I flew into Ketchikan Alaska two days earlier but we got weathered in. At 4 PM we got word that the Misty Mts (where we will be hunting for the next two weeks) were clear enough to fly. We are out of here!!
Along with Guide Johnnie Laird (Muskegman) and Assistant Guide Bobby Warren we loaded up the DeHavilland Beaver float plane and headed for our remote Alpine Lake in the Misty Mts. of Southeast Alaska. The pilot of the bush plane, Sol, from Taquan Air, was an avid goat hunter so we had plenty to talk about. Once we got to our mountain, the fog had socked in but Sol still spotted one goat from the air.
Video Clip from the air, circling the Mts. and spotting a goat (552k)
We buzzed the mountaintops a couple times then set the plane down gently. As I stepped out of the plane and onto the grassy beach again (see last year's Goats '98) I knew it was going to be another wild adventure in the Mts.
Video Clip of Float Plane landing on the small Alaskan Lake (768k)
With the gear unloaded, Sol and Johnnie made last minute confirmations for our pickup while Bobby and I began to move the gear off the beach to Base Camp (Camp 1). It was too late to hike out of the jungle tonight so we discussed a push in the morning - skipping the mid-level camp (Camp 2) and going straight to the top where we spiked out last year. We all agreed to see how it went tomorrow and decide from Camp 2.
We said goodbye to Sol and finished setting up Camp 1. We had a good meal, the hit the sack early - tomorrow was the death march (as I so endearingly call it) and we would need our strength to bust out of the jungle and into the slippery steep trek up to goat country. It was like coming home all over again!
Having hunted this area before, and this being my third goat bowhunt, I made sure I was in excellent physical conditioning. On June 1st I started a diet and exercise routine which got my lungs and legs in shape for the rigors of goat hunting. I dropped 25 lbs in that time and was able to run a 5k with little effort. Many hunters underestimate a goat hunt and end up with a bad experience. When people say that goat hunting is tough, they mean it. And for your safety and the quality of your hunt, spend the time and effort to get in shape - it could mean the difference between success and failure, or even your life.
Hiring a Packer
Many people are probably wondering why we took an assistant guide along on our hunt. From last years' experience, we spent far too many days resupplying our food and clothing by going back and forth to Camp 1. We decided to use a packer on this trip to move camp, resupply us with food and clothing, and do many of the chores which allowed us to stay on top and hunt the entire time.