Saturday, November 11, 2006

Ryan & Heather's Fall Update

August-September 2006

Fall has come to our home, turning the landscape into bright splashes of orange, yellow & red & dropping the night temperatures into the 20’s.

Darkness has also crept into our nights bringing with it sparkling stars, the immense fall moon & amazing green, red & purple northern lights that dance across our sky.

We have been spending most of our days preparing for winter by gathering firewood & cranberries. And with the fresh north wind, the trout started jumping & we filled up the last of our pint jars with fish to help supplement us during the winter months.

Of course we have also taken a few days off to do a couple of last hikes along the ridges.

It has been breathtaking as usual to look over this vast colorful wilderness. Hiking the ridges & looking out to the far away peaks & valleys has also been fascinating as we have begun to read about the surrounding area, the land & ecosystem, the native people & the old mining & fur trapping communities that dotted this rugged landscape.

September began with our first bear visit. While we were busy jarring fish one evening Heather stepped outside to take a piss. She had barely gotten her pants down to her ankles when she heard a large snort & looked up to see a small grizzly, about 25 feet away, tear off into the bushes.

During our first week in September we also received our first mail delivery.

It took two sleds to pull up all our letters & packages. After all the mail was brought into the cabin we spent all day reading letters & munching on treats!

It was so nice to read the newspapers & get all the wonderful food people sent! Thank you!

Thanks also to everyone who sent sinus infection cures. It looks like the nasty sinus infection is getting under control.

In the middle of September we joined friends Ed, Carrie & Emil to go moose hunting down the river.

We had a wonderful week, first hiking the valley looking for moose, then climbing a mountain to look for sheep & then later floating for five days down the river looking for moose again.

We had an exceptionally warm September. The temperatures have been in the 60’s and 70’s and instead of snow & ice we’ve had sun & rain.

Because of this, moose hunting was bad this year. We, like many others, floated into town empty handed.

We did, however, have a wonderful trip & even had a couple of stories of the moose that got away. Or rather, the moose that wouldn’t step out of the willows & instead won in a stand-off with patience & the encroaching darkness.

We arrived in the nearest town, or as we’ve taken to calling it “the big city” (Pop. 31), in time to attend our first city council meeting which lasted 30 minutes & consisted of setting policy to stop people from joy-riding on the snow plow.

We took our last hot shower for the next year, ate a three-dollar handful of grapes & prepare to take the last, last plane back up north.

After we are dropped off, the float planes will fly to Fairbanks signaling the end of fall & solidifying our isolation as even the nearby town’s airport won’t be flying planes our way ‘til next summer.