The recent move to Anchorage has made life easier for the Angstman family, but a recent rural adventure serves as notice that Alaska living can still be challenging at times. After years of driving a tiller outboard with a difficult rope starter and manual lift, it was decided it was time for a new boat and outboard at the wilderness cabin. For those who have followed that cabin saga, it was built in 2007-08 and a couple of used boats left behind by a retired guide were obtained to provide transportation. The extremely remote location of the cabin provides many benefits, but one drawback of course is the difficulty transporting large items to the site.
The new boat posed a huge logistic challenge.
The boat, a heavy duty 16 foot Sea Ark with a 60-40 jet outboard, was purchased from a dealer in Anchorage. It was supposed to travel by air to the nearest village last fall, and then be driven the 60 miles to the lake by Andy and Pete Kaiser. That plan didn’t work when it was discovered that the boat was a couple inches too wide to fit in the airplane operated by Andy’s employer Ryan Air. The modified plan called for barge transport from Anchorage to Dillingham, followed by a 180 mile ride up the Nushagak and Nuyakuk rivers to the cabin. The boat arrived in Dillingham in mid-May but travel to the cabin wasn’t possible right away because of delayed break-up on the mountain lakes, which prevented needed air support. Because of the delay, Steve Glasheen subbed in for Pete. The boat was stored at a friend’s house in Dillingham until it was time to start the trip. The launching happened at the boat harbor in Dillingham, and all seemed fine, until the crew got into the lower reaches of the Nushagak, which even with a light wind can produce big waves. Andy reported that the first few miles were all a 16 foot boat could handle.
From there, the river quieted down and all went well. The two rivers are about 180 miles long, and at the upper end there are white water stretches. The worst of the white water requires a 300 yard portage, and the rest of the white water requires some careful driving. Andy handled all the white water, but he and Steve needed help for the portage. A guide named Tyler from a nearby lodge helped with the portage and supplied an electric winch for the steepest portions. The fourth participant was an elder float plane pilot who showed up to supervise the operation but was pressed into duty on one corner of the heavy boat. This photo displays the steep terrain.
Here is an overhead video of the falls near the portage, taken by Steve’s drone. Their high grade campsite shows up right at the end , top center of the video where the boat is parked.
The winch was only used on the steep portion, the rest was done by dragging over rollers. It took three hours of getting organized and three hours of grunting. All that remained was a final dash through white water to get into the lake system, and an hour run to the cabin. It was obviously a one way trip for the boat. But it apparently works as intended.
If that trip sounds uneventful, don’t be deceived. There were many tense moments when the success of the trip was uncertain, including one time when the boat was actually tied off on the portage to be left for another day. The crew at Royal Coachman Lodge which is located near the portage, was most helpful, and without them, the boat would still be parked at the portage. Special thanks to the lodge boss Scott Schumacher for approving it all.
From the ALO Case Vault
The ALO news often reports winning cases as do most attorney sites, but it’s also good to acknowledge unsuccessful cases at times, for full disclosure reasons. One such loser from the past had a good story attached to it. The case involved a claim against a municipality for failure to properly warn drivers about a serious washout that cut through a main road in the town. The washout was the full width of the road, about two feet across and three feet deep. The ALO client was driving a four wheeler and hit the gap at about 30 mph, which threw him violently to the roadway where he landed on his head. There was significant brain damage, which was considered permanent. The injured party had diminished verbal skills, was unable to work after the accident, and had considerable pain. To moderate the pain, the client consumed a daily quantity of marijuana, which at the time was legal in Alaska.
At the time of trial, the client lived in Anchorage and was not asked to attend the first week of trial because of his condition. A decision was made to call him as a witness in the second week of trial to demonstrate the level of brain damage he suffered. He did fairly well on direct examination. When he was cross-examined, the witness described his dreary daily existence to the opposing lawyer. The lawyer then asked the witness if he consumed marijuana every day. He admitted he did. Then he was asked if he had consumed marijuana every day the previous week while the jury was in court working on his case. He admitted he did. He was asked if it cost a lot of money to satisfy his daily habit. He agreed he did. Then came the kicker. He was asked if he was awarded a million dollars by the jury, would he be able to buy a lot more marijuana. He answered with an enthusiastic “I guess I would” as his lawyer looked for a handy place to hide under the counsel table.
An attempt was made in closing argument to use that answer as obvious evidence of brain damage, but the jury wasn’t buying it. The case was lost and with it a substantial amount of expert witness costs and other expenses. It’s not clear how the client is funding his marijuana habit today.
Mandatory Moose & Other Critters
May is baby moose month, and old friend Sharon Boyette sent this video from her Anchorage yard of two such critters.
And if one moose shot is good why not two?
Minnesota neighbor Dean Kleinhans sent this photo of baby cranes from his yard on Long Pond.
John McDonald captured this owl photo near Bethel.
Home Sweet Home
The Angstmans recently purchased a new house just down the street from the current rental on 11th Avenue in Anchorage. The new one is on F Street and will be occupied in July. Bev Hoffman and John McDonald were in town recently and wanted to drive by the house to take a look. John was driving and Bev was consulting the map and providing directions, and her observation will forever be recited to folks looking to come visit. “Their house is located between E Street and G Street”
Cartoons & Jokes
Lots of cartoons to pick from this month. Patricia Alameda has a thought about how the world was formed.
Mark Twain was a wise man.
Here is LaMont Albertson’s offering for this month.
And Sharon Winner weighed in with a good one.
And finally Bev with a timely cartoon about mining for gold.
The tourists at the White House Jan 6th deserve a cartoon.
And here is the favorite at ALO.
Rich Gannon, the creator of the ALO website, always had an eye for bad jokes. Here’s an example he shared.
The decision to not have a bipartisan panel investigate the Jan 6 riot is peculiar. Many folks still believe the riot involved Antifa folks dressed as Trump supporters. Seems like the right wing would want to prove that through an investigation. And how about past investigations. Benghazi and the Clinton emails consumed years of Congressional time and tens of millions of dollars, yet the same group who supported those hearings now oppose looking into the group that stormed the seat of government. It is obvious that the only reason to oppose the investigation is fear of what would be uncovered. Folks in power then and now were deep into the plan to disrupt Congress, and in the process disrupt the election certification. Meanwhile there are crazies who still believe there will be a new president in August. Many Republicans have stated for 5 years that Trump could ruin their party, and that is still a distinct possibility.