Week 3: June 30 – July 7, 2014

Bunny outside the ranger station

Monday was spent at the station as a day off, getting caught up on the blog, various necessary clerical issues of the “real world,” and searching Craigslist for a cheap but reliable vehicle to get us around Alaska sites more easily (ideally from a seller that fits the “non-sketchy folks” category).  Tuesday morning, we got a ride to the Tanaina Boat launch from the trail crew, and headed out to begin another week of “work.”

Butterfly Lake at sunset

Week 3 brought with it a busy holiday weekend and many people out enjoying the lakes on canoes, kayaks, motorboats, barges, water skis, boards and floats.  The weather was fantastic pretty much everyday.  Temperatures even rose to the 80’s on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  Animal sightings both large and small have been more frequent.  We have spotted two more moose; one walking behind our cabin to get water from the lake and another in the woods as we were crossing a portage from Buckley Lake to Candlestick Lake.

Butterfly Lake

Alaskan Wood Frog
Grouse

Aside from paddling around the lakes, checkin on PUC’s, campsites, and being a general “backcountry host” presence, we finished up a few projects.   With more TimberLoks, we were able to finish securing the remaining boards on the portage between Lynx Lake and Echo Ponds.  This is a portage that we use very frequently, so WE are also very happy to have it in great condition!

 Skeetna Lake

We were also able to finish clearing the remaining fallen trees from the portage to the Little Susitna River from Skeetna Lake.  This portage has probably consumed over 24 man hours of work.  We are thrilled to see it looking clear of ALL the fallen trees, including the large birch that had fallen near the end of the trail.

On the “relaxation” side of things, we started a 2000 piece puzzle which we realized was too large for our tables, so we were prompted to make a “puzzle board” for it.  We have also been cranking away at reading books, and have found our dock is a perfect location on a nice day.

Puzzles and “from skratch” hot chocolate

Fishing continues to go well, we pretty much fish until we decide we have enough, otherwise it seems like an endless supply.  We have decided the fish bite so quickly that we should only use one rod at a time, which keeps the other person free to man the net.   We take turns with the rod, every time we catch a fish we switch roles.  One day this week we caught eight 12-16″ pike that cooked up into a tasty dinner.

Today, Sunday, was the worst weather of the week.  It was cooler and rained allllll day.   We pretty much got rained on the entire time we were paddling to Tanaina for our pick-up.  Thank goodness for rain gear!  Despite the rainy weather, there was no wind, but LOTS of mosquitos.  They were out with a vengeance.

After returning to the station and becoming fit to return to the civilized world, we waited for a park truck to be available so we could head to Wasilla for our weekly re-supply of food.  We also made plans to meet with a guy selling his 1983 F150.  Fortunately for us, the truck was in good shape for its age, the seller seemed like a legitimately nice guy who was moving to Colorado and took our offer.  So we are now looking like real Alaskans with our “hoopty” as Ranger Drew called it.  After taking care of the paperwork tomorrow, we plan on heading to Hatcher Pass for some camping and hiking.

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