Back to work the trapline

interior showing stove and supplies on shelf

The interior of the trap cabin is cozy and efficient.

Monday, December 6, 1982—got things ready to go back to trap cabin. Weather is warmer.

Tuesday, December 7, 1982—Henry and Sally came and dropped off two batteries. I got a late start, took Darrel’s mail to him. Got one red fox. Found him just as fog settled at dark, lucky! Worked on trap gear, don’t feel like sleeping. Warm tonight.

Wednesday, December 8, 1982—bright and very warm today. Ran line near here, re-baited it and scented it. Broke some trail along ridge of Hole Lake. Made fox set on this lake. Broke trail south of cabin, made one fox and Marten set. Saw a cow moose. Can’t sleep much.

Thursday, December 9, 1982—slept late, nice warm day. Didn’t feel good this morning. Broke more trail and set traps. Red fox thawed out, skinned and stretched him. He had two porky quills in him.

Friday, December 10, 1982—got things ready for the trip out. Saw two moose, had camp robber and rabbit in traps, an owl ate the rabbit. Made one fox set. Caribou had been moving around. Dan Chapel is back.

Saturday, December 11, 1982—cloudy, -10° to 10°. Broke 3 miles on trap trail on Slide Mountain. Set marten and one fox trap. Visited Hoffman’s for supper. Sylvia made an apple pie and lots of coffee cake.

Marking land at Old Boot and Satiety Lakes

whale blubber and skin, looks like sushi

The Dimmicks served us a traditional Inuit/Eskimo meal

Saturday, January 23, 1982—messed around here, read and had a great night’s sleep. The Northern Lights were fantastic—sort of yellow and looked like a gently curving river flowing in the sky.

Sunday, January 24, 1982—split wood, visited Blake and Jackie. Paid them for feeding and caring for the dogs while we were in Minnesota. They gave us two moose t-bone steaks. Boy, were they good.

Monday, January 25, 1982—went to Tazlina for a few hours and came home at 7:00 p.m. It was -41°.

Monday, February 1, 1982—my birthday, Sylvia fixed a good dinner. I don’t feel good today. Worked on a large knife scabbard for James. He’s building a very large knife and I’m making a scabbard for it. It was cloudy and warmer today.

Wednesday, March 31, 1982—loaded some gear and went to Darrel’s and loaded the snow machine sled. Darrel and I went to Old Boot Lake and fixed up our camp there, looked over our staking problems and spent the evening reading regulations and making decisions and plans. It’s been a real nice day, a little windy here. A small herd of caribou was near our camp as we drove up.

Thursday, April 1, 1982—another nice day, very windy. Saw four caribou and ptarmigan while we were making Darrel’s back property line. We got lots of measuring done today.

Friday, April 2, 1982—we’ve been working the last few days trying to get the land we’re claiming on Old Boot Lake lined out. It’s 40 acres and I have to cut trail around it ¼ mile by ¼ mile, by ¼ mile and we’re having a lot of trouble with the back lines to get through the brush and keep it straight. I snowmobiled out to feed Darrel’s dogs and came home for a few things we need. Nice day, but it was cold.

Saturday, April 3, 1982—it’s a very nice day up early, went to Dimmick’s they were not home. Went to Darrel’s and we all went to Old Boot Lake. We got a lot of work done this afternoon.

Sunday, April 4, 1982—we worked on the property lines at Old Boot and Satiety Lake. Got the corner posts and lines in on my 40 acres. Saw a spruce hen. Some really nice trees here. I had a burbot set out, but didn’t catch one. Came out to the road in the evening.

Tuesday, April 6, 1982—visited Henry, called land office and went to Dimmick’s. We ate muktuk, a traditional Inuit/Eskimo meal of frozen whale skin and whale blubber, dried seal, fish and seal oil, then visited Dan and Patti Billman. It was a warm day.

Sunday, April 11, 1982—up early, drove the snowgo to my trapping cabin, got things all done there then went to Old Boot Lake and took pictures of the corner posts. Cut up some trees at a ditch on the seismic trail near the fifth line on Old Boot Lake that Henry stakes. Saw moose caribou, bear, fox, martin, tracks. Parked the truck up to Jay’s place and got to see him and his wife at mile 16 on the Lake Louise Road. Visited Max and Irene Hoffman and did a lot of odd chores around here it was a pretty nice day.

Monday, April 12, 1982 through Tuesday, May 4, 1982—No entries. (This is unusual because Norman always writes in his journal, even if it is about mundane things.)

Wednesday, May 5, 1982—went into Old Boot Lake and painted Henry’s stakes. Saw moose caribou, bear, fox, and marten tracks. Visited Jay and his wife at mile 16 on the Lake Louise Road.

Thursday, May 6, 1982—took canoe behind Ski-Doo into Old Boot Lake. Trail is soft. Darrel went with us to Glennallen. Stopped to visit Dennis and Sally at Tolsona Lake.

Broken leg, -25° and 20 miles from help

man down with broken leg in snow

Norman breaks his leg miles from anywhere

Monday, March 23, 1981—still a little sick, got some things ready to go back to the trapping cabin. I think I sold the Taymond Hanson 160 acres in Minnesota to a neighbor.

Tuesday, March 24, 1981—Mike came over and we left for trap cabin to get traps for the ratting expedition in another area. Ski-Doo is giving me engine trouble. Hauled wood. Put two 55-gallon drums up on the platform Cache. I will store things in them over summer. Put sharp spikes around both cabin windows to discourage bears from trying to get in. Quite tired tonight. It’s really great to be out here at the trap cabin. I think Mike likes it out here too, he is a woodsman at heart.

Wednesday, March 25, 1981—after breakfast, we went to the trap cache and brought the rat traps back here to the cabin. Had lunch and loaded everything we needed to take out to the highway on our sleds. Left the cabin after dinner some time—I was leading on my Ski-Doo pulling a heavy load on the sled behind me.

About four miles out, I was going up a short rise in the trail and gave it more gas. I don’t know how it happened, but I got knocked off my snow machine and landed butt down on a 5-gallon can of gas. My right leg was dragging in the trail in front of the runner of the sled I was pulling when the runner caught on a tree, pinning my leg in between. The Ski-Doo and sled dragged on around the tree and I went airborne and landed in a low place six or eight feet down off the trail.

When Mike arrived, we took my Sorel boot off and all the socks so I can feel my lower leg and find out how badly I was hurt. The right leg lower small bone was broken, knee twisted, and same for the ankle. It was -25° or thereabouts so we wasted no time getting the socks and boot back on. We decided Mike would drive my outfit and I would drive his smaller machine with no load. I got my right foot tucked on the running board and it wasn’t too bad until we got close to Old Man Lake. Mike couldn’t get my Ski-Doo to pull the sled up a short, but steep rise up off a small lake we were crossing. He worked hard and tried everything he knew. The sun slipped down below the trees taking the temperature even lower.

Mike came out to me on the lake to see what I wanted to do. He was concerned about leaving a sled load of gear sitting here. I told him I was cold from just sitting and he should move the sled out of the way so I can drive by and we would go on to Dan and Patti’s, which was about 18 miles from where we were. He did that and we had just gotten out onto Old Man Lake when a local pilot spotted us and taxied over. Mike walked over to him and told him what was up. This pilot offered to fly me to the airport at Gulkana. It was a small two passenger plane and I dreaded trying to get that bum leg stuffed into the close quarters of that plane, and then out again at Gulkana so I refused his kind offer.

When I got to Billman’s place, Patti saw me drive up and came out, took my left arm over her shoulder and helped me into the house. Mike came in on my Ski-Doo a little later and drove me to the little hospital in Glennallen. I have one broken bone, crushed muscle and a wrenched knee and ankle. This of course, wrecked the rat (muskrat) trapping expedition.

Thursday, March 26, 1981—I sure don’t like being in the hospital. Mike and Sylvia came to get me in the evening and when we got home, Charlie came to visit for a while.

Friday, March 27, 1981—Peter and Sam came to visit. It’s sunny today and I’m recuperating, but slow. Sylvia went to a movie with Betty and the kids in Glennallen. There isn’t much for TV here and the movie house in Glennallen is about all we have.

Saturday, March 28, 1981—my knee is red so we went to the doctor and he said it’s okay. He put a walking splint on my leg and I’m walking now—carefully. Went to KROA at Mendeltna for an Italian feed. The lady that owns it is Italian and a good cook. We had a good time there that evening.

Sunday, March 29, 1981—I hobbled up to the lodge once and back home I slept a little and read one book—I read lots of books. It’s a favorite pastime for me.

Monday, March 30, 1981—I laid around most of the day, babying my leg.

Tuesday, March 31, 1981—went to the doctor to take the splint off.

Quiet time at the trap cabin

Man in red parka and icy beard with a dog

Norman with his dog Mike

Tuesday, March 3, 1981—ran the dogs again today, five of them and they did quite well. Went to see Hoffmans—met Max Junior then came home and ate. Fed the dogs and went to Gunsight Lodge.

 Wednesday, March 4, 1981—ran the dogs with Mac in the lead, Chrissy second, then Judy, Micky, Niki and Oscar. They all did quite well.

Saturday, March 7, 1981—I started making hatchet sheaths. Mike called, then Dan called and offered to fly me to Blue Lake so I can stay at my trap cabin a few days. His new plane is very nice.

Sunday, March 8, 1981—left Dan’s about noon. Sam flew with us. We looked over the country. It was really nice, we could see so much of the land—then we landed at Blue Lake and broke trail to the cabin. On the way there, we had no trail. I had to go by where I thought the cabin was. It’s a little over a mile through the brush and trees and I led them to within a few yards of the cabin. The guys were quite surprised how I did that and I just passed it off as an everyday thing. Dan and Sam were on skis and I was on snowshoes. The cabin was just as I had left it. It was a nice day and we had a really good time there. I really appreciated Dan taking me.

Monday, March 9, 1981—a marten has been in my cache here at the trap cabin. He likes noodles and butter. I dried my frosty gear and worked on the dog tie-outs. Went snowshoeing, saw tracks of caribou, wolf, moose and marten. I’m really enjoying being out here at the trap cabin.

Tuesday, March 10, 1981—slept late, don’t feel good. Snowshoed a trail to Blue Lake for the snow machine. Light snow last night, marten visited the cabin. Sunny today. Put out two lines of spruce boughs on the little lake to mark a landing strip for Dan’s plane to land here at the cabin.

Wednesday, March 11, 1981—dressed fur stretching boards last night and more today. Snowed two inches of wet stuff, windy and clearer later this afternoon.

Thursday, March 12, 1981—bright and sunny, got ready to leave. The marten was back in the cache. I ran him away. He scolded much like a squirrel—I imitated him—he scolded more. Dan didn’t show up with the plane to pick me up—something must have delayed him.

Friday, March 13, 1981—up very early. fixed a good breakfast and snowshoed to the trap cache at the west lake, then south to pick up a trap, then back to cabin. Chris R. flew in to visit and Later Dan landed on Blue Lake. He had Mike P. with him. They skied the mile or two to my cabin. After coffee, Dan flew us to his place on Snowshoe Lake. I welded Dan’s Okio (a style of sled often used for freighting). Hauling firewood is hard on sleds.