|Posted by Ivarr Bergmann on April 30, 2020 at 11:15 AM|
Bjorn and I have executed 3 successful trips to the wilds that were not just wasted time, but productive endeavors.
A few days ago Bjorn and myself, along with both our 4 legged companions set out to scout a new TA for use this green season. Stepping off early the weather was brilliant as were the attitudes of all involved. We opted to go light on this scout to save time and energy. This later would pay off in discoveries and terrain that was covered. We stepped off early without a soul in sight where we parked our vehicles.
We met and the first order of business was to let the dogs meet one another. The Olaf is a scrapper but has never not gotten along with any dog he was around when permitted to roam free as he likes. It was strange event letting the two out of the cars. I expected a tiny tornado of fur, clams and teeth, but alas they pretty much ignored one another save for the ritual butt hole sniffing. After that is was almost like they had known one another for ages and just went about their business occasionally checking on one another like old friend might do.. Getting any good shots of these two would prove challenging through out the day. The above would have been an amazing picture worth framing to the wall but just as my finger pressed on the shutter button they both split in two and that is what I got.. But there were other opportunities and I grabbed them..
The dogs really had a great time. Bjorns dog was on his very first off the leash trip to the wilds. A VERY NERVOUS time for new dog owners but it was obvious Bjorn has put time into him.. I cannot tell you how many signs Ive seen posted on the border of the wilds over the years of ppl dogs just taking off never to be seen again..Bjorns dog had a great example to follow with Olaf and it was amazing to watch him learn throughout the day, much like The Olaf did back in the day.. After the dogs were found to not want to destroy one another we slung on our rucksacks for a long day into the wilds. We stepped off and headed a few miles through the forest via an old logging road to reach the main river. It was uneventful and the logging trail was well rutted and muddy. We mostly got caught on the Wuhan virus situation and other topics, all the while watching our step and navigating the endess trip hazards and low hanging tree obstacles. The dogs all the while made no effort to stay with us and ran and played in the water and mud like one would expect a good wilderness dog to do.
Our kit for the day was very simple. Bjorn had a simple Russian made day pack and a side arm, along with his survival smock and binos. I had a WWII German Rucksack made from a zeltbahn that was either POW made or Refugee made after the war. I carried just an MRE and a liner for my survival smock, binoculars, with some camera kit inside as well. The ruck held well against the brutal terrain we tore through. Alaska played no favorites with age but there was no damages to be found. The days objective was to reach a slow moving creek that fed into the main river. The slow moving creek was a treasure find for a place to train. A near PERFECT spot for rucksacks rafts, raft construction and other water-born tasks to be held. It was relatively safer then any other spot I have ever found, and in the summer after the thaw has washed through the forest, the steam was relatively crystal clear with a depth of about 8 ft (last time i was there). I actually found this stream years ago but life being life I never made it there to execute the plans I had set out. electing to work on the Spider Web project nstead..
When we reached the main river it was a sight to behold. The dance of clouds and sunlight was simply epic. You could just see the glacier off in the distance. This made one grateful for the gift of life and the gift of living in Alaska. Whats more is there were no shortage of eagles hunting for their morning meal to greet us in a way only Alaska ever has.. We saw MAD eagle dives into the water and fighting over thier prey but it was all too fast save a few shots Ill show on the next video. Enjoy the still shots below..
After a couple hours reaching and hanging out at the river we decided to head out. We glassed the area, consulted maps and the GPS and decided what way we wanted to go. Our path would eventually leads us off the beaten path and from all signs we encounter, a place where no one seems to go. Most, if not all, ATV/Side x Side tracks stopped at the main river- for that we were grateful- We're looking for a place to go where no one else goes but a place we could reach by foot
.. It wast long before we ran into the mouth of the creek off the main river that we had been looking for that was our main objective. All in all I'm not sure how long it took us to reach it but the scout was far from over- we had no schedule other then making it home that night. We then decided to head up creek to see what we would find. The farther the better! It was all on the farthest reaches of our map but just inside where we might fall off the edge if we kept going. Finding and following the river was a real treat. Strait away It was 100% obvious this was a TA wonderland of sorts. It had just about everything we needed. Seclusion, challenge, depth and WATER. and best of all none of the rules you will find other places in Alaska. You can have fires and build shelters here w/o worry of fines or worse. If we had an ATV or horses we couls use them too! But alas its all boot power for us..
As we traveled hunger creeped in so it was time for lunch. A spot next to the creek was chosen and we had at it .. We discussed various topics, One of which was what we experienced that day and what I described to Bjorn as "The Pull".... Its the sense of discovery and adventure I feel when Im in the wilds and he was feeling it too. This sensation can be deceptive and it can be gravely dangerous. When I'm out and have a very productive time I WANT MORE. Its almost like feeding a high.. I first noticed this years ago at "Goat Ridge" when I noticed once I reach a peaks or cliffs height- I wanted more and old areas no longer filled the void of discovery. So Id simply go father, or higher and keep going. If one is not careful they will go out so long, or so high and so far out that they have put themselves into a deficit of energy Vs Distance/terrain... If you get into trouble out there this can mount into disaster. When you are tired you make mistakes! I use to fall for this a lot when I first got here 12 years ago. The power of "just a few more miles" just to see what is there is VERY strong. Its almost like a Witch Hag drawing you in with some sorcery that takes over your mind with the promises of filling your curiosity with a new discovery. Never fall for this! Its dangerous! 99% of the time there is never anything up ahead but more wilderness.!
As we traveled into the Hinterlands the terrain started taking on alien look. Ive been here 12 years and Ive never seen terrain like this- but to be fair Ive never been to many places in Alaska. I was used to seeing this type of terrain at altitude and on hills. We were close to see level and inside an old glacier valley. It literally went on for miles. It was VERY grassy, relatively flat and dotted with waterlogged patches of grass, trees, low alder thickets and game trails.
It just seemed to go on forever. Bjorn climbed a broken tree here to have a better look. He shouted down that this terrain went on as far as he could see right up to the feet of the mountain ridge. This tree was very pronounced so I decided to make this a land mark on the map and GPS. Its now known as "The Tree of Woa".. If you know the original Conan the Barbarian, you know the reference.. I think it might be fitting see how one can really end up in mortal danger out there w/o even trying..
"Tree of Woa"
After a few hours of scouting around I decided to name this place as I do most of all the places Ive used but it wasn't clear what name to go with this time. It was on my mind for a while but I just couldn't put my finger on what this valley remind me of. Then it it hit us and we nearly mentioned it at the same time! Africa! So then and there it was coined- "Rhodesia Training Area", or" TA Rhodesia".. Other then the mountains its looked like pics from the Bush wars.. so there you have it..
Just when we were about to start to head back "The pull" was screaming at us both at full volume. The day had been so productive from ID'ing area to use, to the abundance of resources (Fishing license and hunting license will be purchased) that it was hard to call it a day and head back...We found a game trail that looked like it would take us in the general direction of where we stepped off but "The Pull" was beckoning us to travel father up stream to see what we would find... Bear in mind its been a long ass day already. We were muddy, tired, hungry and had a LOT of miles to put in before we got back to our vehicles.But we said FUK IT.. lets keep going...
So what did we find? Laughing Loki pile of Shiet!
We pressed on a few more miles hand-railing the river as we had the entire day.. I was eye balling behind us and Bjorn was on the glass and spotted a structure. Obviously man made. I glassed it to. Seeing this threw us for a serious loop to question where we thought we were. If it was a house or cabin we were woefully off course and had gone much father then we though.
Before I/we go any further please refrain from posts about warnings- Deliverance... banjos.. male on male rape... and all other obvious urban puns, or real issues that can come with such a find. We know- we have discussed and it doesnt need to be rehashed because EVERYONE is going to say the same thing. We are adults making adult decision. end of story.
You'll notice in the above picture there is mashed down grass. After Bjorn spotted the manmade structure we pressed forward to see WTF was going on. We knew there was no way in hell we went to the next town over 20miles away and in the other direction, so what the fuk was it? We advanced up the road hoping to see someone or something to help us get our bearing. We were baffled as fuk. We got closer and saw a pronounced absence of "No Trespassing" signs, so the next obvious thought was that D.N.R had some sort fo station out there only it wasn't on any maps nor was there any r information i had heard about regarding this... And again there was an absence of any identifying marks as to what we were walking up on...
So What The Fuk was it?
Wind chimes made from bones....and the ground was littered with bones from various animals..Sadly i had no inclination to take my eyes off the surroundings so i made very few pictures..and some i accidentally deleted like a dumb ass...
it got more interesting....
A quiet box for a generator...
Everything there was painted to be hidden. And once spring comes in full bore and the trees are green the structures will be absolutely hidden. With 24 hour sun in the summer they could operate undetected w/ little difficulty..Whats more is the camp seems to be located out of the general corridor for air traffic lending to its suspect nature... Some structures had camo tarps over them and all the gear was stored under the platforms that had been erected to set up for the wall-tents on and the huge tarps that we saw were all dark brown or camouflage in scheme.. The platforms themselves were painted dark Olive Green..There was fish process tables as well. Nets and some sort of trapping equipment were identified. As mentioned the ground was littered with animal bones, but very little trash. The gov would not have bones laying about like that and whats more they would have signs up for warning of such a station- That and there being 0 trespasser warning signs lead us to believe this is a poaching station in regards to its location. We even found a large camouflage canoe with no registration numbers on the side. As we searched the place we both were on the look out for trail cams and traps. We were both worried about the dogs as well. My assumption was there were no traps because an injured person or dog would draw absolute attention to the camp- They were rolling the dice on someone just leaving the place be. There we no trail cam that we saw. If i had have saw one it would have went home with me- Not from sheer thievery but IMO that place is illegal and I don't want them having pictures of me. We may have missed one but between Bjorn and myself I doubt it..
What do we plan to do with this place? Absolutely nothing. It means nothing to me either way. Its a tool of the terrain now...This place was marked on the map and GPS as OPFOR base camp and will be used and observed as such. Its now part of the Evasion Survival Alaska Fictional OPFOR training. With that being said we will stay well clear of it. However just knowing such a place is in the area (23 square miles of it) will add an element of urgency to training and remaining hidden.
This is as INACCURATE (yes inaccurate) an rendition as I can provide to show you an idea of what we did w/o showing you what we did. It was over 10 miles (probably 13) that day. The terrain was fuking Rhodesia all the live long day with the clumps of forest here and there, and mostly WET AND MUDDY open grass lands with spars trees, brush and forested bounderies.. In the green season (week or so) this entire area will look like something else but will remain "TA Rhodesia". I think its quite obvious what this maps shows. The only questionable characteristic would be the "Tree of Woa". Its the round green spot just off the path at the top. Remember this are is more the 23 square miles- We still have lots to do..
So what did we get from this scout.. A LOT. I wont get into the details but its everything we need to have to open and close this green season with a well rounded, multi-faceted goal of success..The next leg, of two that we have planned will be coming in from the other direction. We got more done today in the area then I ever dreamed getting done in one day. Having a training partner that WANTS TO BE THERE for the SAME reasons that I do is priceless. I thanked Bjorn for not turning out to just another dick that was fixing to fill some Tv fantasy-He thanks me for the same. Thus far scouts and outings are going well. He has even earned his Wolverine Patch that I gave him on the last scout trip.
After the camp was stumbled upon and it was time to go he took lead and navigated us back to the vehicles. He did a fine job with what he had to work with. Being alone I would have never taken the route he took to get us back becuase of emergency and energy issues, but with two ppl it made perfect sense and we didn't have to pay for the same realestate twice..He has a good grasp of reading the land and knowing where he is. To say I trust his words, actions and instinct would be accurate. As always time will tell but I have high hopes this summer will be legendary for Evasion Survival Alaska. We have a third man joining us soon too- So join us wont you?.
By Request.. a few picsof my rucksack... Narration at the bottom..
Its a simple rectangle piece of camo fabric folded over to from a square piece of fabric sewn together. The eyelets are actually hand sewn! Its had a wide mouth with a simple drawn-cord cinch close design. The lid is simply a flay with a button. The shoulder straps are none adjustable and also made from zeltbahn material. Fabric has simply ween folded over a couple of time and sewn into a strip then attached to the ruck at the top between the shoulders spreading out and down to the corners of the square..