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Author Topic: Alaska.........  (Read 3552 times)

Blueghost

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Alaska.........
« on: December 14, 2009, 09:01:00 pm »

 
 
 
 
     I was reading the survival Blog and the ratings of various states and since in a different forum I've become embroiled in a discussion , indeed an arguement with some folks who have some rather fanciful notions as regards the Far North in general I though I'd vent here.
 
   Prior to going up there * READ AND HEED* what Rawles has to say about Alaska , he's exactly spot on , and speaking as someone with fairly extensive experience in the state and in 'living bush' I wish to the High Heavens some of these hopeless romantics would GET A FREAKING CLUE. 
 
      You need to have quite extensive survival skills for Alaska to be a viable option , you need to be willing to pack everything in on the hoof if it comes to it , you need to plan ahead for any and all eventualities , and I'll bloody damn well GAURANTEE that there wil be something you forget.
 
   Think about something as simple as firewood , you don't just bring an axe and a maul and splitting wedges , you'd best bring a backup for EACH of those , along with a couple of spare handles for each , and you'd best have the skills to MAKE one should you go through those spares.
 
  Lanterns , calculate how much fuel you'll need.........now DOUBLE it , figure out how many spare mantles you need for each lantern.......now DOUBLE it.
 
  This goes for most anything that's a necessity.
 
   And keep something in mind , run out of matches and have no fire source........you die. Cut yourself in what would be a minor way in civilisation , have it get infected.........you may well DIE , fall and break an ankle or leg............you can die , get sick and have no medical supplies.........you may DIE , fall through the ice in 30 below , get wet and have no dry clothing to get into.........you will DIE.
 
   It's not a movie , it's not 'Survivorman' where Les what's his face has folks waiting to pull his fat out of the fire should he really get in over his head.
 
  Yes it's a beautiful and pristine environment , yes there's enough fish and game if you can harvest them. But that beautiful environment is a very harsh mistress that can turn insanely vicious on you with the slightest of mistakes.
 
  I can remember going into a market in GlenAllen once just after spring thaw and standing in front of the produce display of apples and eating three or four right off the stack , after a winter of Bannock , fry bread , beans rice and dried/smoked ( sometimes fresh) meat and fish I'd have killed someone who tried to keep me from answering the siren call of those round fresh delectably red apples.
 
  You'll go in shaved ,with a haircut etc. six months later you will have long since quit shaving , your hair will be past your collar , you may well have not spoken to anyone but your dog(s) ( if you brought 'em with you) in so long that you've forgotten how to carry on a conversation , television will look like something foreign , you'll sit and read every back issue of magazines and newspapers that you can voraciously consume ,using an excess amount of toilet paper will be a luxurious indugence , you'll stand under that hot shower for an hour just letting that water run , you'll go into a restaurant and order not one but TWO whole Cobb Salads ,eat enough Mexican or Chinese to kill a horse , beef and pork and chicken will taste strange and exotic. You'll eat a half dozen eggs and a dozen pieces of bacon and a sitting , you'll luxuriate in warm air from that heater in the hotel and flip the light switch dozens of times marveling at the bright and instant light.
 
  And then you'll at the end of a couple of weeks be sick of the insane amount of people , the traffic ,the smell of exhaust , the noise....................and you'll go back out.
 
   That is if you TRULY have the affinity for it , if not you'll make track for the lower 48 on the first thing smoking.
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iloilo

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Re: Alaska.........
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2009, 09:06:16 pm »

Well stated, blueghost.
Very well stated.
Thank you very much.
ff
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cole

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Re: Alaska.........
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2009, 11:29:55 am »

Amen.

I love Alaska, alas Big Army says it's high time to leave.  In April, my wife and I PCS to Ft Hood, TX.

Alaska is a demanding place.  It's not like back in Oregon, where the average unplanned hike will go fine.  Maybe you'll see a bear (who will run away), or even a cougar (they're usually busy with the farms).  In Alaska, you don't go out unprepared.  You will die.  The bears aren't that scared of you, and neither are the moose (would you be if you were the biggest thing around?).  Hell, the wolves here want to eat your dog.

It's around -25F today, noticeably warmer than it was a couple days ago (when it was -35F -- at first, I believe the idiom "you can't notice anything colder than -20, it just sucks" but now I know that's not true).  Go outside without gloves and good headgear, I dare you.  Don't wear the proper footwear, either.  I dare you.

I disagree with the romanticism comment.  If I could convince my wife, I would stay here.  Maybe even build a cabin (there are plenty of dry cabins around).  Agriculture here in the Interior is kind of difficult, what with the late summers and harsh winters.  I had to add special nutrients to my flower garden -- but one of my neighbors has a big garden patch, and she grew some enormous vegetables.  It can be done.

But it takes time to learn these skills, and Alaska has a steep learning curve.
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"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home... We ask not your counsel nor your arms... may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."
   Samuel Adams, 1776

Blueghost

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Re: Alaska.........
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2009, 07:54:54 pm »

But it takes time to learn these skills, and Alaska has a steep learning curve.

 
 
 
    And the consequences of not passing the tests or getting a failing grade can well be pain and death ,or a very expensive plane ride out of the bush ,if your radio is up and working and they get to you in time.
 
 But that is at it is, you either accept or you don't go back , and many things make it worth it. Watching Otters slide down the bank into the Mulchatna over and over and over ,their own personal playground slid. Tramping in eighty miles to spend a weekend with a friend and his wife for her birthday and walking out on the porch in the morning with a cup of coffee with a big slug of Steel Schnapps in it and having Old Girl Denali slap you in the face in her magnificent white robed glory so hard that it makes your heart go THumPety THUMP THUMP.
 
  Watching an ancient bull walk his way out of a pond from the spread of his antlers brushing the water growing larger and larger and larger and larger and larger as he shambles his way up onto the bank.
 
  Late nights leaning a rickety chair against the cabin , smoking that last hand rolled , every star so sharp and clear that you could reach up and hold them nestled in the palm of your hand , the soundtrack of a distant pack talking to each other back and forth , the curiousity and desire to know what they're after burning in your belly but knowing they're a dozen miles away.
 
  The first ripening berries of the year and the butterflies as you nervously fill your hat , you know he's around here somewhere , you heard his chuffing and grunting earlier and that redolent bear smell is tickling your nostrils , but those berries will end up being so delectable in your morning pancakes , and then scampering away feeling like you got off with Fort Knox as you hotfoot it away from HIS patch.
 
  A Marten examining you unafraid from a branch over your head ,nose wiggling and wrinkling at that sordid smell of human. The eagle that lights on your fish rack and makes off with a split for a free meal, but you don't care at the small price to pay for looking directly into that pure, hard and dangerous eye ,proud and unsubmissive.
 
   Standing atop a ridge looking down into a completely uninhabited valley , wondering how long it's been since ANY man has been there ,if ever , wondering if you're the first crazy ,shaggy half-breed to cruise through and make it 'yours'.
 
  These are the memories that one can't ever pay the land back for , she asks no price but your co-operation and stewardship and learning the lessons she has to teach you.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2009, 07:57:31 pm by Blueghost »
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iloilo

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Re: Alaska.........
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2009, 11:19:07 pm »

Thank you again blueghost, very nicely stated.
ff
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