Sunday, September 18, 2011

My "Date" Night

*FAIR WARNING* There are dead animal photos in this post. Proceed at your own risk.

Hey, do you people have "date nights" with your spouses? Cause I think that's weird. But don't be offended cause Eskimos don't "date" we just look at someone, if he's a good hunter, then he can be our husband. Or vice versa, we look at each other, and if she's a good cook, seamstress, and mother, then she can be our wife.


JUST KIDDING. But seriously about Date Night's, that's odd to me. Seeings as though I don't think I've ever even been asked on a "date..." it's kinda hard to imagine Date Night. There isn't anywhere to go here. "Hey, you wanna go to Lion's Club with me tonight?" haha. "No Thank You!"

So, we go on other dates.

I was there

Like to fill our freezers with meat. So we don't have to eat icky beef, ever. I've already filled our freezer with Shiifish, and Salmon, Beluga Muktuk and Berries, so the last of it is red meat. Red Meat in the form of Caribou, Moose, Musk Ox, Sheep, etc. Free Range even.

Tundra Tea, boiled with water is the best stuff ever!

So, my husband and I went on a date. I packed up a cooler of food, he got the boat ready and got gas, the tent, cots, sleeping bags, catalytic propane heater (I'm spoiled), and four rifles. (Yes, we need FOUR rifles for two people!)

We headed out about 50 miles across Kobuk Lake and into Hotham Inlet. We saw a bunch of small herds of about 20-100 Caribou on the hills and just puttered around for a bit.

Tundra Bou

After finding friends on the banks of the river, we set up camp and ate some dinner. The men went up on the hill with their Binocs and checked things out. I simply snapped photos of the awesome golden sunset and view from my tent. It was beautiful. I always love watching the entire sunset in the Arctic. There is absolutely nothing like it in the world.

view from tent

We ended up sleeping about 500 yards from a pretty big herd, they just hung out and we just left them alone.


The morning proved to be a little cold, with steam coming from our mouths when we spoke, or breathed. It was cloudy, overcast, and crisp. A perfect fall morning. Breakfast consisted of fried eggs, potatoes, ham, bacon, and onion wrapped in a tortilla. I sat outside and read about 100 pages of my book while the guys went back up the hill to check things out. Again.

Eventually we packed up camp and headed up toward Sivu. Such a beautiful drive. Mirror calm river and the golden colors of Fall surrounding us.

view from boat

We came across three caribou, two bulls and one calf-less cow, all hanging out a couple bends passed Sivu. We thought we would shoot the largest bull and if we got lucky (i.e. if Dean was fast enough) to get the other bull too. Two was the goal. Two 'Bou would be enough for us to live for the winter. Three would be awesome, because my mom and dad really want caribou. Four wouldn't be possible, because we were in our small boat with lots of gear.


And actually, the original plan was for him to shoot the big bull with one rifle, and I was going to shoot the second with another. But, it turns out that we were a little far for an unsighted rifle and he doesn't like to 1. shoot without knowing we'll catch, or 2. shoot and have the possibility of injuring it, or 3. waste bullets. So, we quickly changed plans and would go for just one. It's a little difficult too, because we were driving the boat and we had to be completely stopped, or on land to shoot. So, one bull it was.

Camp Coffee

Well... after he shot one, both the other two just stood there... weird. They walked right next to us so he just shot another one. The third one went into the willows, then right back out. Once all three were down and dead, we saw the reason they refused to go into the willows. Plenty of fresh Bear scat.


Good thing I'm married to the worlds fastest Caribou gutter, because in 20 minutes all three were gutted, (nicely I might add) the good stuff was saved (heart, tongue, etc), and we were hauling them into the back of the boat.

Gutting Bou

We arrived home a couple hours after that, and after a hot shower began skinning and quartering out all three. My mom got one entire Bou, including the heart and tongue (the best part), but she wanted to take care of it herself, cutting and putting into bags for her freezer, so we just skinned it, quartered it and delivered it to the top of her freezer!

my hunter

My "date night" ended at 9:30 last night when I fell asleep so tired that I don't even remember taking off my clothes and getting into bed.

Let me tell you, Best DATE NIGHT EVER!


Anonymous said...

My husband recently took up salmon fishing, and wants to start hunting. I read him this post and he laughed... 3 caribou gutted in 20 mins? That's AWESOME, he said. Why? Because it took him an HOUR and a HALF to gut SIX 18 inch long fish yesterday! LOL!

Judy said...

I love reading about such romantic 'date nights'! LOL I'm also happy to read you were able to put caribou in your larder this year.

John said...

Great pictures! Love the orange of the sun! So, how does one of us Outside get Tundra Tea? Is there anywhere that sells it online?

bloomie said...

I just love, love, LOVE your blog. These photos are fab and the whole story was so fascinating to me, a city girl based in Brooklyn, NY.

Finnskimo said...

John, there is a company in Nunavut Greenland that sells the tea. I can't remember what the name of it is, maybe Google Nunavut Tundra Tea, or Nunavut Labrador Tea?? Otherwise, the way you get it is to fly up here and snip it off with scissors for the year.

Janice Bendixee said...

Food for your soul!! My Grandma Mills would say 'adii so lucky!' Glad for you.

John said...

Thanks for the info! My wife and I plan to move to AK in about 2 years....after I finish school. Then, I can get my own! :)

Heather said...

Ha! we like to take at least that many guns hunting too. 20 minutes is really fast but I'm sure knowing that the bears were waiting was good incintive.

Anonymous said...

was wondering if you were ever going to get get your Caribou.... glad you had an amazing date night! Love your blog as well! ~G

Heather said...

Ay, Maija, my Eskimo self lives vicariously through you!

Anonymous said...

Rainy Hopson from Point Hope, and now living in Anaktuvik Pass, sells Tundra Tea on her Etsy site.

Jane @ The Borrowed Abode said...

Holy cow. I just met your friend at a small business event on Friday in DC, and she told me about your blog. While I still cringe at the thought of a dead animal, I'm all about eating "free range" meat so I have no criticism! :) These photos are gorgeous, the terrain is gorgeous, and what a unique (to me) date night! I'm hooked! :)