Blue Leads and Water Otters

2013Trap19

So a couple weeks ago we were having trouble with at least one wolverine robbing our marten sets and we still have the problem today, just a little less of it!

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Marten set broken into.
A pair of wolverine headed up the trail.
A pair of wolverine headed up the trail.

One of these two didn’t make it!  That’s right, we put the clamp down on a nice male wolverine in the northern reaches of our line.  He was caught in another box set.

Jared with wolverine!
Jared with wolverine!

The surviving wolverine appears to have become a little trap shy as it passed up 2 similar sets.  It could be the one that sprung a trap at that old wolf kill, we’ll have to try something new on him next year!

Jared has been working on catching river otter for the second year now, he started on the Tanana but the water level fluctuated so much that he lost a couple traps and bagged it.  On this other river though which is much more mellow he was able to get a really good set out after seeing otter tracks coming in and out of a hole in the bank for a couple weeks.  He placed a 330 right over its hole and caught his first otter!

A large river otter.
A large river otter.
Jared trying not to smile to hard!
Jared trying not to smile to hard!

Now with the trapping business mostly taken care of it was time to stretch the machines out and get into more new country.  We had read about an old mine not far from where we trap we just had to climb out of the valley and into the next one to find it, been wanting to at least lay eyes on it for some time now.  The climb out was steep, icy, drifty, and rocky but we made it with a couple white knuckles and a couple bloody ones to, them big alders don’t have much give! When it’s time to get somewhere our machines turn into battering rams and we don’t stop for much, when it gets real bad I squeeze more throttle and just close my eyes!  Once we crested the summit in 35 mph winds with heavy blowing snow we noticed a huge dark shape at the head of this new valley.  The terrain was to steep and to rocky to ride any further so we began walking and soon could make out a large building, this was it, the Blue Lead mine!

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The old generator that powered the place.
The old generator that powered the place.
What's left of the crusher.
What’s left of the crusher.

We were on the windward side of the ridge and it was starting to pick up so we began hiking back to the machines before a real white out came in.

Jared leads the way back over the ridge.
Jared leads the way back over the ridge.
Louis begin the descent.
Louis begins the descent.

With that accomplished we headed to the west and broke up and over another summit, dropping down into the valley in search of a cabin I had been to when I was younger with Earl and Lawrence, a couple old time trappers.  They are the ones who introduced me to this land and all that it offers, its history, the men that discovered it, and the benefits of spending part of your life in it.

David, Louis, Earl, Lawrence.  1999
David, Louis, Earl, Lawrence. 1999
Louis looks for a route through alder and willow.
Louis looks for a route through alder and willow.
This cabin was built in the early 1900's.
This cabin was built in the early 1900’s.
15 years later.
15 years later.

This pretty much sums up our trapping for the year other than running wolf sets.  We’ll be sending our second batch of fur to the auction in Canada next month, the first batch is being sold as I write this!  The rest of the year will be used preparing for the next, trap repairs, snowmachine repairs, cabin maintenance, you name it the list is long.

What will be next!?
What will be next!?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tom says:

    Thats the kind of place that a person wants to move to permanently,but sadly somebody will go out of their way to make it so you cant. But good for you guys enjoy it while you still can.

    Like

  2. Kay says:

    Hi Lou and Jared…I do enjoy your stories and especially the pictures…..go get em you old sourdoughs.

    Like

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