Trish and I were going to go RVing, just her, I and the pups, but then she felt sorry for Tyler as it was his birthday Sunday and he really wanted to go ATVing with me. So she stayed home and Tyler and I headed out. Now this wasn’t just a fun and play weekend, this was a working weekend, which might of helped Trish decide to stay home , any way, the weekend was set to brush out the property lines for the 20 acres were splitting with Tiff, Deans Daughter, off the Steese Hwy.
It’s beautiful high mountain country. The property sits at around the 3250 foot elevation mark, with lots of deep valleys and wild rivers, close to the Steese Conservation area. Lots of Caribou in the area late in the fall and some good Moose country. Best of all its excellent gold country if you’re into trying your hand at a little gold panning. Humm, might have to consider buying a small recreational dredge one of these days, maybe I can find enough nuggets to offset our retirement Of course panning for gold also means stepping into icy cold river water up to your waist for hours, but heck, as long as it pans out its worth it, yeah right, and I’ll bet every other gold digging fool thought the same thing. But one never knows, maybe by time I can afford the dredge my old bones won’t notice or won’t care about the cold.
So we arrived Friday evening and set up camp in a nice spot overlooking the valleys and hills. The rainbow in the pictures stayed until after midnight, or so Tyler reported to me in the morning as I was asleep by 9:00. Dean and Tiff showed up at 12:30 and of course that woke me up for a short hi, hello, see ya in few hours and back to sleep.
Woke up Saturday to a beautiful day, the sun was out with a few clouds overhead, but all in all just beautiful. We ate and hit the trail around 10:00 AM heading for the property some 6 miles or so away. Dean’s new pup, Sally, a knuckle headed Golden Retirever was running along his rig when she stopped about ½ mile down the trail, did a little smelling and an immediate about face and took off back to camp. Hum, now just what did she smell, yup, good Ol’Alaskan Grizzy Bear poop. Guess she didn’t care for that smell too much. Dean ended up putting her in the back of his rig and she got to ride. And yeah, there were nice fresh Griz tracks in the trail and seeing how it rained last night, they were pretty fresh, probable a couple hours or less ahead of us. No biggie, just another day on the trails in Alaska.
So we get to the property and take a break then start doing what we came to do, re-brush and re-flag the property lines. One of the requirements of the Land Lottery is that you must brush the property lines once a year during the three year survey and appraisal process the state goes through, so this was our day for 2010. The land we staked sits about ½ above the valley bottom and of course seeing if we could get to the creek was also on the agenda. So after we flagged 3 sides of the acreage, we decided to head down hill. Pretty easy to, for Tiff, Tyler and I anyway, were riding regular sized ATV’s, Dean on the other hand is riding what Tyler called a small Jeep :<) it’s actually a Prowler ATV, nice rig but its 24 inches wider than a regular ATV and so he needs a wider trail. OK, its Alaska, we can build a trail on state land, which were on, by hand. I.E. no tractor, D9’s or anything more mechanical than a chainsaw. So off he goes cutting trail while we continue through the bush to the river bottom.
To make a long story short, Austin, Tiff’s 4 year, got tired so he, Tiff and Papa Dean headed back up the hill. Tyler and I continued on down and made it to the valley bottom, a nice ride and an easy going one at that. There was a fair amount of snow pack in the bottom, it’s that big pile of white stuff in the photos. I did a little walking on the snow pack, hoping it wouldn’t give way and drop me into the creek, while Tyler waited by the ATV’s for me. I did find a small Caribou Rack I gave to Tyler for his wall, his first wall mount rack, well half a rack anyway. Then we headed back up to join the others.
So our two priority items are done, line re-brushed and flagged and we made it to the bottom of the valley. Nothing else had to get done except Tyler needed some shooting time with his new 22 pump action rifle (papa’s present to him) and the rest of the day became an exploratory trip, so off we went south along the Historical Fairbanks-Circle Trail. It was still just a beautiful day and great weather, until we got about 11 miles back in and then the rains came. Good thing I made Tyler pack along his Grandma’s rain gear, it didn’t last long but we did decide to head back. Of course we also had to check out this other trail that I was sure took us back to the main trail, wrong…
A couple miles later and after a bit of discussion, Dean’s theory prevailed, the one saying we were now going down a different valley then we wanted and we turned around. Dang it, he was right, so it was a good call. Of course future trips will have to include further research down this particular trail, hey one never knows just where it’ll take you. We got back to camp by 9:30 PM and I have to say I was tired, but happy.
Sunday morning and were all moving a bit slower than yesterday, stayed up late for dinner and Tyler’s birthday cake. Tiff got the cake and I forgot the candles, so she came up with a great idea, she used wooden stick matches for candles, of course we had to sing happy birthday first so Tyler could blow them out before they burned down to the cake
It was noon by time we got going and it was a slow easy ride. The plan was to get to this trail we could see from camp but didn’t know where it branched off the main trail from. After a false start down a dead end we came to another ridge trail, nope this one didn’t get us there either, but who cares. The view about 2 miles in was spectacular, OK, I want to switch locations now, move the cabin spots about 4 miles north…
The pictures just don’t do this location any justice at all, a big deep valley with a creek running down it, high mountain tops across the valley and spruce forest all around us. We found two perfect gravel benches on the ridge line that would be just right for a couple cabins, oh well, maybe a trespass cabin for hunting season.
And so ends a great couple of days of exploring and ATVing and we had to return home so Melissa (Tylers Mom) could do her thing for her son’s birthday. When I got back I had planned to tell her about his new rifle, but Trish beat me to it. She wasn’t thrilled about, but I did tell her 2 years previous, during Tyler’s 10th birthday that I brought him a rifle, she said flat no then, OK, he gets it at 12 I think she forgot, but Tyler’s happy.
MT Ryan property on Tylers 12th birthday weekend