In this episode, Larre shares tales of hunting moose in northeastern Alaska. Their first task was to find the hidden trail to Shangri-La, the storied home of monster moose. It's a two-day ride on ATVs just to get from the road to where they hunt. Press the Play button below.

Bogged down in the burn area, the group camped overnight on their way to Moose Valley

Bogged down in the burn area, the group camped overnight on their way to Moose Valley

 

Photos for this post are from Larre's 2004 trip, the year wildfires burned a record 6.6 million acres in Alaska. In 2015, the second worst year for Alaskan wildfires, 5.1 acres burned. When we were in Seward last July, fires caused closures of the highway between us and Anchorage. 

I got some great photos of a Dall sheep ewe and lamb along that burned stretch of highway. We'd seen the pair up high on some rocks a couple of weeks earlier. After the fire moved through, mom and baby were forced to move down quite low on the mountainside.

You can see the photos on our Facebook page, in a short video about how to spot wildlife. This was the easy method--look for cars stopped along the highway and slow down to see what everyone is gawking at.

Wildfires approaching Moose Meadow

Wildfires approaching Moose Meadow

Heat from the fires melts the permafrost that underlies most of the state. The softened ground made for a muddy, slow trip on ATVs into the hunting area. 

Glassing on the rock, looking out over Moose Valley

Glassing on the rock, looking out over Moose Valley

Conditions that contribute to fire risk include low snowfall the previous winter and a warm, early spring that dries everything quickly.

NASA photos showed smoke in 2004 across Canada eastward into the Atlantic Ocean, south to Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico, and west across the Bering Strait into Siberia.

Larre's group wisely decided not to venture closer to the fire they could see in the distance. 

The rocky area took 2 hours to cross.

The rocky area took 2 hours to cross.

Comment