Eight Days in Prison

FEb1Recently, I went on a hunting trip of a lifetime to Kodiak, Alaska and I ended up in prison for eight days. I think it was eight days but it could have been nine. All those days just seemed to blur together. So, how did my great Alaskan adventure deteriorate into a stint in the bighouse? It rained.

Okay, let me explain. I did not go to an actual prison but I was trapped inside of a 6’x6’ Barney’s Sports Chalet Bombshelter tent, for what seemed like forever, as it rained and rained and rained.  The good news was that my hunting partner and I each had a cot to lounge on, a good heat source in the shape of a Mr. Heater portable propane heater, and a few books to read and exchange. Other than that, we ate our freeze-dried meals, drank our filtered water and we did our time.

To provide a little more context, my partner and I spent around 25 days on this trip and it actually rained every single day. Some days it poured. A lot. We divided our trip into three legs of which we were to hunt out of our own base camp for nine days in the wilderness, road hunt for a week and then finish the trip at a coastal hunting lodge.

There is a lot of mental fatigue and stress that shows up inside of a tent when two hunters are itching to go hunt but can’t. You would think that a couple guys lying around all day would be relaxing enough, and you would be correct, if only that laying around was occurring at home where we would be just a few steps away from the world we left behind and no longer had any control over.  In the physical, we sat in mostly silence and we ate, read and slept. In the mental, we each just sorted out our own regrets, longings and worries. Overall, we made the best of it and persevered.

I might add that we had nothing against hunting in the rain, but we were in Alaska and getting caught in a storm or experiencing hypothermia is the real worry. Unlike all the books and magazines that tell people to simply carry matches so that they can just build a fire to avoid hypothermia, Kodiak Island doesn’t have much tender or fuel laying around. In fact, one would have to be really resourceful to find anything to burn above treeline. 

While doing our time in the tent, it was not all boring. One night we had to exit the tent to divert a deluge of water from washing us away. We also had hungry bears possibly walking by our tent and tripping over our guylines. It could have been deer, but bear stories sound better.

Just when something had to give or some sort of change had to be made to our situation, my partner decided he had enough and he charged 4000 feet straight up a nearby hill and killed a nice mountain goat. He made it back to camp after midnight, wet, cold, tired and relieved. The next day, in the rain, it was exciting as we admired his trophy goat hide, horns and meat. As we smiled and realized how lucky we were to be there at that moment, I think our miserable, rainy trip turned into a fun and successful hunt.

I would do it all over again, prison and all.