Berry Picking Adventure

Another one of the awesome things about living out here is the school field trips.  Instead of buses, we get boats.  Instead of chaperones, we get men with rifles in case there are bears.  Once everyone was loaded and ready, we set off on the first of many Cultural Days that we are going to have for school this year.  This first Cultural Day was Berry Picking!

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We stopped at the first cabin on Akuleraq and had lunch.  It was a beautiful day to get out and let the kids enjoy the tundra.

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Essie stayed at school to go berry picking around the village with the kiddos that stayed behind, so I brought Kian with me.  He always has fun getting out of the house.

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He fell in the water a little bit and got his boot and leg wet.  Shortly after that, I couldn’t find him.  I thought “Oh crap, where’d he go now?”  Apparently we were playing ‘Hide and Seek’ and I didn’t know it.

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So after a long day of picking berries and keeping an eye out for kids and bears and moose, it was time to head home.

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On our way home, we saw some fresh bear tracks.  These were on both sides of the river, some really fresh, some a day or two old.  These were fairly big tracks.

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Friday before last, the 18th, I took a boat ride up Akuleraq with Solomon and Tyler.  Tyler is the new teacher’s husband.  They are both from Arkansas and appear to be loving it so far.  My plan was to get a moose, but there were so many beavers that I changed gears and started catching those for the fur.

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We saw a few moose before we saw the young cow that I caught.  I didn’t get any pictures of the moose I caught since it was close to dark and I wanted to get it loaded and home before it got any later.  This is a cow and calf we saw that evening.  The pictures aren’t great.  I keep threatening to buy a nice camera, but it hasn’t happened yet.

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This is from one of our trips to Emo.  Kian found a new friend with Kaitlyn, the new teacher from Arkansas.

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Every time I go stack firewood or fill up the buckets with water for my next steam, Kian has to show me all around ‘HIS’ maqii.

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And he is always ready to help Dad go get more firewood.  Sadly, I’m sure this will pass by the time he’s big enough to really help.

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I’ll end this with a picture of a rare calm day.

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Polar Bear? BigFoot?…

     After I caught my 1st moose this spring, I took what was left of the rump after I got all the meat cut off and packed away, and I hauled it out to a creek a few miles away from here.  I had been thinking of setting a few traps in the area and figured this was a good way to see what was around.  Plus a good way to get rid of what was left of the moose.

     I went back after a couple of days and saw a TON of tracks!  Most were foxes, a lot of bird tracks (most likely ravens), and then there were a bunch of claw marks.  Keep in mind that just a couple days ago, the only tracks here were my snowmachine trail and a few fox track trails.  IMG_8135

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I don’t know what made the claw marks.  All I know is that I don’t remember seeing them before, and I’m usually going slow and looking around for stuff like that when I’m out.  While I was walking around trying to figure it out, I saw another few tracks that I didn’t remember seeing out before either.  I snapped a few pics and headed for home.  I’d been out for a few hours and was ready for coffee and a snack.

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I threw my glove down just to have something to compare it to when I looked at it later.  Now, I don’t have small hands.  I wear XL gloves.  I was wearing Arctic Pro Muck boots and I stuck my foot up there and it was almost as long as my boot.  Not quite, but close.  I wear 13’s and Arctic Pros are a little on the bulky side, but not too bad.   So whatever it was, I figured it was pretty good sized.

After I got home, I was looking online at pictures of different animal tracks in the snow and about the closest thing I saw was a polar bear.  The other bears have claw marks visible in their tracks.  But I would like to know for sure, so if anyone has any opinions, I’m all ears.  Polar Bear?  Hairyman (what the locals call Bigfoot)?  A five-peckered fat bird?..