Spring Riding & The Denali Dog 140 Sled Race

 

IMG_8406

With warm weather plaguing much of Alaska this spring, snow machine riding could be considered dismal….. Unless your a powder hound chasing endless fields of untouched snow high in the mountains of Alaska’s back country….(or follow your untracked trail to a secret winter wonderland around the back of the cabin)…  This spring is no different for the writers of Mission AK as we took off on a hunt for fresh untracked snow.

IMG_8593

Riding up the Denali highway we stumbled across one of the coolest and newest dog sled races in Alaska. The Denali Dog 140  race was a last minute brainchild that gathered some of Alaska’s best mushers and set them to compete on the Denali Highway for two days covering 140 miles of Alaska’s vast wilderness. The mushers only had three weeks to prepare themselves and their teams to go head to head in this first annual race across Denali’s rugged landscape. IMG_9889The race consisted of veterans such as Lance Mackey ( Four-time winner of the Yukon Quest & four-time winner of the Iditarod.) and new comers making their first dog racing debut such as Timothy Muto.IMG_9881 Dog racing in Alaska is a lifestyle that requires endurance, dedication, and selflessness which Mission AK contributors (Kalen Kolberg and Austin Manelick) were lucky enough to experience first hand.

IMG_9917

After the mushers got their dogs fed and put to bed we all got to enjoy good conversation and a hot meal at the Alpine Creek Lodge (Race checkpoint and turn around location).

IMG_9463

After only a couple hours of much needed cat napping the mushers had to head out and to continue their race towards the finish line.IMG_9894

The next morning we woke up to a hot breakfast and several cups of coffee (much needed after trying to keep up with the mushers all night). After chatting with the locals on spots to check out we geared up in search of  high mountains packed with fresh pow lines, inevitable putting our sleds to the test.

IMG_1154

IMG_1143

What was suppose to be a back country snow machineing trip turned into dog mushing spectacle that we all enjoyed thoroughly, acting as their biggest fans and photographers it was awesome to see these athletes behind the scenes.   It’s not to often you run into Iditarod champions and those inspiring to be the best at one of the most difficult(HARDCORE) sports in the entire world and share a cup of hot coffee at 12am midnight at an authentic Alaska lodge.   After the teams left we headed high into the mountains to finish our mission and find the goods. A 12 mile ride into a deep north facing drainage provided what we were looking for….endless pow.

Mission complete: 150 miles round trip.

 

-Team Mission Alaska

 

 

Huge shout out and big thanks to  Alpine Creek Lodge, check them out for a cool place to base any Alaskan adventure.

 

 

 

 

Wild Boar Breakfast Sausage

There is a explosive wild pig epidemic attacking the United States. Due to wild pigs adaptability and high reproduction rates, they have now been seen in 47 states and their numbers keep growing. Wild pigs devour crops, uproot pastures, destroy wildlife habitats, spread disease to humans and animals, kill trees and even knock over cemetery stones. Hunters play a big part in monitoring and helping to control wild pig numbers. Wild pigs also give DIY hunters great opportunities to hunt. Wild pigs are in a lot of states and are a main concern for land owners. Most states have unlimited seasons and tags are cheap. Polite and respectful hunters can have great success asking a local land owner if they can harvest a pig from thier land. Most people will say yes and go out of their way to make you successful. Two years ago, I hunted hogs in the Louisiana and they tasted great. There are not a lot of wild pigs up north and I have been craving wild pork ever since.

Austin recently harvested some Hawaiian Jungle Bacon, with his longbow, and was generous enough to give me 4 pounds of the wild pork. When Austin gave me the meat, I immediately had the idea to try making breakfast sausage. I am a big “breakfast person” and love sausage, egg, and cheese sandwiches as well as my favorite, biscuits and gravy.

Jungle bacon from Austin's harvest.

Wild Hawaiian Pork

What sets sausage appart is mainly the spices and seasonings. I looked at some recipes online and ultimately made my own combination of my favorite spices. I also took advantage of some donated fresh sage and rosemary from friends. I chose to go with brown sugar, rubbed sage, salt, rosemary, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and chilly powder.

Breakfast Sausage Seasonings

Breakfast Sausage Seasonings

Once we got the meat cubed and the seasonings measured out, we combined both together and were ready to start grinding. You dont have to have or spend a ton of money on a fancy grinder to make your own burger and sausage. I bought this old school, hand crank, meat grinder for $20 and have used it for 3 years now and it has handled all sorts of wild game creations.

Grinding Sausage

Grinding Sausage

The key to sausage to to finely grind it and to grind the seasoning into the meat. I started grinding with the large opening plate, then switched to the smaller, more course, grinding plate. We ground the 4 lbs of pork 4 times to achieve desired consistency.

Ground Wild Sausage

Ground Wild Sausage

Once we ground it all up, it was time to test the seasoning. We made two small patties and fried them up to test the seasoning balance. They tasted great and we didn’t have to change anything.

Wild Boar Sausages

Wild Boar Sausages

I believe more people need to look to the wild pigs as a food source and learn how to harvest them. They are everywhere and make great table fare! By harvesting wild pigs, we can help control numbers and feed our families great meat.

 

-Jon Dykes

@realjondykes

Hunting Culture in America

Interesting information on the growth of hunting in America, over all there have been some large movements in the self sufficient community.   In 2007, the New Oxford American Dictionary selected locavore as the “Word of the Year.”  “individuals who go afield for reasons of self-sufficiency and a desire for organic, local, chemical-free meat.”  as explained by the Responsive Management (http://www.responsivemanagement.com/download/reports/Hunt_Fish_Increase_Report.pdf) a report conducted by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Southwhick Associates.  In this excellent article written by Ben O’Brien, Steven Rinella, Andrew Zimmern, and Georgia Pellegrini weigh in on why hunting is such and important part of our culture.  Hunting is on the rise in America, check out the links for some great information on the benefits of this lifestyle.

Organic free ranging meat eating is on the rise….Image

Read more: http://www.petersenshunting.com/2014/03/21/meat-eater-revolution/#ixzz2x0f76YBq

http://www.petersenshunting.com/2014/03/21/meat-eater-revolution/

The Pack Raft Table

Hey All,

Writer and media contributor Jon Dykes of team Mission Alaska is onto something big in the pack rafting world.  P-rafting is a revolutionary method of travel for the adventurous trekker, it has been said that p-rafts have changed the back country game. Image

 These light weight rafts open up new country across the world previous inaccessible by foot by allowing users the option to hike in deep and float their way out.  Very poplar among sportsmen enthusiast for the ability to handle relatively heavy loads with ease.  Back country anglers have found these rafts very helpful accessing lakes, rivers, and streams by foot….One issue with being a back country angler in a pack raft is there is not a firm place to hold your pack, tackle boxes, rods, cameras, your catch, etc.   

There is a solution to this….Jon an avid pack rafter and outdoors enthusiast recognized the need for a firm, lightweight, collapsable table compatible with all the various pack raft models.  Starting from scratch Jon experimented with various materials and designs to come up with the perfect fit for his p-raft.  Thus the pack raft table was born.  Here is the story from his website (http://www.packrafttable.com/the-story.html) from the man himself.

Check him out online at http://www.packrafttable.com if your interested in order one…

Garage Grown Gear

 Jon Dykes recently forwarded a website he found which features products for the back country adventurous types looking for the next best thing.   They have great gear reviews and a plethora of information on their Online Magazine site.
Check out www.garagegrowngear.com. Its a unique and cool concept in the outdoor gear industry, as well as very true to our DIY spirit.   The pack rafting portion of the website has several cool features the experienced and the beginners will enjoy, they will drop ship you a pack raft rental via fed-ex anywhere… Check them out…
Amy is doing a week of free gear giveaways March 17-23. Some of the GIVEAWAYS they have on tap include:
-A Summit Pack from Hyperlite Mountain Gear
-Two Revelation Quilts from enLIGHTened Equipment
-A canoe paddle from Shearwater Webbed Paddles
-Tram Bars from Kate’s Real Food.
-Packraft rentals from Jackson Hole Packraft & Packraft Rentals Anywhere
-An Shades Anti-Bottle from Vapur
-And more …
Pack rafting is on the rise and many say its a back country game changer.


Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 3.45.17 AM

Why Do You Hunt?

People hunt for many different reasons, some for the meat, some for the antlers or horns, and some for the pure benefit of challenging themselves.  Rifle, muzzleloader, bow, spear, if it’s legal don’t discourage the method.  We all enjoy the sport, tradition, and culture of hunting in different ways by different methods.   For whatever reason you are hunting, please do it safe, responsibly, and ethically and ensure our culture of being stewards of the land as sportsmen sticks around for generations to come.

I personally hunt, as always, to fill my families freezer and eat the most healthy organic meat known to man.  I also hunt for the adventure, its a great way to personally challenge myself.  Harvesting a big bull moose will provide our family with many meals, the true value is not placed on the antlers but the several hundred pounds of red meat for the dinner table.  Don’t get me wrong, a big bull moose looks great on the shed but you definitely cannot eat their antlers.

Cheers to a good hunting season this year.

ImageImage

Image

-Mission Alaska

Dreaming of big bulls and hunting season.

Photos courtesy MA of Google Images.

&

Alaska Hunting: Wildman Lake Lodge  The “Rose Bull” 81 inches wide.

http://www.wildalaskahunting.com/view.php?area=&id=59

 

Russia Moose and Sheep Hunting: Warning…Epic

This is a video recently sent in to me by Vince P, if you like seeing big bull moose then this video is for you. This video is from the Kamchatka Peninsula and features several big bull moose and snow sheep rams being hunted. This is definitely a dream hunt for many outdoorsmen, a dream of mine to some day venture. Check this epic video out.

-Mission Alaska

Hunting License Information Alaska 2014

 

ImageLI

Alaskans and fellow hunters, if you did not apply for the Alaska big game drawing permits and have not already purchased your 2014 Alaska hunting license you can do so online from the state website.  Check out http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=huntlicense.main to get your hunting license, tags, and or stamps.  

When you go into the field always make sure to check the Alaska state game regulations prior to hunting any game animal, you can find them here http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=wildliferegulations.hunting.