CARETAKING:

Around the 7th of December I got a call from the Kaiser family.  hey were in Kodiak waiting for Cassey to have her baby.  Julie's brother was taking care of their place, but had to leave the village on business.  As you all know, I am an accomplished caretaker, so they called me.  In addition to the usual, I had to care for the family cat.  Since it was a rush request, I got a major perk out of this one.  I accepted, suited up and headed across the cove to their house.  The weather was really nice this day.  He is the view of the causeway and the cove, followed by a view of Mt. Sharatin, a view of the cove looking towards the bay from the causeway, Mt. Ellison and finally a view of the causeway looking towards my destination.  If you look closely you will see an eagle perched on the right side rail.

Causeway Mt. Sharatin Cove and bay
Mt. Ellison Causeway

Notice how calm the water is.  This was a really beautiful day.  You will also notice there is no snow the ground.

When I come off of the causeway, I travel on the trail that leads to the main road and the Kaiser residence.  This is very shaded and usually has ice and/or snow all winter long.  You can see the ice on the road in the next two photos.  The second one is blurry because of the lack of light in this area:

Looking back Ice on the path

The perk I mentioned was the use of their vehicle.  The weather was so nice that I almost decided to just leave it in their driveway and walk over each day.  It is only about a mile or so.  Everything was secure and the cat wanted to talk, so I spent a couple of minutes conversing with her.

Good thing I decided to take the vehicle because the weather turned to "doo" the very next day.  Here are a couple of views of the bay from their window.  I like that tree because if reminds me of the one in the "Lord of The Rings" movie:

Tree Bay

Here is the vehicle I get to use, parked in my second driveway:

Vehicle

It is a retired police vehicle, so I just put a piece of red "Saran wrap" on my flashlight and I can roll code 3 all around town.

NEW KID:

The third day I had to go to the airstrip.  I took a couple of pictures for you all to see.  These were taken about 1645:

View by dump Mt. Sharatin

We didn't get a lot of snow, but the winds were wicked.  Gusting to 50 for a couple of days.  Good thing I had the new vehicle to get over to the Kaiser house.

Now we have this new kid, Ron, in the village.  He isn't really all that new.  He's been here a couple of years, but he likes hanging with me because he thinks I'm like an action hero.  He found out about the new vehicle and wanted to know how he could break into the caretaking business.  Here he is:

Ron outside Ron inside

Notice how happy he is in the first picture and how inquisitive he is in the second picture.  I'm just telling him about all the responsibility and the fact that it isn't as glamorous as he thinks.  I don't think he believed me.  He also likes hearing some of my police and Navy adventures.  He's a good kid.

The good news is that my cigar shipment arrived.  One of the places that I get them from has started selling them in little wooden barrels.  Pretty neat.  They are offered in a number of different brands.  They have 20 cigars inside and some raw tobacco:

Cask Cask top view
FLIGHT TO KODIAK:

Fast forward to Dec. 22.  That is when I went into Kodiak.  I originally planned on staying until Saturday the 27th.  I hitched a ride to the airstrip and surprisingly, Island Air was sort of on time.  I took some photos for you.  I was the copilot that day.  The pictures are dark and not too sharp, but it was low light.  We took off about 1040 am, so you can get an idea how dark it is at this time of year if it is overcast.  We flew through the pass:

The pass 1 The pass 2 The pass 3 The pass 4

The next two show the interior a little.  I didn't think it would be wise to use flash that close to the pilot.  It was a rough ride, so this is the best I could get from any of these:

Instrument panel 1 Instrument panel 2

Here we are approaching the airport:

Airport 1 Airport 2

Here is the plane I came in on and the baggage handlers are doing their thing:

Plane
KICKING BACK IN KODIAK:

Normally a trip to Kodiak is relaxing without a lot of socializing.  Unfortunately, this is Christmas time.  We take the two dogs on a couple of walks.  Usually it is daily, but the weather was really nasty.  Here are a couple of pics I took in Abercrombie park on of of the walks.  We went there because it was windy and the trees there shelter us pretty good:

Abercrombie view 1 Abercrombie view 2

Here is Roger and I holding a meeting of the cigar club:

Cigar club meeting

Leslie is present for part of this, but she isn't a participant.  We have strict rules:

Leslie

Here I am conducting and experiment.  I wanted to see if I could get my vodka glass to freeze to the railing when the temp was 38.  By calculating the wind direction and speed and the temperature of the railing, I was successful.  As you can see, I have to drink from a straw since the glass is frozen to the railing.  I had to use hot water to free the glass:

Al sipping

Christmas Eve we went to dinner at some friends house in Bell's Flats.  They had some prime rib and a lot of other tasty things, but my favorite was buffalo ribs.  Mighty tasty.  The kid, Declan, was all excited and got to open a couple of his presents.  (Some of you will remember that he is the 7-year-old kid that tried to beat me in a foot race last year.)  He scored heavily.  He got a "D-Rex."  A dinosaur robot.  I think the adults, me included, had more fun with it than he did.  I was going to get one until I found out it costs $160 at WalMart.

It was a pretty good evening, even if I did have to socialize.

CHRISTMAS AND THE DAY AFTER:

So here is the tree:

Christmastree

Here we are opening presents:

Opening presents

The wind was starting to kick up and things weren't looking too good for flying on Saturday, so I decided that I would try to make it back on Friday instead of Saturday.  We just took it easy on Christmas and watched the wind blow.  We had company and their brought their dog, Rosie.  Remember that Internet joke that has been going around about 'Why dogs bite people'?  Here is Rosie:

Rosie

About 0300 on the morning of the 26th, the wind woke me up.  Damn!  It doesn't sound too good for flying.  You would think that I'd learn.  Every time I come over here for Christmas, the weather gets bad and I get stuck.  It was REALLY blowing.  Sounded like things were being moved around.

We went out to the beach by the fairgrounds to walk the dogs.  It was blowing pretty good.  Probably gusting to 60.  We had seen a number of trees that had been uprooted on the way.  The weather report was saying they were expecting gusts to 90.  We took a short hike, then went back home.  The electricity was out when we got back, so now it is time for headlamps and Coleman lanterns.  I didn't sleep very well, so I laid on the couch and tried reading but passed out.  Roger and Leslie said they think there were a couple of gusts that hit 100mph.  They moved away from the windows.  I just slept through it.  I was back a ways from any of the windows.  I woke up and it was about 1600 and it was still blowing hard.

Here is what people that don't have electricity do in the evenings.  The last one shows me getting ready to go outside for my cigar and cocktail.  Roger stayed in since he didn't have much kerosene for his socks:
Leslie and Roger Roger and Al Al

I was able to fly back on Saturday. It was pretty rough, but not as bad as some of the flights I have been on. I get home and the boys are talking about going hunting on Monday. Sure, why not?

HUNTING TRIP:

They stop by and pick me up about 0915 on Monday.  It is just starting to get light.  I am dressed in my new camo parka and bibs that are insulated.  It is really nice riding on the back of this 4-wheeler and not being cold.  We stop for a short rest:

Rest stop 1 Rest stop 2 Al in camo

We go out to the usual spot that is popular with everyone here.  We see almost no deer on the way out.  We cross this stream that is at the bottom of what could almost be called a cliff that we had to go down.  This is going to be bad coming back.

We get to a place where we can park the bikes and head off on foot.  About 100 yards after we take off, I realize I am overdressed.  Badly overdressed.  I can't take a lot of heat and I am really overheating.

We walk up a hill that would normally be nothing and I am puffing like a locomotive.  I unzip my parka and the bibs, but it isn't helping much.  It is snowing lightly, but I take off my hat.  That helped.  I take off my gloves and that helps a little more, but not enough.  The snow is hitting my head, melting and turning to ice.  It sure feels good.

I've been designated to get the first shot if we see a deer.  We see a deer.  Everyone else is what seems like 2 miles ahead of me, motioning for me to "come on."  Easier said than done.  My shirt is getting wet.  I'm glad I don't have on cotton.  I finally get there.  They whisper "There are two of them."  It takes me about a minute to figure out where they are talking about.  I think I'm more concerned with being able to breathe than see a couple of deer.

I only see one of them.  Another whisper "That is the smaller one." I don't care. I just want the meat. "What's my range?" "120 yards." I go to a sitting position and hold my crosshairs right on the top of the back.  I should be able to drop this thing with one shot.  I calm down enough to shoot and squeeze the trigger.  It jumps like it's been hit and runs downhill a little way.  I crank off another and nothing.  It goes a little farther and I finally hit it.  We find it in the trees.  I look in my pack and realize I brought everything I need except knives.  Bruce field dresses it and we drag the body away from the gut pile and stash it in some trees.  We'll retrieve it later.  We get it away from the gut pile because that is what a bear will smell and head for.

I'm still overheated, but doing a little better.  We walk around for what seems like days and the only deer we see appear to be in Canada.  I don't know if the rifles will even shoot that far.  We finally make it back to the bikes and I'm trashed.  Ron and Bruce go get my little deer and we head back.

We get to the stream crossing I was talking about.  Ron see's a deer.  It is small, but meat is meat.  He gets it and while he is going to retrieve it, Bruce takes both bikes across the stream.  Here he is taking Ron's bike.  Note the grade on the hill in the last picture:

Bruce on Ron bike 1 Bruce on Ron bike 2 Bruce on Ron bike 3
Bruce on Ron bike 4

It takes over an hour to get home.  We put on about 23 miles on the bikes.  It is tiring.  Bruce drops me off and I put my meat in the banya to age a little.  Ron and Jean go home.  Bruce leaves and there is a knock on my door.  I answer it and it is an irate neighbor.  This guy is mad because he thinks we have been shooting dogs.  I ask him why he would think that and he say's I saw a dead dog on the back of Ron's bike.  I just laughed and assured him it was a small deer.  He apologized and said "Gee, I've been here for years and never saw one that small."

THE END



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