Google Real Alaskan Adventures in the Wild of Alaska: February 2012

Eat Well, Sleep Well- Enjoy the Hunt!

I see a lot of folks head out into Alaska's backcountry with all sorts of gadgets and types of food. Food is one of the most important areas of your trip. A well planned daily menu can make for a more enjoyable expedition. The nice thing about rafting in Alaska's backcountry is the fact that you have more room and space for the nicer things in life-food, cots and chairs.

When you work all day at a hunt in Alaska you are dead-bone tired by the end of the day. Nothing can perk you up like a great meal, a chair by the campfire and a comfortable cot at night. When I say great meal I am not talking about somethinmg out of a bag or can(trash). I am talking about food from scratch!
Breakfast should include buscuits, gravy, eggs, sausage, potatoes with garlic and juice/coffee. These type foods stick to your ribs and stay with you the whole day. Lunch can be light such as sandwiches and for dinner, go all out! Take frozen meats, steaks, frozen crab etc. These things will last the first half of your trip before they begin to go bad. Toward the end of your trip you will have found fresh fish and hopefully a little fresh game meat to get you through the rest of the expedition. I sometimes will take ice cream for a treat!

Point is, don't skimp on your food items, they are too important. Anyone who has hunted Alaska with me knows they are in for a real meal treat! Pouring boiling water in a plastic bag for a meal is no way to eat out here! Sure you can take some for backup, that's always a good idea, but they won't do much for hard working bellies!

I always use cots too. If you can't sleep well at night you can't hunt well by day. Lack of a comfortable nights rest makes for a pretty miserable day and I have seen many a traveler here have a horrible time of it because they did not prepare for a good nights sleep. Don't skimp on the bedding!
Lightweight chairs and cots are worth their weight in gold in the bush. Being able to sit down and lean back against something takes away a lot of the aches and pains you acquired all day.

Bears Can Fish!

This Brown Bear was having a field day on a river in the Cordova District here in Alaska. This time of year the rivers swell with thousands of fish which makes for easy pickins!

Alaskan fisherman are accustomed to bears after fish in the same fishing hole. A bit of the nerves are twitching but given their space they generally will go about their business. UNLESS it is a sow with cubs, in that case it is best to reel in and go to another spot. CUBS cause trouble wherever they are as the sow will generally not tolerate any disturbance to them.

Excitement is Building!

As you can see from this native New Yorker's (Pat) expression the adventure is about to begin! He was a bit apprehensive as he had never used a raft before but it did not stop any one of them from trying-a prerequisite for any adventurer!
Bruice, Pat and Tommy have hunted the western states of the Lower 48 but they were in awe of the sheer size and magnitude of Alaska.

They had read my blog and listened to my advise via several phone converstions before they came and it proved to make a big difference in the quality of their trip. After we had loaded the rafts and headed down river a few miles it was time to set up camp, go through all there gear in order to know where everything was and then relax for the first night. Pat is in the background and fellow Alaskan Mike Heinz in the foreground. He is a retired surveyor and taught all the guys how to use there GPS's. A must if you are trying to get to a pick-up point 80 miles downriver by a certain date to get picked by by the planes.

If you do this sort of thing as long as I have it becomes second nature to have comfortable camps and eat right. What was for dinner that first night?
Fresh Tossed Salad/w croutons, sour cream potatoes and FRESH Dungeness Crab! Now, how can you go wrong on a remote Alaskan trip with meals like that! They were GLAD I came along!


What it must feel like to these guys to have flown all the way from New York to end up landing on Twin Lakes in remote Alaska, then unload all their gear only to have the float planes leave you in the middle of nowhere! No help, no stores if you forgot something, no medical help or town within hundreds of miles if you get hurt. That's Alaska-you gotta love it!
It takes several hours to blow up the rafts and load your gear before you head down the Chilikadrotna River which flows out of Twin Lakes just a few yards from where native New Yorker, Bruice Sermonis is standing in this photo.
It's white water but relatively tame-one I thought would suit these guys who were new to the Alaskan Bush. Rafts are by far one of the best ways to see wild Alaska and the Chilikadrotna on listed as one of Alaska's Wild and Scenic rivers. LOTS of good fishing too! 

They Followed My Advice and Took the Plunge to ALASKA!

Three fellows who read my blogspot decided to take the plunge! All tolled they spent about $3000.00 each to make the trip to Alaska but they went first class most of the way. They rented two rafts-the first time they had ever used rafts I might add. MORE about that later!

All great trips to the Alaskan bush require using float planes or small planes on wheels. As you can see from the photo it took three aircraft to get all their gear flown in. There is just no other way to get to the pristine Alaskan wilderness you all dream of.
Usually I have other plans during the fall hunting season but one of the men from New York was an old friend of mine so I decided it best to tag along and keep these guys out of trouble. For the most part, it helped!
I'll be adding more to this story soon but remember these guys started at home in NY, read all they could from my blog and other places and took the plunge to Alaska. I am sure they will see the blog and add their own comments about the trip but they made it very clear that it was indeed a trip of a lifetime...stay tuned.  Scotty  

It's Only 210 miles to camp! As the Raven Flies

210 miles to most folks don't sound like much. Let me tell you how "close" that really isn't in Alaska. I left my home on Bald Mountain and headed for Moose/Brown Bear camp on the Bering River that lies east of Copper River Delta country. In Alaska, that also means you are close to Yukon Territory and in the middle of nowhere!

The first leg of the trip is the easiest; you drive to Whittier, Alaska. It is a beautiful drive along the Turnagain Arm with 10-12,000 ft mountains out the driver's side window and the ocean out the passenger's side. then arrive at the Anton Anderson tunnel in Portage. Once there, we wait for clearance to drive through the tunnel. It's the longest highway tunnel in North America (13,300' or 2.5 miles). Which a train also uses, you definitely want to WAIT! Visit the tunnel site for more details and take a virtual drive at

Coming out the other side you find yourself in Resurrection Bay and Whittier Alaska. A fishing community and also where the road ends. Now we must wait for the Alaska ferry to arrive. It is scheduled to leave Whittier tomorrow morning at 5am and arrive in Cordova. Our progress and the time it takes begin to leave our control at this point, that's Alaska!

While we wait for the ferry, Ill explain why we need one to start with. Normally I load up everything in the back of a plane and fly wherever. When you can use the ferry system on any part of an adventure you use it. It's much cheaper and always a scenic ride. The ferry ride from Whittier to Cordova takes 6 hours and covers about 100 miles by water. No only that you take your vehicle along too! They are parked in the bottom of the boat. Great way to go. Check them out at

Photos above show the clustered, twisted mess the vehicles parked in the bottom of the boat were. It was amazing that not even a bumper was touched-during loading or offloading. This time of year all the tourists have left so it was mostly seasoned locals that are used to doing this.

We arrived in Cordova, day two and only 150 miles into the trip. Now we load up the airplane and continue on with the last leg of the trip to camp. When we load the plane that includes an Achilles 13' inflatable along with 20hp motor and all our camp gear and food. But wait, the weather is not good at Kushtaka Lake; our landing site yet another delay... this could take a while. It's all par for the course when it comes to getting around Alaska.

By noon things are looking better and we are off airborne at last! The only thing that will stop us now, is a sudden one!

We fly over some of the most beautiful, vast and human less country in the world. It's real beauty lies in human less! Nature owns this land and you are always at peril-damn I like that!!!

On our approach to Kushtaka Lake we notice there is no wind at all. Some might say good. Not true. In a DeHavilland Beaver floatplane you sit about 6-7 feet above the floats. When there is no wind or breeze the water is like glass and you cannot tell how close the floats are to the water as you touch down. YOU MUST KNOW THAT!!!! Just getting to camp in Alaska is risky, damn risky. Lower 48 take note' this ain't no pony ride!

Fortunately, Kushtaka Lake is large and we were able to feather the Beaver in ever so gently. We taxied up to the bank and began unloading our gear. Better have those waders already on cause you can't get as close to the shore as you would like with a heavy load. There were Brown Bear tracks everywhere! Looks like a good spot. However, we are still not all the way to camp.

We blow up our raft, load all our gear and motor over to the mouth of Stillwater River which spills out of Kushtaka Lake. About 5 miles down the Stillwater you hit the Bering River. We had to use our oars to navigate the swift Stillwater River; it was flooding and anything but "Still". It's also shallow with large boulders everywhere, which meant no motor! Two hours later and right at sunset we finally arrived at our camp. It was a LONG 210 mile journey, but quite typical in terms of traveling about the A

First Go at Rafting in Alaska

Some folks from New York State followed my blog and advice! This is Bruice Sermonis from Campbell, New York giving it his all as he begins his first rafting trip down the Chilikadrotna River in Alaska. His traveling buddies, Pat and Tom are at his left and behind him. All three are attempting, for the first time, to use this type of raft. Pat and Tom seem to go about the river much like a pin ball does but they all three soon got the hang of it.

Kudos for all three! Nothing ventured, nothing gained!