Trapping and Living off The Land

On Comet, On that’s not right. I thought I heard them say on Fatso! Well not exactly “on”. They were Mushers and they were talking to the lead sled dogs, one of which was named “Fatso”, and they didn’t have to be encouraged to run!

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But as usual I am getting ahead of myself. We didn’t go straight to the dogs. First we were taken to a rustic camp where we were served some kind of skillet bread that was considered a snack like we think of potato chips. It wasn’t bad but it was dry. We washed it down with hot chocolate.

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A young man gave us a hesitant presentation about trapping. He had a variety of pelts hanging on the wall. He also had a variety of traps that he spoke briefly about. After the presentation we could go to the wall and feel the various pelts. I spoke to the young man after his presentation. I thought he might be a native Alaskan but he said no, he was just up there for a cultural exchange from the lower 48. He’s only been there about a week which was why he was so hesitant in his presentation.

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After we’d had a chance to compare the pelts we headed back to the bus. The young man went with us and a young woman who was as gregarious as he was quiet. She was a senior in high school and not shy at all. She is not only a native Alaskan but one of the “First People” and very proud of her heritage. She explained about the system where land or territories in Alaska are controlled by  Alaska Native Regional Corporations. There are 13 different corporations, one for each of the recognized tribes. There is no such thing as a reservation in Alaska. It sounds like the Alaskan Natives fared far better than those tribes on the lower 48.

As she talked she also kept her eyes open for wildlife and she could spot it. We passed several small herds of caribou on our way to the sled dogs.

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We heard them before we saw them, but as the bus bumped down a rutted dirt road we saw dogs happily bouncing around and barking like crazy! What a racket!  But where was the snow? We’d been surrounded by snow all day but now it had magically disappeared.  Oh there were some snow banks but mostly we were looking a dirt trails.


This was going to be interesting.

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