*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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 "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!