It was widely reported that the Angstman family purchased Tikchik Narrows Lodge, near the Angstman cabin 100 miles east of Bethel. Opening day there was June 17th, and this photo shows Andy greeting the first group of guests arriving at the dock. A bit of background will make it more clear why such a venture made sense at this time.
The Angstman family first visited the area of the lodge in August of 1979, with Dolly, Sarah and an office intern. Sarah was three months old at the time. Mike Hoffman provided the air charter to get there, and he pulled up to a river mouth that looked like good fishing and parked on the beach. Camp was established and fishing proved to be challenging, likely owing to limited skill. A few fish were caught, enough to eat, and that was important because a bear came into camp at night and stole a batch of food from a cooler leaving the crew a little short. The weather was perfect, and of course the scenery was spectacular. One incident from that weekend now stands out. There has been a long tradition in Alaska that involved local residents mooning tourists who happen by. There weren’t any tourists nearby the campsite, but one afternoon a Beaver float plane flew past at low level, and it was obviously a tourist operation from the number of passengers on board. It seemed they were checking for fishing spots on the lake. After a few minutes the plane showed up again going the other way, right along the beach at about 300 feet off the water.
This time the campers were ready and greeted the plane as it flew by with a group moon shot in full view of all the passengers on one side of the plane. It was possible to see the markings on the Beaver, and it clearly stated Tikchik Narrows Lodge. It was the first sighting of a lodge plane, and there have been hundreds of sightings since that time. That plane is likely still part of the fleet, and the current pilots will surely enjoy hearing that account when the opportunity arises.
The Lodge is located about 15 miles from the cabin and is the only occupied zone in the whole area. A charter plane services the lodge from Anchorage every Saturday, bringing in 22 to 24 guests, freight and any lodge folks that need to travel back and forth. That charter will provide ready access to the cabin for family members who wish to either visit the lodge or the cabin. The current plan is to keep the Angstman float plane at the lodge, as well as the main boat, for ease of getting back and forth to the cabin. It will make the cabin much more accessible in the future, especially for a wise elder who may not have a long future of flying in the coming years.
ALO office news readers are encouraged to contact the lodge for cancellation rates on a very few remaining openings for this year. The sale transaction didn’t close until June 1st, and that left little time to deal with cancellations. That means the rates for those unfilled spots are sharply discounted. For some it might be the only chance to visit the lodge because the standard rates are not cheap and likely to increase, partially because aviation fuel just had a price increase of about $2 a gallon in Dillingham. Meanwhile Andy will be hosting 22-24 guests a week and managing 35 staff members. It’s not unlike operating a small city, with the following daily functions: food prep and service, fuel, power, water, sewer, bar, laundry, room cleaning, boats, motors, out-camps, Internet, phone, flight planning for four aircraft, weather monitoring, and resupply ordering. Of course, that is just the main list, and many more items appear frequently. For more about the lodge visit the web site at tikchiklodge.com.
This time of year is wonderful for wildlife watchers. Baby critters show up frequently and few can avoid taking their photo. Not everyone is enamored with the youngsters though. Take a look at this video of a baby raccoon, a white tail buck and an angry mama raccoon at the farm feeding station.
Here is a shot from Skip Ackerson’s backyard in Minnesota of a mama bear with her three babies. Speaking of Skip, he designed and built the world’s best raccoon proof feeder and tested it out recently.
He also claimed to be smarter than a raccoon… Lisa Joel Angstman lives in Vermont and has a fascination with loons that live on a lake near her home. She watches them closely every summer and captured this photo of a pair of baby loons recently.
Mandatory Moose, Porky & Strong Bonds
This month’s Mandatory Moose is actually a few moose calves at their cutest, a few days old.
Not many porcupines show up on the ALO news, but here’s a great close up of a porky.
And here is a spectacular show of rainbows in Marshall, Alaska taken by Catherine Isaac.
A great story about a famous dog racer was reported to ALO News recently. It is well known that dog racers develop a strong bond with their dogs, especially their lead dogs. This racer was in the hospital for a knee replacement and the doctor explained that they would be removing the entire knee and replacing it with an artificial one. The racer, who is used to feeding a variety of animal parts to his dogs, asked the doctor if he would save the knee joint so he could feed it to his lead dog.
Steve Wright is a favorite here. Watch the video to see why.
ALO settled the last four of its cases against the Mat-Su School District to avoid a several week trial in June. Full details of that case will be included next month but is one of the worst sets of facts ever encountered in a teacher abuse case. Check back to read about a teacher and principal who helped cover up years of abuse and seem to be getting off with few consequences. The Mat-Su case isn’t the only teacher sex abuse case ALO settled recently. A teacher in a small village in rural Alaska had frequent sexual contact with a 14-year-old student at his school and left her with an STD which revealed the situation to the girl’s family. That case settled without a lawsuit, in what may have been the largest settlement ever for an abused student in Alaska history.
ALO also settled a damage claim for a woman involved in a helicopter crash. This crash was actually a failed auto-rotation of the chopper, which is normally how a helicopter descends in an emergency without sufficient power to land normally. This time the auto-rotation allowed the helicopter to strike the ground with such force that injury resulted.
The State of Alaska just completed a predator control program for the area near the Angstman cabin which resulted in 96 grizzly bears being killed. The move has been roundly criticized but a few folks think it’s a good idea because they believe there are too many bears, and they are keeping the caribou population low. Never mind that the biologists who study the bears and caribou dispute that theory, because the bear shooting is entirely a political decision made by the folks appointed by the governor. If there are too many bears, why doesn’t the state allow traditional users to take more bears to solve the problem? There are professional bears guides that charge immense amounts of money to provide hunters the chance for a bear, and local hunters also hunt the bears, sometimes for subsistence use that could thin the population. Shooting bears from helicopters is an obscene illustration of how humans deal with nature, trying to remake the natural world into a form that is more acceptable to some. It is a scientific fact that immense caribou numbers 30 years ago decimated their food source (tundra moss) which takes a long time to recover. There is also evidence that a warming climate has impacted caribou survival in a number of different ways. Bears have eaten caribou for a long time, and during that time the population of both species has varied greatly because of countless factors. The wholesale slaughter of large numbers of bears is not a viable game management strategy by any scientific measure.
Donald Trump’s legal problems continue to expand, this time with a multi-count indictment for mishandling classified material he saved from his time as president. The discussion about that charge is laughable. Trump defenders claim, as usual, that the charge is the result of a partisan witch hunt. In reality, the charge is a result of open defiance of law enforcement which numerous times gave Trump the chance to avoid being charged. Instead, he not only refused to hand over the material, but he had folks hide the stuff. One must wonder about a former president who believes it might be possible to hide contraband by having it stacked in an unused bathroom at his residence. Some have called that moronic, which is a fair description. Trump’s former Attorney General Bill Barr had this to say about this latest episode - "Trump is 'Toast' if Half of the Indictment is True" (mediate.com). Those who say that no other former president has ever been charged with a crime, and that suggests unfairness, need to consider that no former president has so brazenly violated the law. Trump has stated that he could get away with murder because his staunch supporters would protect him has been close to true in many past instances of misconduct. His luck may be running out. There are one or two more indictments likely and his chances of skating on all charges are slim.