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Thursday, September 15, 2016

End of the Blog

Picture of the Pack from the first month of the blog

First Christmas Card with Stuey

This blog is over 10 years old, there have been over 2600 posts, and, sadly enough, it ends today.

When it began the family or 'pack' only included Zoya, Me, Roxy dog and a one-year-old Nora.  Jake dog came and went during the life of the blog, and we added Stuey, Tank, and Sheba.

Whenever I notice a blog that ends abruptly I always wonder what happened.  Did people get bored of blogging, did someone get injured, marital problems?  Well our blog is ending because Zoya is leaving me - the pack of animals this blog was all about will no longer be whole.  And yes it is a complete surprise for me too - I even had a few more posts about our Labor Day weekend trip to Afognak to put on here.

I did not have an inkling that this was going to happen.  The 'I'm leaving you' was completely out of the blue - like a bad joke.  Perhaps if you look back through the summer blog archives you will see some hints of impending disaster.  I certainly did not.

It just goes to show that life is a fickle journey.  One moment you are in bright sunshine and all is well, and then the clouds come over the sun and it starts to rain.  But nothing lasts forever, and the sun will shine again.

Anyway, I plan on starting a new blog  - A Smaller Pack - and it will document the adventures of the new family pack.  Me, Nora, Stuey, Tank, Sheba, and Bruno.  This will be the first post there and the last one here (unless Zoya has a post to add).

I promise no complaining and regrets will be on the new blog.  It will be all about 'tending' my new 'garden', and creating happiness with what I am lucky to still have.  And I do have a lot to be thankful for.

Here is the link,



My 30th Reunion Photo (fogged in Kodiak)

Last summer on Afognak

Messing about in boats

Nora drives the whaler

Ryan and Stuey kayak on a foggy day

Stuey says goodbye to Afognak for the summer

Stuey drives the whaler all the way home

Brewster actually slept the whole way home

Life about the teepee

Ryan and Stuey hard at Colorku

Brewster and the Stove

Stuey and Ryan untangle a rope found on the beach and later. ...

Strung between trees rope is hell of a good entertainer



Labor day weekend hike pictures.   Rainy days made for good hikes in the rain forest.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Some alone time with Nora and Bruno

A highlight for me of our Labor Day weekend trip to Afognak was hikes in the woods with just Nora and Bruno along for company.  Depending on how tired he was Bruno would either run along beside us, or out ahead scouting out the trail.  Every once in a while I'd stop and take pictures of the trees while Nora told herself stories.  Companionship without a lot of talk.  Patrick

Monday, September 12, 2016

Setting up camp with Ryan

Picking up Ryan from the Whaler at anchor

For our Labor Day Weekend Afognak trip Ryan and I took the whaler up a day earlier while Zoya, Molly, Brewster, and the kids arrived by plane a day later.  We arrived at Lipsett Point in the late afternoon and took our time setting up camp.  After setting up camp we went on a water run up the bay. Then it was woodstove and teepee time.

It was all total 'guy' time, and a relaxing start to a great weekend.  Patrick

Paddling to the whaler to go get water

Water run

This was not staged - I really was digging with high anticipation for a piece of jerky

And YUCK it had all gone bad - I can't believe I stuck my hand in there!

Filling up with water from the waterfall


Hunting Alone

Yesterday I filled a proxy deer tag - the first proxy hunt of the year.  It was a quick hunt, and I did it all alone.

Usually when I go hunting it is with a partner or two.  Someone to share the load on the journey home.  But every once in a while, about once a year,  I like to hunt by myself - just me, my thoughts and the mountain.  There is no one to confer with or to share the load.  Also more time to think.  The independence feels good.

When I woke up and looked outside the first thing I saw was Orion's Belt in the sky above Mill Bay.  That portended good things.  And at dawn I was far up the mountain with deer all around.

And four hours after leaving the house I arrived back home with the proxy deer.  A quick, successful hunt.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hunting and Fishing

Leaving camp at dawn

Our Labor Day weekend trip to Afognak was more than just a camping trip.  It was also about filling the larder, and we came home with both deer meat and canned silver salmon.

Ryan and I went out a day early in the whaler to set up camp, and the next morning before the rest of the crew arrived we climbed up the mountain and went deer hunting.  It was Ryan's first deer hunting trip, and right away on top we found a nice little buck for him to harvest.

We got back to camp with the meat before the others arrived.  So when they did arrive we were able to send the meat back to town. My friend Gregg picked up the meat and put it in my fridge to chill until our return.

On Sunday it was raining but we still made it to 'silver salmon' beach and tried our hand at fishing.  There were plenty of silvers, but events conspired against us and we only harvested one (boat kept on floating back onto the beach, fish popped the hook, and a couple of fishing line birds nests).

 Back at camp, I canned up the silver on the beach.  Zoya had already heated up her 'Afognak hottub' and she watched from the tub while I filleted the fish and put him into jars.  Patrick

dawn in the woods

Sun came up before we got to the top

Hike back down with meat aboard

canning silvers right on the beach

Friday, September 09, 2016

Pictures of Trees & Glyphs

On our recent trip to Afognak I brought along my 'good' camera.  My 'good' camera is a fragile SLR, and I've found I tend not to use it because it is inconvenient to get out of the waterproof case etc.  Numerous times in the past I've brought it along on trips and then only used the indestructible, waterproof, point-and-shoot camera instead.  But it does take gorgeous pictures.

On our last trip I had noticed that the harlequin ducks perch on the petroglyphs at high tide, but it was too far away to photograph with my point-and-shoot.  So I was bringing along the big zoom and pixel power of my good camera, hopefully, to capture this image.   I also wanted to take some low light tree pictures under the forest canopy.

Anyway, it almost worked.  In the forest based on what I was seeing on the camera screen I thought I was taking GREAT pictures.  But then I got home and noticed that in the low light I often had not held the camera steady enough and that I had depth of field issues.  I should have put the camera on a tripod and upped the aperture to get a deeper field of focus.  If you look at some of my stitched together forest panoramics you'll see these issues, but they still look compositionally good.

As regards the petroglyph and ducks photo - the light was never right.  The harelquins did perch on the glyphs, only the light did not cooperate.  The petroglyphs only 'pop' and become visible in certain light conditions, and it just did not happen.

Oh well, I guess I'll have to lug along the good camera to Afognak once again.  Maybe the third time will be the charm.