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Kodiak trip
Okay, probably not going to be some magazine worthy article like Dani's but here's my adventure in Kodiak.

To start off, I work for a contract company that works for the Coast Guard on overhauling their C-130's. Whenever there are special modifications or major structure work needed on planes in the fleet my company will send a team out to do the work, which is normally on a voluntary bases for who wants to go on the trip. We have several coming up and Kodiak was the first trip in the line up.

The team was to consist of 2 avionics to do wiring and plug work and 1 structures guy (I am a structures/sheet metal mechanic) to work on 3 planes. I was the only structure guy to volunteer to go on this trip, the other 3 qualified coworkers had reasons they couldn't go; doctors appointments, vacations already planned, and one guy didn't want to go to the cold, Brown bear infested island. So it was settled on me going and immediately I started looking up the important stuff..... hunting seasons.

With being a non-resident I knew it would be expensive to hunt but with the company paying for the air fare and hotel this would be the cheapest way of hunting in Alaska. Obvious hunts would be a brown bear or caribou, which are known for Alaska, but also expensive with lines attached. Caribou aren't on Kodiak and brown bear, mountain goat, and dall sheep (not on the island) require a guide service (runs over $4,000 for several days of hunting). A few of the other animals were expensive, such as musk ox at $2,200 for a tag but also not on the island and neither is moose, but they have bison, deer and elk. The bison are more farm raised running loose with a $900 tag and elk are on a different island off of Kodiak Island. So Sitka Blacktail was the only viable option with there being plenty of them on the island and a reasonable price of $300 plus the season opened August 1st.

Unfortunately duck season was not in or that would have been my first choice.

The plane flight was not bad, started in Norfolk (2.5 hr) then to Chicago (6.75 hr) onto Anchorage (50 mins) and finishing in Kodiak. Left on Friday morning at 0752 est and landed on The Rock around 1630 akst (2030 est)


Flying over Canada


Over mainland Alaska



The air was crisp and cool around 68 degrees which was a welcome sensation compared to the 90+ blistering heat with 100% humidity I left in N.C. We hurried to the hotel because we were to start work Saturday morning at 0800, and by the way air condition is not a thing up there and this is the hottest summer they have had in decades. Most locals said this year had more 70+ degrees days then they have seen in their lifetime and also the longest spell of no rain at almost a month dry spell. Which caused problems for salmon since they had no water to run in.


The windmills behind the town


Cruise ship coming into port one morning



So had a little bit of scenery at work which was nice. Worked until Thursday morning on one plane and had Friday off. I purchased all of my licenses and deer tag and I went fishing with one of my coastie friends (Jake) that was recently stationed up there but was also born on kodiak. Didn't have any luck catching anything with the fish not interested in eating but only trying to find a way to get in the stream before they die.


Looking out into Woman's Bay from the hanger


C-130


H-60


Bear inside the Big Ray's store where I got my license


Large fish require large bait





Continue....




Benjamin Pendleton
Northeast N.C.
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Re: Kodiak trip In reply to
So Saturday comes and we start the next plane and got it done by Wednesday. Some of the afternoons I went exploring by myself while the other two stayed at the hotel since they weren't that out-doorsie which brought some excellent scenery. Also spotted only one bear on the trip which in the awe of watching him totally didn't think to take a picture.




On top of Pillar Mountain where the windmills are


Another view


I took a lot of pictures on the mountain


And another


Same mountain, other side looking at town


Black sandy beach


Stream going around me and meeting the ocean behind me.


The signs point to bear being around


Probably should listen to the sign but I don't drink so to the bears I go.



Continue....




Benjamin Pendleton
Northeast N.C.
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Re: Kodiak trip In reply to
One of the streams I explored, did see about a 5" trout in here


Up the mountain stream


Through the mossy forest


The Coast Guard Admiral and a congressman showed up one day so the display had to be set



We started the 3rd plane on Friday but all 3 of us were not happy about not having a weekend off so we told the company and coast guard we were taking Saturday off and they were fine with that since we were ahead of schedule.

This is where I find out I'm not in shape and being on flat ground won't get you in shape for Kodiak. Jake had his sons soccer game in the morning so we didn't start hunting til late morning. It was a hot day in the mid 70's and it was Jake, his dad and myself hiking up the side of the mountain in search of a Sitka buck. After fighting through alder bushes and dodging devils club we finally made it about 200 yards to a single small standing spruce tree for a water break and rest.


We went to the left for the tundra section



There we looked and planned a route to go around alder patches and to the side of a ridge and sit there and watch for deer. After around an hour and a half I guess and several rest breaks we made it to the base of the tundra. We spotted two other hunters on top of the ridge on what looked like a several day pack in for mountain goat. Jake went west to look over the ridge into a bowl while his dad and I went east to look at different bowl and gully. About 10 mins after we sat down I spotted 2 deer at around 600 yards coming out of the alders on the far side of the gully.


Looking into the gully. Deer aren't there but we're just right of center above the ravine.


Looking down towards the missile range and where we park


Looking towards the Pacific Ocean, which the waves were quite loud for being so far away.



After glassing for a few mins I could tell one was a spike and the other a fork horn but they were to soon go back to the cover of the alders and from there we had no clue where they would go. We stayed about an hour and watched a doe and yearling about 500 yards away in the bowl feed and lay down and then we headed back across the mountain to meet back up with Jake who had not seen any deer. We planned for what to do next and which route to meander down the mountain. We walked back to where I spotted the bucks and waited for a little while and to our surprise they popped out in the same spot they were earlier.

It was starting to get late but I made a sneak on them and got to 270 yards which is when the fork horn went into another patch of alders. I was toting a marlin 30-30 and did not feel comfortable shooting at that distance for the spike so we packed out and made our way down the mountain trying to follow buffalo trails.


Continue.....




Benjamin Pendleton
Northeast N.C.
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Re: Kodiak trip In reply to
So I sorely continued work on the plane the next day and some afternoons I went out exploring again and enjoyed the scenery as well as fog rolling in on me on a mountain top. Also spotted 4 mountain goats at 2.5 miles away which was cool to see them scale rocks in areas.


Looking towards Pyramid Mountain


Looking for deer


Well that came out of nowhere


And the mountain goats



To shorten up, we finished the plane on Thursday morning (a week and a half ahead of schedule) and one of my coworkers left that night. The other one was to stay til Friday night and I made plans to stay until Sunday night with hopes of killing a deer Friday or Saturday.

So made plans with Jake to hunt Friday in the rain. Remember they are basically in a drought so the rain was very needed and I've duck hunted worse weather as their rain is more of a heavy mist or drizzle.

Started early before first light at 6 where I met him at his house and we started driving to where we wanted to hunt. After getting out of town we were a few miles from where we would park and hike up the ridge looking for deer. About a mile from that location we spotted 4 deer off the side of the road. One doe, 2 spikes and a fork horn. I looked over and asked the question, "are they in a spot we can shoot?" And thankfully they were. It was just shooting light and the guns were behind the seat, I quickly got out and loaded up and walked across the road and in a little ways to get closer to the deer with a clear shooting lane. Creeping up to 68 yards he finally turned some to a quartering away shot.

I pulled up found him in the scope and really focused on squeezing off the trigger. He quickly stumbled to the left and ran away from me and then turned into some alders. This is the moment I start shaking and have the normal speeding heart rate and altered breathing knowing that I made a good shot but don't know how far he went. I was surprised I held the buck fever until the after the shot.

I returned to the truck and got my stuff for field dressing and other stuff. We walked back to where he was and walked to where he went into the alders and to my excitement there he lay only about 30 yards from where I shot him. After a moment of admiring him I went to work on field dressing while Jake stood guard for any bears that might of been in the area.
After field dressing we dragged him out to the truck and headed to his dads house to skin and process the deer. His dad was excited and gladly did most of the work on skinning and processing the meat while I worked on the deer cape and antlers for shipping back home.


The trophy


And the workbench



That evening he cooked himself and I some of the back-strap and boy was it delicious. The next day we finished processing the portion we ground up and vacuum sealed all of it. I packed about half of the meat up in a styrofoam shipping container and gave the family the other half which they distributed some to friends. He also hooked me up with elk burger, salmon, and halibut and I also bought some extra salmon since I didn't catch any.

Sunday rolls around and it's time to go home and it's a bittersweet moment, I had been there long enough to learn the names and get a feel of the roads and scenery as if I lived there but I missed my wife and kids. So back on the planes and onto home, how could it get much better? Well, I did see the northern lights from a plane which added a cherry on top to my trip that could only be beat by the running of my oldest boy (6) into my arms at the Norfolk airport.


The picture does not do it justice especially through a plane window







Benjamin Pendleton
Northeast N.C.
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Re: Kodiak trip In reply to
Good morning, Benjamin~


What a wonderful story! It's certainly a whole new world up there - one I hope to visit some day.


Congratulations!


SJS

Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Kodiak trip In reply to
Ben,
Fantastic story, one that you will remember forever. So glad you were able to bring some fruits of your labor home with you. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed all of it. I have a retired military friend who will enjoy see the aircraft photos. He did aircraft inspections during his career on both helicopter and fixed wing.

Does most of your work take place near home or along the East coast? Guess I'm a bit surprised that the coast guard did not have a contractor on the west coast which might have did the work in Alaska. That said, I'm sure you are glad you went!

Take care, Huntindave McCann Smile SHELL ROCK IA “As sailors grow older, the wiser ones move to smaller boats.” —Thomas Firth Jones, Multihull Voyaging

Last edited by:

Huntindave McCann: Sep 8, 2019, 4:48 AM
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Re: Kodiak trip In reply to
You sure got a lot packed into a work trip! Well done.

Pics are great, I opened them up on the desktop with the large monitor and it was well worth it. I keep thinking about getting out to Kodiak.
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Re: Kodiak trip In reply to
I sure enjoyed this, Benjamin. Thanks for the wonderful story and the pictures. Did the brownie in the sporting goods shop get your attention? The last time I was there was in October of 1973.
Al
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Re: Kodiak trip In reply to
Ben,
Thank you for taking us along. I know what you mean about hiking in the coastal plain is not like hiking in the mountains or hills. Even my move from HHI to the Piedmont has tested my hiking legs.

That's the way to do a business trip or "meeting."

Larry
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Re: Kodiak trip In reply to
 Got word from a buddy in Alaska. A friend of his was mauled by a brown bear while hunting moose. They were in Eureka near Fairbanks. Was medivaced out. No other word.
Spent a lot of time running around there and always left his house with side arm and a shot gun if going fishing. Handgun just makes You feel good.
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Re: Kodiak trip In reply to
 Very nice Ben. I enjoyed your adventure!

I?ve been to Alaska twice. Once duck hunting (great trip) and then a few weeks ago with my wife as a tourist. Very beautiful. We also experienced the hot dry weather which hampered our ability to view much wildlife. The bonus was fantastic views of the landscape that are usually hidden.
Brad F / NWR
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Re: Kodiak trip In reply to
Ben -

Congratulations.

Ya did good, that is a fine looking buck.

A work & play adventure/memory that will last a lifetime.


Best regards
Vince











"Art does not reproduce what is visible - but makes things visible." ~ Paul Klee, artist, 1920
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Re: Kodiak trip In reply to
Thanks all-

Steve, I would highly recommend a trip to the last frontier, the dry weather did give a rare chance to see all the country until the dry weather also caused fire up north on mainland and the smoke blew in for the last week I was there.


Dave, there are currently only two contracts that I know of that work on the Coast Guard's C-130 aircraft. The company I work for (DynCorp) and then one down at Warner Robbins which I think is in Alabama.
We are under the Coast Guard Aviation Logistics Center (ALC) so when problems in the fleet arise we are normally the ones to go and fix them if it's outside the coasties normal operational maintenance.




Benjamin Pendleton
Northeast N.C.
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Re: Kodiak trip In reply to
Tod, I wish I had a real nice camera to take better pictures but spent the extra money of hunting licenses and a deer tag. But the IPhone did pretty good taking pictures and I would highly recommend going to any part of Alaska.


Al, you're due for another trip, a lot has changed over the years so I'm told by my friend that I hunted with.
Everything caught my eye in the sporting store, there were deer mounts and ducks and the brown bear was a big fella.


Larry, I sure enjoy the mountains and the challenges it brings.
And this was one of the best business trips I could have gone on. (The wife agrees and disagrees, she wants to go on the Hawaii trip that's coming up)




Benjamin Pendleton
Northeast N.C.
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Re: Kodiak trip In reply to
Capt, sorry to hear that, I had bear spray and the 30-30 while venturing out but still very aware of my surroundings these bears are nothing like the black bears im used to around the house.


Brad, I would go back anytime even just as a tourist but dall sheep hunting is one of my bucket list hunts so I would love to go back to mainland to do that. Did you get many pictures?


Vince, it's so exciting and humbling to shoot that buck, I'm the first in my family to shoot a animal out of state let alone a different species.
I definitely will remember this trip and hope to have more adventures but maybe with the family tagging along. The next trip is to Waco, Texas in October but I have vacation and a wedding during that month so probably won't be able to go on that trip but would love to hunt for a Texas deer too.




Benjamin Pendleton
Northeast N.C.