Howard Delo

I have been writing this column for a long time. I never seem to remember exactly how long so I went back and looked at some columns from 2004/2005. Apparently, I started this back in 2001 18 years ago. Boy, if that doesn’t give a person pause for thought!

I want to thank you, the readers, for reading my comments and opinions. I’ve had many folks come up to me and tell me they enjoy the weekly column. I usually ask if they agree with everything I say and, to a person, the answer was always, “No!” That is fine with me – the world isn’t ready for two people who think the same way I do!

I also want to thank the managing editor, Jeremiah Bartz, for allowing me to write this column. Jeremiah has been my editor almost from the start. He’s given me a lot of freedom in topics I choose to write about and has gone to bat for me over the years when some of the Frontiersman hierarchy disagreed with or even strongly objected to some of the material I wrote about. For a struggling writer wannabe, that kind of support is priceless! Thanks again, JB.

This past week has been relatively uneventful. On the home front, our dealings with FEMA have concluded. I received a check in the mail for about 8% of the cost of damages we suffered from the earthquake. Along with the check, a follow-up letter basically said FEMA isn’t an insurance policy, so get on with life. The little they did send is better than nothing!

I’ve also been spending a lot of time continuing my gear organization for the upcoming fly-in caribou hunt. Gnarly Dan and I have met twice and talked often on the phone comparing who has what, who can borrow what from friends, what we want to take for food, and other details to prepare for our anticipated two-week trip.

Here’s where we’re at to date: firearms have been selected and sighted in; a large domed tent with plenty of room but still light in weight has been borrowed, along with one cot and a water heater that runs on alcohol; and the food has been identified. We’re going in with freeze dried main meals and some MRE’s with the military heaters designed to go with them.

Weather is always a consideration during hunting season, so we’re planning to bring extra food in case we get weathered in. I’ve decided to rent a satellite phone, so we’ll be able to call for meat pick-up if we get lucky early in the hunt and in case something like a health issue happens, requiring an early departure or medical evacuation during the planned hunt duration.

In the course of getting ready, I’ve been sorting and repacking clothing and looking for where I stashed various items of gear. I spent some time looking for the eating utensils we’re bringing. I also invested several hours looking for my water filter. In the course of these searches, I’ve found two smaller tents and two sleeping pads I didn’t remember having as well as a single burner small propane stove I’d totally forgotten about. I’m planning to bring that stove and several one-pound propane bottles for “cooking” and to fuel the small heater I’m bringing for the tent.

The next item I’m looking for is a small, single mantel lantern that also runs on the one-pound propane cylinders. I have always kept it in my ice-fishing gear box, but when I looked, it was nowhere to be found. I undoubtedly relocated it for some other use. I’ll have to look again in the small trailer I use as a “trunk” for our small motorhome. I’m finding I moved a lot of camping gear into that trailer to support our hunting camp a couple of years ago when I drew a Nelchina caribou permit. That’s where the water filter was, along with the eating utensils.

On a different note, we don’t have any ocean bright pink salmon in the freezer and probably won’t this year. Why? Our planned trip to Hope to try fishing for pinks never happened. A combination of things like the hot July weather and hazardous driving conditions because of the on-and-off smoke and lane closures from the Swan Lake fire happened during the time frame when we could go. Some things are not meant to be.

I’m hoping now that I can get out to do some silver fishing. Time will tell!

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