AD Main Menu

Missing moose camp in Alaska

Heather Lende
Heather Lende photo

I want to go back to my cozy tent at moose camp. No phones, no email, no nothin' -- just a lot of walking and sitting and listening to the river, the rain, the low hum of distant waterfalls, the thunder of the calving glaciers, the patter of the wind in the cottonwoods. There is nothing quite like just sitting still, looking, and listening in such a beautiful place. We'd sit for hours, silently watching and waiting.

We saw -- and heard -- swans trumpeting, hawks catching mice, ravens swishing overhead. There were eagles too, and a screech owl. Branches cracked, the cranberries smelled rich and earthy, the moose beds rank. I'm not allowed to tell you if we saw any moose (we didn't get one and the season continues for a little longer).

Chip says, “what happens in moose camp stays in moose camp.” He also said -- when I expressed a little concern about tiptoeing through the woods at dawn and dusk in moose and bear country -- "the most dangerous animal in the world is a human being with a gun." When I wondered if it was safe to keep food in our cooler in the canvas tent, while at home I wouldn't even keep one on the porch, and my chickens are tucked behind a bear-deterring electric fence, he said, "Those are city bears, these are country bears."  

We woke early and hunted from sunrise until about eleven, and then walked back to camp for lunch, a nap, and back out again from about two until dusk. Breakfast was oatmeal and coffee, lunch sandwiches, an apple and chocolate. Dinner we heated up stew I had made at home, and ate apples and cheese and sipped hot tea. We were asleep by nine and up before five. Chip started the fire and got me my coffee first thing. I could get used to that. When we left camp yesterday afternoon for town, I didn't want to leave. Who would?

Heather Lende writes from Haines. Her new book is "Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs." This post originally appeared on her blog. It has been reprinted with permission.