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August 2016

Mid Air Collision | Fall Hunting at the Cabin | Boyette's Coffee Maker


The busiest part of August was the last day when long time ALO client Wade Renfro's air taxi and guide business suffered a mid-air collision with another company's plane north of Bethel. Of course such events trigger the potential for lawsuits and ALO was involved the same day. Five people died in the crash, and two were known to ALO. The cause of the crash is unknown at this time, but mid-air crashes are difficult to sort out when there are no survivors. The crash happened on a very sunny day, and glare from the sunlight likely was a factor. The Renfro plane carried a pilot and a guide, headed for an established camp where the guide was planning to meet hunters who would arrive later. The pilot, Zach Babat was an artist with a Facebook page worth checking.


August is the start of the fall hunting season at the Angstman cabin. This year Don Lehmann arrived for his usual visit where he hunts and serves as the main camp chef. He was joined in meal duties by Elizabeth Aarons, another top chef. Check out Facebook for some photos of the trip. This year's blueberry crop was amazing and many gallons were picked within 100 yards of the cabin, along with a bunch of cranberries. The hunting party had thinned out a bit by the time two elderly hunters made the mistake of going different directions one morning, and each got a moose. Most hunters will say two moose in one day is one too many, but it has happened 6 times in ALO history, all memorable days.


There is a noticeable lack of bears at the cabin this year and last. For dedicated bear watchers, that is bad news. There has been a shortage of red salmon spawning in the lake recently, but others report a similar shortage of bears throughout the mountains east of Bethel. One hopes the increase in lake temps is not the cause. While the actual water temperature has not been taken, it is noteworthy that swimmers have been able to stay in the lake for long periods of time compared to a few years ago when five minutes was usually enough. Trusted outlet National Geographic posted this article about our climate, and it should be read. Incidentally, this is what a strong run of spawning red salmon looks like in Bristol Bay.



This is the time of year polar bears are often seen on shore in northern Alaska. Jan DeNapoli has been linked here before and her polar bear shot is worth checking.


The coloration comes from heavy feeding on a whale carcass left on the beach. Another critter worth seeing is this bull elk from the Elk Farm.


On the subject of elk, this article from the Fairbanks paper is puzzling. Why would a restaurant substitute more expensive elk meat for reindeer meat on their menu? Could it be that tourists want reindeer meat and they couldn't obtain enough of it? Having tried both, elk wins the taste test easily.


Manny Finger sends interesting links from time to time. Check this fishing clip.



This month's mandatory moose comes from KTUU in Anchorage.



Bull moose start competing in August in advance of the September breeding season. The smart money is on the moose to the right. Trail cameras are once again on duty at the Elk Farm. Many bucks have been seen, and this is likely the best so far.




Here is a political cartoon that sort of sums up election polls this year.



And here is a short clip from Comedy Central that is amusing.


Finally a note about former Bethel guy Dan Boyette. He allows Bethel folks to camp at his house when visiting Anchorage, and he always makes an apology for his very loud coffee grinder that goes off early to get Dan to work in the morning. He claims the grinder is worse than a departing jet for noise. But the apologies have now ended. One morning he couldn't quite deal with the noise, and this was the result. He flattened it with the front tire of his truck in the yard. Good work Dan.

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