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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A trip to the South End

Fall colors in the Refugium

On Sunday Ray, Mike and I returned from a hunting trip to the South End of Kodiak.  We brought home a lot of meat and spent the last 2 days cutting and packaging the fruits of our labor.  We almost ran out of freezer space!

Our hunting trip was to the Ayakulik Flats region of Southwest Kodiak.  This area is part of the 'Refugium' - an area of Kodiak that remained ice free during the last episode of glaciation.  At that time there was a glacier in Shelikof Strait and it acted as a dam and created a gigantic lake that covered the entire area where we were hunting.  Today the former lake bottom is a broad swampy area with a river running through it.  We joked that it was the swamp that the hobbits had to cross on their way to the Land of Morder in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

This area is also where Kodiak's reindeer herd hangs out.  Reindeer are domesticated caribou and were brought to Kodiak in the 1920's to provide an economic opportunity to the Alutiiq people living in the village of Akhiok.  In the 1950s there was a big fire near Akhiok that burned the corrals and all the reindeer escaped to the North and went feral.  At one time there were thousands of reindeer living in the Southwest corner of Kodiak, but the population crashed and today, the last I heard, they number around 400 or so.

One of the goals of our trip was to bring home a reindeer.  We also expected to see some spectacular sights, enjoy some 'teepee time' camaraderie, and have an adventure.  The Flats did not disappoint.  Patrick

Camp bear at the Bare Creek Campground

Reindeer by the river on the Ayakulik Flats

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