulling a heavy load of wood out, I came to a turn and couldn’t get around it quickly enough. I hung the snowmobile up on a spruce and I went out over the windshield and piled over in the snow. Didn’t get hurt. Things like that happen every once in a while. We went down to Cal’s this evening to weigh out some gold. He’d gotten a black wolf already, and a nice wolverine, a mink and a marten so far on his trapline. He’s doing very well. Checked my trapline and I had two rabbits in snares and one had been eaten by something. I set a snare for a lynx and then when I got back to Nelchina, worked on the cabin floor and started the door—been living without a door.

Friday, November 16, 1979—it started snowing and is still snowing lightly. We got about 8 inches, but the temperature is quite warm. I got wet getting a load of wood. Ate, then went out on the trapline, but no fur is moving in this weather. Picked up some sets that weren’t producing and saw a cow moose and calf.

Saturday, November 17, 1979—last night was Jackie’s birthday and Tim, Mike, Jim and Blake came over here for a while. Then we went over to the lodge for a small party. I tended the bar. Dan Billman was there. He had brought me back four dozen traps that he had gotten for me when he went into Anchorage.