Well this last week was spot on awesome. I got to go to the mountains and answer the call of the wild for a few days and that does the soul good. I left Fairbanks under snowy skies and dropped in on Iniakuk through a hole in the fog with my friend Max in his little Champ. It is a great little plane that is as close to hang gliding as you can get and still have a prop out front. I stayed with the great Paul Shanahan, Slayer of Large Bears and Teller of Tall Tales. Here are some pics:Here's Paul in his kitchen looking for caribou while I take apart my snowmachine engine. The crankshaft seized so I brought the whole mess back into town with me. Damn iron dogs.
Here's Max hand-propping his Champ after dropping me off.Cutting wood with Paul is an adventure in the improbable showing impossible how to get the job done. It was -35F, the wood pile was empty, and Paul's wood hauling sled had just lost a battle with a tree. We had to wrap the chainsaws in sleeping bags so they would stay warm enough to run. Good times.
Fairbanks in the rearview mirror.Moonrise over Iniakuk Lake at 4 p.m. I was headed back to Paul's after looking for caribou and happened to look back over my shoulder. I had to shut off the machine and watch until my camera froze. And then I thought about what happened to Luke Skywalker on Hoth and I got the heck back to Paul's warm fire before I was forced to crawl into the warm ribcage of a caribou I hadn't shot.
Here's Max buzzing the cabin as he comes in to take me back to the bright lights and big city.
Paul's plane hasn't run since freeze up and it's keeping his riverboat and outboard motors company on the edge of the lake.
Here's the main lodge, shuttered and waiting for more snow. There were snowshoe hares all over on highways of packed trails. I've never seen such rabid rabbit density.
Sunset at 3pm with overflow in the foreground adding a little steam to the cold air.